Sometimes in life there are times when it seems like you don’t have a choice. Usually you feel that way when the option right in front of you isn’t the one you want. To maneuver to a different one would require great effort or even sacrifice.
The truth is you always have a choice. It’s just that sometimes you’ve earned consequences that must be paid in full until you can change your direction. Believe me I know this to be personally true.
I struggle with the fact that I never got to speak to my dad before he died. So I imagine what I would’ve said if I had been given the chance. Would our conversation ended the way it had for years? If so, that means I would be in the same place I am today. Or would a switch have turned on inside him and his response finally be different? I will never know.
It’s difficult to make sense of it because I don’t believe he hated me. It just sometimes felt like it. There were a lot of beautiful memories between us – they just got lost in our choices.
My dad always told me I could do anything I wanted in life and become anything I desired. For a time I believed him. I danced ballet for many years, became a cheerleader, auditioned and had parts in a local theatre company, played sports, learned how to make stained glass, raised money for charities etc.. All because he told me it was possible.
My father was a dreamer and I am too.
I always tell my boys if their dreams don’t scare them then they aren’t dreaming big enough. To never listen to nay-sayers – that anything is possible. I think that is something my dad instilled in me.
The truth is he also shunned me and left a lot of hurt and pain behind. So what do I do with it now? It’s much too heavy to carry around all the time. How do you hold a grudge against a dead person without feeling like an ass? It’s a conflicted web of emotions.
I can’t tell you why my dad couldn’t or wouldn’t choose to fight for our relationship. Maybe it was due to pride or embarrassment or anger? In the end it all comes down to a choice. Was it more important to be right or be in relationship? The decision he made in some ways pierces my soul deeper than all the other abuse combined.
I never loved the relatives who abused me – not one single day in my life. I did, however, loved, adored and trusted my dad. So his words and actions cut me deep. My head tells me he was a flawed human who probably lived a life that drove him to the choices he made.
So now in the end it comes down to my choice. What will I do? Will I decide to stay mad at him because I have so many raw and valid reasons? What will this accomplish? I am at total peace knowing I said everything I ever needed to say to him. Especially the words “I love you and I will never give up hope things will one day work out between us.” I just didn’t know that day would take place in heaven.
He was known by many names here on earth:
Carnal (full; blood, brother/buddy)
Arturo (legal name)
Thudo (nick name)
Arthur (English version)
Art (shortened name)
The Art in Life was many things to many people. I listened at the memorial services as friends and relatives described their experiences with him. The stories were all beautiful and kind and sometimes made me laugh.
He was my dad and sometimes a stranger, and I choose to forgive the ending he left me. I also choose to not miss the lesson he taught me about relationships and reconciliation. I choose to not let the bad overtake the good. I choose freedom and peace.