Photo Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ikluft
The desert. A barren place. Devoid often of water. Life (well as I know it). In this place my father lives. Not as a free man, but a man imprisoned by the state corrections system. It’s a choice he made. And one that I live with. And for the most part I’m ok with it. But then I have those pesky “days”. Like the one coming up. His 71st Birthday.
I feel only pity now. Pity that he chose a lonely route. Pity that he listened to the subtlety of his mind. The one that told him that it was ok…that it was ok because “he’d done it to his daughter and she’s OK.” (A fact that had he BOTHERED to have a relationship with me he would have know was NOT TRUE. I WAS NOT OK.)
What I’ve ceased being is sorry. Sorry for his actions. Sorry for the loss of a man who didn’t love us enough. Sorry for a man who chose to abuse my mother, myself, my siblings and my nieces and nephews. Sorry for the ugliness of his sin. I’m not sorry. Not one bit.
I have forgiven what he did. Accepted who he is. It has brought peace to my mind and allowed me to love those that I DO have in my life: my husband, my kids, my family, my friends. Forgiveness does not mean I forget. It does not mean that I do not hold him responsible for the consequences we live with. It does not mean I try to be “understanding” about “who he is.” There is no logical, moral or spiritual way to understand pedophilia. None. So I don’t. I just simply choose to live that “It is what it is. He is who he is.” Safely locked away from those he can harm.
Do I miss him?
Wow. I don’t think I’ve asked myself that ever. No. I don’t. And that doesn’t make me cry. Doesn’t make me feel bad. Doesn’t hurt. I don’t miss who he is. The father I grew up with was not the one I had imagined in my mind. I have since come to realize that, and it’s allowed me to move on.
Yes, my father was a neat guy in ways. He could play the piano in a style all his own. He had this amazing way of talking like Donald Duck that would make us giggle. He loved his country and let us know that, almost annoyingly. He was a conspiracy theorist a trait that I strangely find myself possessing.
In other ways, he was a not-so-nice guy. He hit my mom. I never saw it. But I heard it. He would kick my brothers. He would terrify me in ways I don’t want to remember. He was mean. One day was our loving dad…the other was a man we would run from. And he did not take care of us. Of all the things I remember, that’s the one that angers me the most. The days he would not go to work. The days we would eat nothing because he did not work. The days my mother would go to work so her children could exist and he’d yell at her for doing so. The accusations. The lies. Those memories I wish would leave my brain forever.
So, I sit here in my home, thinking of a man in the desert. I hope he has as well a birthday as one can in a prison. I hope that he has found someone to talk to, to connect with. No person, even my father, deserves to exist without contact with another human being. I wish him well. And peace. And strength to move on.