Dear Richard,

For thirty seven years, you have been the only father figure in my life. Good, bad and ugly, you were the man I looked to when I needed one. I have learned to forgive and love you, but I never really liked you. And now you are dying.

I am glad we spoke today. You welcomed my call like a surprise blindfold of hands and our smiles shared an uncomfortable moment of gratitude and love.

Although groggy and weak, your voice took me back to a place that is difficult to return, and I am surprised how strong a woman I’ve become.

Knowing you will not leave the hospital and hearing how scared you are is like seeing an accident on the highway and helpless to to anything about it. I feel for my mom, who has never left your side and wish I were home to hold her hand.

Since I was four, you have never said “I love you” to me. I understand. You were never showed how to love and I know this is the source of your negative energy.

Right before we hung up the phone, I told you “I know you will feel uncomfortable hearing this, but I do love you”. I could hear your smile as my tears tickled my cheeks, knowing that would be the last time I would hear your voice. There was a soft, quiet moment on the line. I held my breath as you wrapped my words around your heart.

Not knowing what you would say, I heard your smile and you replied, “Well that’s nice to hear”. I know what you meant, and I’ll take it.

Sleep well. I will take care of mom and we will rejoice in knowing you are in a place where you can finally open your heart and give love. We know you have it in you.


27 comments

  1. I am sorry you are having this happen in your life.Sometime we love someone who cannot love us. If they are hurting us we have to abscent ourselves from their lives, but if they are unable to love but treat you well, you are improving your own life by not withholding that love.

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  2. Thanks Charlene. He was Archie Bunker with four nightly martini's, so it was hard to like him. I know his anger and cruelty was projection from not having been loved as a child, so it's easy to love and not resent. How can you not love another human being who was cheated out of the very thing he can't express? He is not an easy man to like, but I still feel a significant shift in my heart. Thanks for the comment. I know my mom will read this and it will bring joy to her to read. She is a true hero, having lived with him for nearly 40 years.

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  3. That was exceptionally written. I'm so sorry that you are going through this, and from the feeling I get… I am sadened by the years inbetween. My thoughts are with you… I hope you are able to find some peace. ((hugs)) to you

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  4. I'm sorry! This was beautifully written. It actually took me back to when my dad passed. That last conversation was profound as well. He wasn't an "I love you" guy either. It doesn't mean they don't.

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  5. @Paul and Kerry – Thanks. I really did feel a certain vulnerability and love in his voice today. I heard him tell me he loved me with no words at all. @Michelle – Thanks so much. I am finally at peace (after many years) and have forgiven him. It's a nice place to be.

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  6. I am sorry!!! I would like to ask a questionThe words 'I love you'..were you planning to say it or did it come at the moment?It's unbelieveable that you could genuinely love a person who hasn't given anything in return all your life!

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  7. My dad died very suddenly, 7 months ago. Our relationship was…complicated. But I knew he loved me, and the last words we said to each other were, miraculously, blessedly, "I love you".It's so good to know that expressing those feelings shows who WE are, not who the other individual is. You have a gift for mental health, Christine. Do you know how rare that is?

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  8. I think our darkest hours shed a lot of much-needed light on our lives and reveal the character inside. That personal growth is immeasurable.Sorry you are going through this, Christine. But, as I believe in fate, probably a necessary part of your "life education." Good to make peace with the past, however it comes. Think this man is doing the same thing.Hugs.

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  9. Shit. I'm crying at my desk.That was beautiful.It's interesting losing someone in your family that you weren't necessarily close to. It brings strange feelings…You did an excellent job of expressing them.

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  10. weird…we wrote about the same thing on the same day. i'm sorry to hear about your father, it's never easy to deal with the death of someone whose actions (good or bad) have made you who you are. keep your head up.

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  11. @ All – I am filled with gratitude and love from your posts and want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. He's still hanging on and my mom sounds like she's starting to break a little more, but so far, no new news.

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  12. I'm left without words. It hurts me to read of others pain in not being told "I love you". I have experienced the same, however. It sounds as though you have risen above, and are there for your mom in this most difficult time. I'm so sorry this is happening.

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  13. I didn't know we had this in common too. Nice tribute and it sounds like you are at peace with everything, despite the obvious pain of someone you love dying. I can't recall my dad ever saying "I love you" to me (and I know he does, of course). I go out of my way to tell him now and then in part because I know it makes him uncomfortable which amuses me.

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