Today is a sad day for me, but I’m also feeling hopeful. This marks the second Father’s Day since my dad passed away. In fact, tomorrow will mark the second anniversary of the day he passed. My life irrevocably changed that day on June 22, 2018, but I feel that my grief journey has gotten lighter.
Today I decided to post a poem entitled, “The Hate Inside of Me” that is about my father’s passing and my complicated relationship with him. It’s not the prettiest poem and I was reluctant to post it today on Father’s Day. Yes, it’s a bit of a downer.
Still, I wanted to post it in an effort to keep it real, so to speak. Though I loved my father, there was still a part of me that had a deep resentment against him. As Rachel shared in a recent post, love is never pure and humans are infallible – the only pure love comes from God.
I’ve talked exhaustively about my father over the years, including on this blog. So much so that I’m tired of hearing myself talk about it. Sometimes I need to, though, because it helps me make sense of things.
Today, I’m grateful for the years I had with my father. Despite our arguments, we had many good times when I was younger. Near the end of his life, we were able to mostly reconcile. Though we didn’t talk much about the past, we spent time just watching sports and being together.
Today, I’m also grateful for the men in my life and the father figures in my life. That includes my grandfather, who has been a huge influence on me. That also includes the older men in recovery who have acted as mentors to me. One of those men, my AA sponsor, also passed away within the past two years. I miss him almost as much as I miss my dad.
Pain and love
As I get older, I realize the importance of fatherhood and what a difficult job it is. I am learning, slowly but surely, to forgive and to forgive myself. My father was not perfect, but no father is. The reason I shared the pain and the “hate inside of me” is to purge myself of those demons and that poison, in hopes that I can find more emotional balance.
Trauma and abuse are real, and I’d be doing myself a disservice if I denied the fact my father was abusive during much of my life. Still, this does not take away the good memories and the times where we shared love and affection.
As I mentioned, my dad passed away right after Father’s Day in 2018. One of the last text messages I sent to him was, “Happy Father’s Day to a great dad!” I wasn’t sure if I truly meant what I said, but I said it anyway. I said it because I wanted to believe it, because I knew the pain and suffering he also went through, and because I wanted to make him feel loved.
Today, I will say it again. Though my dad is not here, I celebrate him and wish him a happy Father’s Day. Because of the pandemic, my siblings and I aren’t able to get together this year to celebrate his memory. So I’m trying to do it in my own quiet way – by remembering him in my prayers and trying to fill my heart with the love I knew he had for me and I had for him, even if we didn’t show it all the time.