I think it's safe to say that I'm no longer apart of the "Daddy Issues" committee. I don't think time played a factor (because it took me over 20 + years) but, I do give credit to finding forgiveness (I thought I didn't have it in me), many many manyyy tears (feeling and releasing), work-books, letters, journaling, therapy, prayer, blogging, reading...look, it took a lot for me to get to this point.
I believe the last step of healing in any situation is closure. And after doing all of these things, I still felt like I was missing something. I had released all of the emotions that I had bottled up all of my life into a jar, but I couldn't find the lid to close it...closure.
I always thought about what it would be like when I would see him again and when that time would come. Would I break down and reach out to him to have "the talk?" Would we run into each other unexpectedly? Would he randomly reach out when I'm married with kids? What would I even say? What would he say?
I had learned some details about what was going on in his life at that moment, which was confirmation for me. I reached a place where I knew if he stayed in my life, I would've most likely been worse off (the thought of that scares the hell out of me).
I always stand by God removing people from your life for a reason...especially if they can be detrimental to your journey. It's sad but that applies to family too. I had to look deeper. I didn't know much about his childhood, but I did know he carried some unresolved issues into his adulthood. I reached forgiveness when I changed my perspective: he simply didn't know how to be a father to me. So many things played a part in his actions. But it's not my place to piece his past together and figure out why he couldn't be my father. I'm not a victim. I am a beautiful product of his absence.
Last year, I saw him at my brother's graduation. Lucky for me, I knew a couple of days before hand that I was going to see him so I was kind of prepared. Was I nervous? Absolutely.
It was almost like he had no idea who I was. His "hey" was so low, that it probably had been apart of my imagination. After the ceremony, we were escorted down steps and a long hallway, walking right next to each other...literally. My arm even brushed up against his a couple of times. And still...not one word was said. I was going back and forth with myself in my head:
"Just start a conversation...ask him how he's been. "No, he is the man...the father, he should say something first...I'm his child."
Talk about awkward. I smirked the entire time, I couldn't believe we were that close to each other and didn't say anything. I was speechless. Would you believe we even took pictures with my brother...together!? The craziest shit ever.
In the car ride to my bother's place, I kept replaying what happened in my head. If this would've happened 2 or 3 years ago, I would've been a hot mess, sobbing all over the place. But, I didn't shed one tear (if you know me, you know...every thing makes me cry).
Something wouldn't allow me to break down. Something didn't allow me to get upset.
He arrived at my brother's place after everyone else. There we were again, sitting at the dining room table...together...across from each other. And still, not one word was said. He had a conversation with everyone in the room, except me. And no, I'm not being dramatic.
Surprisingly, I wasn't uncomfortable. I interacted with everyone else there and stayed for a reasonable amount of time. When I was ready to leave, I said my goodbyes to the entire group. As I turned away and started walking toward the door, I heard him say under his breath, "take care."
I told the story to some of my friends and family multiple times that night. I didn't feel an ounce of pain. Was it really gone this time?
Everyone: "How do you feel, are you okay? I'm sorry that happened to you."
Me: "I'm fine. I feel fine."
I found the lid to my jar of emotions. I accepted his role, and although our encounter was not what I expected it to be, it was the closure I needed. I woke up the next day at peace. I felt a little lighter than before.
A part of me will always wish I grew up with a father, but now I can navigate through life without blaming or shaming myself for not having one. My open wound has healed into a scar- a reminder of how far I've came and how strong I am as a fatherless daughter.