Friday, March 9, 2012

Forgiveness.....and other stuff

This post has been swimming around in my head for a week now.  Exactly one week.  For it has been one week since my Dad arrived to stay.  He lives in Queensland, in a caravan park, in a van he oh so proudly owns.  Ask him, he'll tell you about it.

I did not know my Dad for a 15 year gap.  Not long after we (My Mum, Step Dad, Brother and miniature chihuaha - in a powder blue datsun - remember datsuns?) packed up our belongings, leaving our own shit-heap caravan/home behind, and headed to Victoria - we lost touch.  Well, more to the truth.....he kind of disappeared.  The kind of disappearing that happens on purpose?  To avoid paying money.  Nice. TRULY didn't bother me, most of those 15 years.  In fact, I quite preferred it that way.  It was uncomplicated.  One less person I had to deal with.  It simplified my teenage years, to a degree.

Fast forward to circa 2002.  The phone rings.  Some random is on the other end.  And I have NO IDEA who it is.  Turns out it was my Dad.  Turns out he had a minor stroke and a pretty decent car accident.  Turns out he remembered he had children.

I can't even remember how that conversation went.  Needless to say, it must have gone well - given he's been staying here this week.  What happened after that phone call wasn't overly mind-blowing.  It was quite simple.  I had a choice.  I could hold a grudge against him and never let him in, or I could let it go.  The fact that he pissed away my family's security, all that we owned, and gave in to the gambling demons that haunted him?   We went from being a relatively "normal" suburban family with a very successful business owning Father....... to a Fatherless family who had to gather all of their possessions and live in a caravan for a couple of years.  Fun?  Not.

But I did it.  I forgave him.

Life is short.  

When I picked him up from the airport, over a decade after last seeing him, what I did see was an old man.  With next to nothing.  And he got in the car like nothing had ever happened.  So I went along with it.  And still do.

The strangest part about this story?  That he has been here for most of the seven days he's been in Melbourne, and I can honestly say I have not had a decent conversation with him.  Of course, that's not counting the stories he has told me about his kidney stones, constipation, sore shoulder and the strangers I knew nothing about until he told me!  Each day he has been here has been the same.  I go about my usual routines, and he hovers between watching television and popping outside for cigarettes.  
We are still strangers.

I feel like this should sadden me?  But it doesn't.  It just is what it is.  In essence, I am thankful that I have a Father.  One who has, over the past ten years, taken the time to get on a plane every couple of years to come and watch television at my house.  Taken the time and made an effort to send my children, his grandchildren, birthday cards.  And always calls me a week beforehand to let me know he has sent them something.  He has also taken the time to try to be a part of my life.  Even though I think I haven't really let him in.  I don't think he really knows me.  And probably never will.  

For all his faults, I love him.  And I know he loves me - unconditionally.   He never asks me for anything.  Nor do I ever expect anything of him.  So for now, it's working.  This Father/daughter thing.  It may be unconventional in some eyes, but that's my family.  Unconventionally conventional.

I want to end this with one of my all-time favourite quotes. 
 From one of my all-time favourite quoters - Oprah....

Are you a forgiver?  Or a grudger?


  1. Thanks Kerrie :) It's something I have thought about often, but was all brought to the surface this week, and made me think - lots! x


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