Forgiveness… once again the truth posts bring us to this topic. Yet this week it is forgiving someone other than ourselves.
Truth #4: Something You Need to Forgive Someone For
I have had many things occur throughout my life, both young and old where forgiveness was necessary in order to move on with myself in a healthy manner. I like to think that I am able to deal with such issues a bit better than in previous times yet I am always wary to say anything like that as it is somewhat like praying for patience.
Yet in my life an event occurred that taught me a great deal of the need for forgiveness and the true gift that it can give to one if they chose to act upon it. Growing up in an alcoholic/abusive family was by far not the most fun I have ever had. Sometimes I think my saving grace was the fact that my father did not like me. In fact he made a point of telling me just that whenever he did speak to me which was seldom. Because of this I managed to escape much of the behavior that my older sister and brother had to endure. Unfortunately I did not escape it entirely.
When my mother finally got the courage to leave him, I thought that it was finally over and we could commence to have a “normal” life. Yet never say never as I learned later on in my life. It was several years later, when I was thirty years old that I would be faced with decisions I thought I would never have to make. My father was ill, or so I was told by my aunts and uncles and he needed to be taken to the VA hospital. I am really not sure why yet it fell upon me to do this task.
I will be honest and say that it was something that I did not want to do. If I never set eyes on this man again it would not bother me. He had taken so much from me as a child. Not only did he take my ideal of a father figure, he also took my family life away. I struggled with the wonderment as to why he disliked me so and why he said the awful things he said to me. I struggled with the abuse he brought to my mother and older brother and sister and later myself. I did not wish to have to “be nice” to him.
Maybe it was the Christian influence in me that gave me a feeling of being obligated to tend to him I am not sure. But the fact is that I eventually did take him to the hospital. It was a humbling experience that first time I saw him again. He was definitely sick and I could not help but feel sorry for him and also ashamed at myself that I had been so selfish with myself.
Over the next few years we would take him to his doctor appointments and such. I even allowed my children to meet him as I did not want to be the reason they never knew their grandfather. Fortunately this did not happen too often as I am not sure if I could have taken it on a regular basis. I remember my older sister and myself going to visit him one day. He was sick and it was a matter of time when he would finally pass. We asked him to consider coming closer to where his family was so that his last days would be with family. He refused. I remember before I left I confronted him in regards to earlier times and much of what had occurred. He sat there speechless. Yet when I left I remember feeling at peace.
That night I awoke from a dream. In it I could hear my father calling my name. He kept asking me to help him. Yet I could not see him. It was dark and foggy and regardless how hard I looked I could see nothing. When I woke, I remember looking at the clock. It was 12:43 AM. The next morning I received a call that my father had passed the night before. It was not until some time later that I learned that his time of death was 12:43 AM.
I was the only one in the family that cleared their conscious with my father. I was the only one who “forgave” him. It was more the starting process of forgiveness, yet in doing so it released a huge burden from me. My brother and sister did not forgive him before his death. I have seen the implications of this over the years and it has only strengthened my beliefs for the need of forgiveness.
Yes, I still get upset with others for things they do or don’t do. I still do not always release my anger and/or resentment immediately. Yet I have learned that inevitably it is something that will need to be done. Forgiveness is never simple yet it is always necessary to move on. Forgiving my father was not an easy task and there were many at the time who did not understand my actions. Yet at the time it was what was right for me and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to do so. It is a burden I no longer carry.