Two days ago my father was ill and I was called to take him to the hospital. While waiting to see the doctor, I realized that I could not sit close to the man I called dad, close to my father. I was sitting far away.
My sister and I unconsciously looked for the furthest seat away from him. He needed help to get up, and I realized it was difficult for both of us to reach out to him and help him. I felt like I was reaching out to a stranger.
At that moment, I felt so sad that the one person I should have profound love and respect for, I could not. I love him like any other being, but nothing special. I know in my heart that I will help him in all ways to the best of my ability and do whatever feels right, but I have lost that closeness, that attachment that exists between daughters and fathers. I wonder, was it due to years of feeling angry toward him? Years that I felt he did not understand what it meant to be a father? Years of being sad and blaming him?
I have been angry with my dad for so long that I can’t even remember when the anger started. I have always seen him as selfish and not caring for anyone but himself. I was full of bitterness for the man that I should adore; I was an angry child, an angry adult because of my father for so long.
I came to the realization some years back that some of the difficulties and challenges I have in my home were due to how I see my father. He has been a shadow hanging above my happiness. I have carried my past with me like a big, ugly bag that hangs on my shoulders everywhere I go. As a young girl growing up, I made a promise to myself that I will never marry a man like my father, but it seems that I see him in all the men that I have dated, and even in the man I married.
As I sat down far away from him, looking at his fragile self, I did not feel hate nor anger for him. I felt a heart-aching pity, and I realized he can never hurt me or my siblings again. I did not realise that I have allowed something that did not exist, nor have control over, to harm and define my life.
I have allowed the anger towards my dad to rule my life for so long. I said to myself, He did it and not me; it was his choices and not mine, he is who he chooses to be and I can chose right here and now what I want to be. And I did.
I have accepted him for who he is. He can never be who I want him to be, or who I wish him to be, but he will remain the man I grew up knowing as my dad, and he will remain the person he has always been.
I have since then come to appreciate who he is, to laugh over some of the things he does. I never allow myself to feel angry or hurt toward his behavior. I have decided to look at the positive side of him.
I learned to read and write because of him. These are things that make me who I am today, things I find pleasure in. I never read with him, but he brought lots of books home and I always saw him reading and writing. Sometimes, just to be praised by him or noticed by him, I pretended to read, but he never did notice, even when I started to really read. But I learned to read and love books because of him.
He is who he is and I am his daughter. I have stop being angry. It felt sad and empty as we sat there in the hospital bench waiting to see the doctor, my dad looking old, fragile and sick and I and my sister sitting away from him. But that is who we are. I still struggle to call him my dad. I find it easier to refer to him as my father.