It feels so strange to be writing you, you left this earth April 14, 1998. I never said good-bye. Actually, the last words I said to you were “I hope I never see you again.”
Boy, have those words lived on to haunt me. As a matter of fact, it is almost a mission in my life not to let any argument go unresolved overnight, to nip things in the bud, to resolve, and move on. Although we both know that you were dying, we never resolved our differences. The stubborn apple did not fall far from the equally stubborn tree. When I left that morning after my shift, I never imagined that you would die and I would not get to say I was sorry. To say all the things I should have said. But I am a “grownup” now..or, at least by my age, I should be. Time to pay the piper..time to be truly humble. Time to say the things I avoided even 10 years after you left this earth.
I am sorry Dad.
No matter what, you were my Father, and I owed you a measure of respect that I did not give you. All I knew was what I was feeling. I often think what it would be like to be on my deathbed and know I was going to die, and what legacy I would want to leave. I know that I would want people to know what they meant to me. How they changed my life, inspired me, challenged me to be a better person. I am so happy for you that you did have that time.
I think what I would like to tell you on this Father’s Day is that you taught me 2 of the greatest truths I know.
The first is “If you have a job to do, do it right the first time.” This simple statement has helped me be a better employer, Nurse, Soldier, mother..everything.
The second is “Actions speak louder than words.” Such a simple statement, but one that has been proven true (to me) over and over again.
Words are cheap.
Actions take energy and sometimes commitment.
It is easy to say “I love you,” but in reality, to love someone takes time, energy and a huge commitment.
It also takes a forgiving heart. To be honest, I am still working on that.
It also takes a choice to “forget.” After all, God CHOSE to forgive and forget our sins. (Again, working on that.)
On that note Dad, I must say, I forgive you. There is no way to show you directly now. Possibly I can show it by trying to understand that as parents, we all do the best we can. Sometimes we fail, and have to pay for it when our children grow up. Sometimes we succeed, and get those heartfelt hugs. I didn’t give you many of those Dad. I am sorry. I would treasure 5 minutes of time to hug you again.
I so wish you could have stayed around long enough to answer some of the thousands of questions about life, your life, our heritage, that I so want to know now. I feel very unconnected, but I was told by mom that your childhood, after your father died, was pretty terrible. I am sorry you had to go through that Dad. It must have felt terrible to be sent away to live with your uncles, while Uncle Charlie got to stay with Grandma. I know I would have felt unwanted and unloved, especially after my father had just passed. And all of this when you were only 11. Golly Dad. I wish I could give you a hug.
So Dad, I you are in Heaven, and know that I do love you. I do honor you. I do forgive you, and ask for your forgiveness as well. I’ll be seeing you Dad. Maybe we will have time to talk things over then, but I think we will be too busy praising OUR gracious Father to find a moment to spare!
Love you Dad,