Because today is Father’s Day, I decided to reblog a post I created almost 4 years ago. This post resonated with a lot of people, and I pray that it has brought them healing or at least put them on the path towards healing.
Today, I share this post once again because I know there are many people out there who suffer on Father’s Day because of past or current hurts that stem from growing up with an absent father or perhaps there is a father out there who sees himself in my daddy and will make the effort today to be a better father and man.
Walk with me through this post, and I encourage you to answer the questions at the end of this reading so that you can take action today to release the pain, move forward with your life, and if possible, reconnect with the one man you hold dear to your heart.
My dad passed away on January 2011 after a short battle with cancer. In the weeks after his death, I continually came across this scripture:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).
In the reading of the word, I was trying to make sense of the relationship I did not have with my father and the pain that I was currently feeling. The source of my pain did not come so much from his death, but from the fact that I did not have the opportunity to really know who my father was.
As I sat at his funeral, that’s when the pain really hit me. Everyone around me knew my daddy more than I did. They knew his personality, his hobbies, his favorite jokes, and what made him happy or sad. They even had memories of vacations and happy moments I never had the opportunity to share with him. I felt like a stranger at the funeral of the man who created me.
I would travel from Delaware to Philly to visit my dad in the hospital as much as I could and every time I entered the hospital room he would look my way and say, “Trina!” as if he was shocked to see me, as if he didn’t expect me to show up – maybe because he failed to show up in my life.
I don’t know why things turned out the way they did, but it’s too late to ask my daddy now.
In my youth I spent almost 7 days a week at my church and believe it or not my dad lived a hop, skip, and a jump away. He literally lived two small blocks away from my church and in all those years he never stopped by on purpose.
A few times he would happen to see my sister and I playing outside as he drove pass the church. Often he would wave hello and a couple of times he stopped to talk with us. Each time he would tell us to walk around to his house the next day to get some money. Each time that we went, he didn’t have the money.
It must have hurt him to constantly have to tell us that he didn’t have the gift that he promised, but I wished he only realized that we only wanted him – not the money.
Upon my return from Charlotte, NC in early 2008, I began to see my dad more often. He was the one that kept my old beat-up Nissan Maxima running way past its expiration date. During those times I began to imagine a different relationship with my dad. I wanted to spend more time with him. I thought maybe we could go out sometimes or I could have him over to play with my children, but I never approached the subject.
I guess a part of me felt that he was the more grown-up person and he should have been the one reaching out more. Besides, we were all grown now, and nobody could stop him from seeing me.
Fast forward 2 years later, it was my birthday, June 1, 2010, and I received a phone call from my dad. He left a message telling me happy birthday and that he loved me. I saved that message for a long time, and I would just re-play it everyone once in a while just to hear his voice.
After my father’s death I lost my phone, but I would continue to call my voice-mail to listen to that message. One day, I realized that I had to let go. I knew that my daddy loved me – I may not have had the best of memories, but I’m glad my dad had the courage to say the one thing that mattered to me the most in life which was “I love you.”
I wish I would have taken the opportunity as an adult to know my daddy more and to understand why we didn’t have much of a relationship while I was growing up.
Maybe someone out there has a similar situation or maybe your daddy was present in your life growing up but was absent in spirit – maybe he was a workaholic, an alcoholic, or had another family on the side.
Whatever the case, do we really have to wait until the day of Elijah to turn our hearts towards our fathers and have their hearts turned towards ours?
Make that first move today to bring reconciliation to your relationship with your daddy. Don’t wait like I did, when it was way too late to have that relationship I always dreamed of.
Here are some questions to coach yourself into greatness!
- If your father was absent during your childhood and maybe still absent to this day, what feelings emerge as Father’s Day approaches?
- Although you are now an adult and your daddy is still living, do you believe he should be the more grown-up one to develop the father/daughter or father/son relationship? Is your answer one that shows proaction to change or reaction to hurt?
- Are the feelings you have toward your father healthy or unhealthy? If they are unhealthy, what steps can you take today to be in a better place?
Share your comments with me and others below or share this post on your social media by clicking the links below. You never know, this may be the breakthrough someone needs to make it through another day.