A letter to my father

A letter to my father

Dear father,

I think its time for me to write to you because I don’t think I ever had the courage enough to talk to you in person. What brings me courage today is to write to you instead because we haven’t spoken since your mothers’ passing, I believe was about a two decades ago. Time keeps passing by and the distance in our relationship keeps growing farther apart. There are times I don’t quite understand how we got here but I wonder if both of us just, do not have the courage to just talk to one another. Courage enough to speak to each other or reach out to one another because were hiding behind the depths of pain because of our complacent inactions to speak about the pain in our family history. I’ll admit, I’ve had a lot of unanswered questions, “why?”. Why is our relationship so difficult? Why can’t we just pick up the phone and call? Why is there a distance between us? Why did you avoid speaking with me when you saw me that Sunday at your church? Why do you always use your wife to mediate or communicate on your behalf when you are in our presence? Why is it so easy to try and seek a relationship with my brother’s oldest children but not with your own? Why have we allowed the past hurt to keep us distance apart? Why do we only see one another when someone has passed on (or at funerals)? Why? These questions have always come around even when I would be in your presence, or the distance would be so obvious when we were in proximity in the same space with each other. My mother would always remind me of how close we were with one another. But I don’t have any re collective memories of us being close, besides the pictures in our photo albums when I was in my youth. I don’t know why I cannot remember any of those memories unless my self-conscious has blocked those memories because of the emotional pain. The pictures tell a different story then what I could remember, we seem very close-knit but it’s hard to understand if we were so close, how does the substantial number of years of distance, kept us so far apart. And why? Is it because of the emotional pain we endured after you and my mom’s divorce? Or have we just decided to close that chapter of what life was since we appeared to look close in old photos. We keep distance to avoid facing the truth first, the pain from our past. It took me years to understand why my heart was heavy with so much emotional trauma and the root of it all starts with my very first relationship with you. This is not a letter intent to blame or defamed your character, but I’m speaking from my perspective of how important my relationship with you has affected the years of emotional trauma I’ve went through in my past. Now, I am at a place of peace, so it’s easy for me to be open about what I’m going to say to you.

First, I forgive you. I have to forgive you because if I keep dwelling on the past hurt, then I will not be able to move forward. For years, I have suffered from emotional trauma from you and my mothers’ divorce and how it has affected my relationships up into adulthood. The impact of the divorce, started in my early childhood to a young adulthood. But now I understand why because of my relationship with you, and I had no examples to look up to because of your absence. But even when I did not have those father examples, God reminded me that His presence is who I could always depend on, even when I felt you weren’t around. I had to learn to understand that my relationship with Him I had to be fully dependent on Him, so he could change my heart and mindset on the way my heart felt towards you in the past. I was angry, hurt, emotional, confused, and the worst feeling of them all was feeling abandoned as a young child. All those feelings, emotional trauma I carried for years into my adulthood. I can now look back and see how my relationship with you effected my relationships with others in the past. There were relationships I did not need to settle for because I did not understand my worth or value. I did not understand my worth and value when it came to the relationship with the opposite sex. Yes, my mother taught me my value and worth as a young girl maturing into a young adult woman, but I wasn’t covered in the sense of understanding not to settle for anything less than my worth and have examples of how a man should treat me. So, there were relationships with the opposite sex that left me feeling worthless or emotionally scarred because I settled in a sense in seeking someone to fill your absence. As a father, you have responsibility and a role to cover your family. My relationship with you was important for me as a young adult woman in those seasons of my life to learn from my father in what I should avoid in the character of the opposite sex. So, those past relationships it left me settling for less than what I deserved. Those past relationships only added a heavier emotional burden because the relationship I was seeking the most was from you. I remember the last time I saw you was at your mothers’ funeral. When me and my siblings arrived at the service, we had no clue what to expect. My emotions were unsure at first should I go but our cousins had convinced us to come, so we could see each other since it had been a while since we saw them. I remember walking into the church and seeing an older woman in a casket I did not recognize. I’m not even sure if we had ever met when I was younger. As I walked in my sister and brother decided to follow behind me, I wasn’t sure if the family that I was a part of were sitting on the left or right. I decided to sit on the right side since there looked to be empty pews on the right. As I sat down and looked to the left, I notice you were sitting at the front on the left side. I can only remember a little of what happened that day, but as the service went on to recognize the passing of this older woman what I did not understand is that I’m at a funeral of a loved one I have never met before. I did not even know her name, until I read her name on her obituary. My mother told me before we left home that she was our grandmother. Sadly, I had no relationship to even know her as grandmother. The only grandmother that I was aware of living during that time was my mom’s mother. As I sat and heard the eulogy of her friends speak of her, I wonder did she even know who I was, or did she even know I existed. I was confused and upset at the same time because again I find myself in a situation, I did not feel a part of. As the service came to an end, I could overhear you talking to someone and looking over in our direction saying that we were your children. All I could think of was why even acknowledge who we were if we did not have what you would call a father and child relationship. You look up and smiled and all I could do was turn my head the opposite direction. As we proceed to walk out the church you were standing near the door and my mind, and my heart agreed to just keep walking and do not say a word. It was the very first time when I felt I had enough courage to stand up for myself and tell myself enough was an enough. I did not want to keep going in this cycle of seeing one another when it came to a loved who had passed on. The time before I had seen you at my brother’s son funeral and even at that time my emotions were heavy and confused about why were you even there. But just as I thought I had courage to walk past you and not say a word, I felt at the time it was the right thing to do. I had nothing to say, nothing to talk about because what was there to catch up on if the woman I could have known or had a relationship with never happened. I could feel the tension there because from what my cousin had told me you and your brother weren’t even on speaking terms. I just did not understand the depths of how my weight or hurt being at your mother’s funeral would impact me later.

