Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)

We don't have choices about who our parents are and how they treated us,
but we have a choice about whether we forgive our parents and heal ourselves.
--Bernie Siegel

Dear Daddy,

Christmas is right around the corner, and as usual, I've been thinking of you.  I know it was mom who did the Christmas shopping.  She bought all the presents and tucked them under the tree, but I know you took your time to shop for that one special present....that car or truck that made ME the little boy you never had.  And, I always took great joy in those gifts, tomboy that I was.   Today's truth is to write a letter to a hero who let you down.  That was you, Daddy. 

I think to  just about every little girl, every little child, for that matter,  their first hero is their daddy.  We look up to our fathers; to a small child they become like Gods. They can do no wrong.  But then  one day, you notice that your daddy is actomg funny.  You can't put your finger on it because you are too young to understand.   All you know is that sometimes he acts silly telling jokes and slurring his words, and other times he can be so mean that you run and hide for fear instilling his wrath.  You see him drinking beer every night, and it usually happens after he's had a few,  but it can't be bad, can it?   After all, doesn't both daddy and grandpa  give you sips?  So, how bad can it be?

Then, as you get a little older, you begin to here your friends whispering things about your dad, and soon they begin teasing you...calling your dad names and asking if your daddy's second job is holding up the bar stools.  I was still too young to understand, and I suppose my friends were, too.  They were probably repeating what they heard their parents say.  Then one Friday night you didn't come home; in fact, you were gone for most of the weekend, and when you finally did come home, I heard Mom yelling at you for getting into a bar fight and ending up in jail.  What will the neighbors think? was all she seemed to be worried about.   And you just stood there listening to her yell and call you names, your head held down, eyes looking to the floor.

And, that is where you let me down, Daddy.  I forgave you a long time ago for your drinking.  I realize now that you had a disease....a family disease.  Your father, your mother, your grandparents...your entire family were drinkers, and you learned no other way of living.  But you never stood up for yourself, and you never stood up for me.  When Mom was saying all those mean things to me, you never said a word.  You allowed it to happen.  You listened as she berated and condemned your family, and when she ordered you never to take me for a visit, you listened, and as a result, it took me many, many years to find out who I really was. 

But, that was then, and this is now.  I'm older now, older than you were when you passed away, daddy,  and I've gone through a lot in my life. And each holiday season I find myself missing you more and more.  I'm stronger now than you could ever have imagined I might be, and my heart is filled with forgiveness...for both of you.  Merry Christmas Daddy and Mommy. 

We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted--our names, the color of our eyes and the texture of our hair, the unfolding of varied abilities and interests in different subjects. . . . Each of us contains within our fragile vessels of skin and bones and cells this inheritance of soul.  We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise.  Only when we recognize that we are heirs can we truly be pioneers.--Edward C. Sellner


1 comment:

  1. Dear, dear Mary, this post speaks loudly to me, though not personally, but because of two dear friends of mine. As usual, you either make me smile or cry, which means you ARE a great writer! Love you dear lady! Hope you are enjoying this COLD blast! XO