Day 4: Something You Have to Forgive Someone For
I know that for my own well-being, I need to find it in my heart to forgive my father. I need to forgive him for cheating on my mother, for not trying to fix their relationship when she found out, for leaving his four kids, for battling with her in a messy divorce that seems to revolve around not giving her the money she needs to survive.
My mother is disabled, she has been for over 5 years. She has good days and bad days, and although the good days are growing, when days get bad, they are bad. She has spent weeks in the intensive care unit, months with an oxygen tank. She can’t work. The little social security she gets is, well, extremely minimal. We don’t need to crunch numbers here, it’s simply nowhere near enough to live on with kids, nevermind with kids in college.
She is the one raising my brother and sister alone now. One of my sisters is 21 and has a relationship with our father, but the 18-year-old doesn’t care for him as a person, and my brother often refers to him as ‘sperm-donor.’
We were once picture perfect. I don’t mean that nothing went wrong – EVERYTHING went wrong. Friends would joke that there must be a black cloud over our house. But no matter, we went on. We came up stronger after every setback.
I was sure my mother’s illness would be another thing that I could look back on and say, “Wow, this made us so much stronger as a family.”
But a year ago, my father told my mother that he believed he loved (after a 6-week long affair) this woman, who happened to be our family friend, someone who my brother looked at fondly and lived with for some of the summer.
My mother was in shock. She, along with everyone else we know, never saw it coming. It was the last thing I would have ever expected my father would do. Angry, hurtful comments spewed from her like a dragon breathing fire at an enemy. He became even colder than he’d been the past year, more distant. The way he looked at her made me shudder. Our home became a war zone.
My mother wanted to forgive him. She still loved him. She asked him to do counseling, she asked him to give them one more chance.
But he didn’t. At the time I was still friends with my father because I believed that people make mistakes and that it doesn’t take over his entire being, that it’s just that moment that time, that it would pass and he’d be my father again.I’d ask him to try and his eyes would well up and he’d give me some bullshit reason why he couldn’t. He’d say there were things I didn’t know.
Well here’s what I do know. I remember the two of them dancing disco in the kitchen together. I remember him saying to her, “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.” I remember him fighting with the doctor’s to save her life. I know that they loved each other enough to promise to be together in good and bad, enough to raise fourchildren together.
Now what I know is that I’m angry and sad. I’d love to forgive him, to bring him back into my life, but this divorce is messy and complicated and every conversation is nothing but negativity. He has become manipulative and selfish caring nothing for the well-being of anyone but himself.
I knew last Christmas. That’s when it changed. When I started to grow distant. We were all still living together. Heleft, on Christmas day, and said he went to see his family. He saw her. From that moment on I grew distant. He didn’t know why my anger was growing toward him, why my relationship was changing. But for the life of me I haven’t been able to find it in me to forgive him for leaving us, for not trying to fix us when we were such an incredible group. Together we could move mountains, we were a truly formidable opponent the six of us.
Why could he have no been self-less enough to at least try to fix things with my mother? Had he tried and failed, I honestly don’t think we’d be in this position. I believe there would be less anger, that the divorce would go smoother, and his relationship with his children would probably still need work but it wouldn’t be nearly as difficult.
But we weren’t worth trying for. That’s all I seem to see, and I know that someday I’m going to need to forgive him, but for now, I just can’t find it in me. When I look at him, I see a shell of a man I once looked to as the pillar of my very existence. I see weakness and selfishness. I see a lack of respect for women. I see a man in a mid-life crisis. Mostof all, what I don’t see is my father.
Perhaps the day that I look at him and see my father, will be the day I forgive him.
For now, I will hope for that day to come and do my best to support my mother, and my siblings in whatever choices they choose to make.
I’m a Daddy’s girl. Until last January, he was one of my best friends. I loved learning from him, I even wrote mysenior year memoir surrounding him. Obviously, the pedestal I put him on, was entirely incorrect. I miss my father, but it pains me far too much to think of forgiving him any time soon. Does that make this entry a failed entry? I don’t know. It is what it is.
Have you ever wanted to forgive someone and struggled with the very principles of it all?