Me and my husband, about a couple years later had got engaged. We started going to premarital counseling at church, so we would have a better understanding of marriage and our roles. Before our first premarital counseling class began, I felt a heavy emotional weight on my heart. I kept thinking about how I thought what I had mistaken for courage to walk pass you at the funeral would get you to understand how much pain or hurt I felt because of our relationship. I recall walking in the hallway not too far from where our first premarital class would be being and sitting down on the bench and bawling out my eyes because how hurt I felt. That wasn’t courage, that was pain, anger, confusion, and hurt I tried to display in front of you. My heart was heavy, and I could not bear the weight of thinking that this was the relationship we have with each other. I remember the last time you sent me a card on my 13th birthday, and you wrote inside of it that I was getting older as if there was no need to send cards for my next birthday. I remember Dr. Tony Evans saying in one of his podcasts that parent's are never too old to parent until they are gone. Are the time, during my high school graduation how I was hoping to see you because I was so excited, but I did not even see you, even though you called my mother and told her you attended my graduation. But why did you not come find me and wish me congratulations if you were present? I did not understand and so again I was left with unanswered questions. As this cycle kept going, I knew I needed to seek outside professional counsel and which I am proud of myself for finding the courage to do because it has given me a different perspective on how I viewed my life. 

My relationship with God has grown spiritually and emotionally. I have a healthier mindset and how I view my relationship with you. We cannot change what has already been done or happened. We must move forward and look for a brighter future and trust God to direct our path and steps to carry us through. I decided years ago I wasn’t going to carry this pain or burden (cycle) into the next generation that comes after me. I am grateful for my husband’s patience and what he had to endure during those seasons of pain I was trying to let go so God could transform into purpose. I understand what my purpose is, and I am more content with my life because of my close relationship with God. If it hadn’t been for Him, I would not be where I am today, married with children. I have a stable foundation because I trust God to guide my marriage into his purpose and plan. No, marriage hasn’t been easy, but it has taught me “above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) If we did not have grace where would we be? Grace is a gift, and it cannot be earned because God freely had given it to us. Just like we do not get to choose who our parents are. Life happens and there is always purpose behind everything we go through and its not to hinder us from moving forward. I’m choosing to move past from the past and not allow it to hinder me from moving forward. I pray that you have found it in your heart to look at life from pain into purpose. I pray that you are well.

In Him,
Anetria
Your daughter

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