On this 19th day of June, year 2011, I reflect back onto my life and relationship with the man who helped bring me into this world. He is a "good" man, active in the community and church, and provided for our family as best he could. At times, this meant we ate potatoes for dinner night after night, but he never sat at home idly. He went to school, he worked, he prayed. Some of my earliest memories were of he and I fishing on a lake, just the two of us, and even though, to this day I can not look at certain types of fish without gagging, cleaning and gutting them was part of this ritual and I can say it added to my life experiences. My dad was my hero in my early years, and he worked in the hospital, saving lives, and I would sit on his lap and listen intently as he described to me in great detail how motorcycles were the most dangerous things you could ride. To this day I have a fear of those machines, but it hasn't stopped me from riding them.
My relationship with my father began to crumble when trusted family friend molested me, and I realized that all men were a threat to me. Unfortunately, my mother's refusal to accept this as truth sent me deeper into the hole which I was to dig for myself at the ripe old age of 6. My father was confused as to why I wouldn't sit on his lap anymore, and I was too scared to tell him. You see, I had also experienced his anger, and it was something I would never seek to incite. The television was thrown into the back yard, and anything that wasn't nailed down became fair game for hurling across the room. Many nights I sought refuge behind the sofa with my brothers, crying as silently as possible, so that he would not find us. My brothers were scared to hide with me since I could not contain my tears for long. I was terrified in my own home, and I was 7.
As I grew older, I learned to protect myself with anger, also, and never allowed anyone to really get close to me, as my fear had not been allowed to surface yet. The day I graduated high school, I moved out, and never looked back. For years I moved around, trying to escape the stench of my fear and anger, and I finally ended up in therapy. It took me years to get to the point where I could make peace with myself, and a few more to make peace with my family, but here I sit, with my own family, and I look back on those years as building blocks for where I am now. Yes, it was painful, but it got me here, and I am a strong, confident woman. I could not have done it without those experiences.
In this way I am thankful for my father. We have reached an understanding and I do not harbor any ill will towards him. He did his best, and he is my father. Even though our relationship is extremely tenuous, and we were never able to regain that closeness we had when I was young, I still love him. In my phone call to him, I will remind him of all the happy memories, and I will thank him for being the best father he knew how to be. It does not serve me to hold on to any bitterness or resentment. I have reached a place of peace within myself which has nothing to do with anyone else, and no one can take it from me. I am reminded of a song I learned long ago, "It is well with my soul." Yes, indeed, it is.