Friday, 21 February 2014

my dad, part 5: the forgiveness letter

(my dad, part 4: face to face)

Family photo, 1971

May 29, 2006

Dear Dad,

I’ve struggled for a few days in writing this letter because I really hope you will hear my heart.

When Sharon rang me in Ireland to tell me that you had cancer I cried for four days. I couldn’t bear to think of you coping with this news alone with nobody to help you through it. I knew straight away that I needed to come home and see you.

So I’m glad you let me come and visit. I’m sorry that things didn’t go so smoothly, but the only reason I brought up the past was to try and mend the break in relationship between us. I was angry over things in the past and wanted to know how you felt about it and give you a chance to give your perspective.

I’m sorry for doing it now when you’re sick. If only we’d been able to talk years ago, then we could have put all of this behind us and still been involved in each others’ lives. I’m sorry that we’ve both missed out on that – and I’m sorry for the pain and loneliness you’ve been through.

I’ve been confused because I’ve written several letters to you over the years, sharing my life with you. One Christmas long ago I came to your door with a gift and knocked but you didn’t open the door. I thought maybe you just didn’t want to talk with me.

Again, the only reason I brought up the past was because I felt it was an unspoken issue between us that had to be addressed if you in your pain and I in mine were to find healing and peace, and restore relationship, and just be father and daughter again. That is what I want – genuine peace between us because I do love you, and I feel terrible grief because I’m about to lose you, and I know things could have been so different.

You are still dad to me and always will be. As a little girl I looked up to you – I still have copies of letters I wrote from boarding school, asking if you would write to me. When I asked you to give me away at my wedding it was because I wanted to honour you as my dad and I’m grateful to you for accepting and giving me away.

I don’t know what else to say except that I do love you and feel great sorrow that you are having to fight this battle with cancer, without the closeness of family around you. I will try to come again after leaving this letter but if you don’t want to see me I will understand, you obviously have the right to say no.

With love from your daughter,

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