My Dad

My dad was a tough man to understand sometimes. I spent a good part of my childhood not really liking him all that much. He was angry and had an explosive temper. His moods were often unpredictable. He was a “weekend alcoholic” — either a happy drunk or an angry one. Or hung over. That one was the hardest to deal with.

I tiptoed around a lot.

I spent a lot of time being angry at my dad. As I’ve grown and matured I’ve come to realize that he likely had a lot of hurts of his own. I know that his life wasn’t always an easy one. That doesn’t excuse the choices that he made in life, but it has helped me come to peace with them a little bit more. I can’t continue to hold onto hurts from so long ago. Particularly hurts caused by a man with little emotional awareness and virtually zero positive coping skills. For better or for worse, it’s just who he was.

I learned a lot of things from my dad. I learned the value of dealing with my emotions appropriately. I learned the importance of loving others and being openly expressive with that love. I learned to dream and hope for a better life. I learned to value life more – because you never know how much of it you have left.

My dad died 22 years ago today, when I was 14 years old. I still wonder what my life would look like if he were still in it – who I would be…where I would be.

Perhaps the lessons I needed to learn in life could only come with him gone, I don’t know. Life is mysterious like that. What I do know is that I am partly a product of him and of the lessons that he taught me – and for that, I will be forever grateful.

I love you, dad. Knowing everything that I know about life, I wish you were here so I could hug you and tell you, one last time.

7 Responses

  1. Oh girl… I feel your pain.

    Don’t we learn so much about ourselves from our daddies? And doesn’t it affect how you view your own ex-husband’s relationship with your daughters?

  2. Aww…wow. Great post and reflections…seems your dad was a great man.

  3. There is a new book called “The Unavailable Father” that looks interesting, I have not read it (yet) but while researching it, I found the free preview Google Books pages of the book and it looks to be a helpful book.

  4. I think we are all, in some greater or smaller way, a product of our parents. I had a great relationship with my father but, still, the main thing I learnt from him was that smacking someone for being naughty doesn’t work if they don’t know why they’ve been naughty. They just become reserved and withdraw from situations that are likely to end up with them being smacked. I just wish my dad had told me that rather than demonstrate it!

  5. My Mom died 5 years ago today.

    Today has been so hard for me and I’ve cried a few times. Since she died I’ve had my youngest daughter, divorced, been single, heartbroken, moved. I’ll never know what she thinks about my life now or if she’s proud of me.

  6. Dads…
    Great post.
    I miss my dad – it has been 4 months. It has been 2 years since my husband died (my kids dad). They miss their dad. No matter the type of dad, you only get one in life. The human mistakes and the choices they make are there to teach forgiveness.
    I am sorry for your loss, glad you cherish living – I do too.

  7. My dad died in July 2008. He was 83. I was by his side for the 2 days he was on hospice care before he finally passed. It was heart-wrenching, but I’m glad I was there b/c I got to say goodbye and tell him I loved him and that there was nothing for me to forgive b/c I knew he’d done the best he could do w/ the tools he was given by his own parents and from living his own life.

    He was an alcoholic. He was a WWII Marine Corp veteran. He could be funny. He was smart. Sometimes he was kind. Most of the time, he was an asshole. So I know all about tip toeing and not knowing what dad I was gonna get when he came home from work. It depended on the day, whether he’d been drinking, or how his work was going, or if my mom had been chewing his ear off about us kids… you just never knew with him.

    But here’s what I DO know. He was the dad I got. And for better or worse, I am exactly who I was meant to be in large part BECAUSE of the dad I had. I’m grateful to him for that now. And I really miss him.

    Funny how that works.

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