ForgivenMy daddy was
a difficult person to love. Does that shock you? Most
likely it does.. And yet a truer statement was never
uttered. He was an engineer, with a structured mind. He
resided in a world that was black and white- no room for
shades of gray in his way of thinking. Everything that
was real in this life had to be analyzed, charted, and
carefully put down on paper in a pretty blue ink.
Unfortunately, people do not come in black or white, but
rather in all shades of gray. Because of this unique
paradox, my father was socially inept. He disliked being
in the company of beings that did not conform to his
rigid understanding of the world. Eventually he pushed
away everyone that loved him, because they did not fit
his black/white mold. He was stubborn, he was
prejudiced, he was often crude, and he was more fond of
his electrical and electronic "toys" than he
was of people.
him with all my heart.
This, then, is the story of a special bond, and a tragic
My parents divorced when I was in eighth grade, which
was the last year of Junior High School. Since all of us
kids were of a reasonable age we were allowed to choose
the parent with whom we wished to live. I chose to
remain with my father. My elder sister was married, my
brother moved out on his own shortly after the divorce,
and my younger sister went with my mother. That left
daddy and me. I was 14 years old. I took over the
household: cleaning the house, cooking dinner every
night, doing the laundry, making the shopping lists and
the doing the shopping. I fed the animals, painted
daddy's room, made him curtains, sewed my own clothes
for fun, and wrote the checks for the bills (he had a
signature stamp made just for this purpose). I was in
heaven, and spoiled my daddy rotten. Dinner was always
on the table when he walked through the door in the
evening. He told me about his day, and I told him about
mine. I told him all the dirty jokes I had learned in
school, and how my classes were coming. He told me about
the gossip from his work. We went everywhere together,
usually linked arm-in-arm.
When I was valedictorian of my Junior High class, daddy
gave me a heart shaped diamond ring with a teensy little
diamond chip in it. It was my first diamond ever, and I
When I got my first motorcycle, daddy helped me take it
apart, and watched as I put it back together again, with
only a small pile of leftover pieces. Rode it for
three years after that, too! When I graduated to my
first car he helped me replace the brakes, and change
the oil. He taught me to build furniture and helped me
hang the huge Japanese style lamp I built. I adored him,
and he loved me right back..
Eventually I married and moved out. A divorce followed
in a few years, and I struggled to make it. Daddy was
always there, but our relationship was changing. He
began to withdraw from me. He had lost his job a few
years earlier, and never really worked again except for
occasional menial jobs of no consequence. He was shriveling
up inside slowly, but surely. The biggest rupture came
when I had my son, Nathan. Nathan's father was Korean.
My father could not forgive this. He had served in World
War II against the Japanese, and hated my son with an unreasonable hatred.
I moved out of state six months after the birth, deeply
hurt by my father's rejection of my precious son. In the
next 12 years I saw my daddy only three more times.
Six years ago my father died of a heart attack.
I was living in Texas with husband number three, and
four days earlier had been committed to a mental
institution for a suicide attempt.
I wasn't there, daddy, to hold your hand.
I wasn't there, daddy, to tell you how much I loved you.
I wasn't there, daddy, to tell you how beautiful Nathan
or of the joy he has brought me.
I wasn't there, daddy, when you were in pain.
I wasn't there, daddy, to kiss you goodbye.
I wasn't there, daddy, to tell you I had forgiven you
I wasn't there, daddy....
and I still wear that ring every single day
Am I forgiven?