Father’s Daughter

This is a piece that I wrote in December of last year

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I am my father’s daughter were the words that ruminated in my mind as I boarded my plane home from Tennessee last night. I smiled. I felt the peace settle into my spirit and realized that I am truly happy. Happy to know my father.

I shared my story earlier this year about how my father was an absentee father and how I learned to forgive him. I did forgive him. We started to build that bridge and get closer. I thought we had all the time in the world until he asked me to call him. It was early October.

I did call him. “I have cancer daughter” were the words that he uttered. I broke out in tears. The sobs of a child in mourning were muffled as I covered my mouth and closed my office door. “What” I stammered. “I have cancer baby” he replied. I went numb. He talked about seeing the doctor and his acceptance.

My dad had accepted that it was okay to not want to do treatment. I’ve lived a long life he says. “Dad, you’re 60, that’s not long” I muttered. However, he seemed okay with that. He was tired he told me. He wanted to die. I wanted more time. I wanted memories. How could I make up for the last 31 years missed if he was checking out? How could we get to a place of peace?

I realized a critical point in my life. I had to try. I had to truly forgive and get back to knowing this man. That’s all I could do. I cried. I left work in tears because I couldn’t bear the thought of the man that I was publicly admitting that I loved to not be here anymore. Time was slipping. Time was invaluable. Time was what I wanted. More time. I booked my flight home to Tennessee the following month and began about the task of making sure that I could create some memories.

Memories were just what I created over Thanksgiving. I spent days with my dad and family. Laughing, crying, eating and just visiting him. He spent many days in a melancholy mood obsessing over the past. He was remorseful when he talked about seeing me in 2004 and how he ignored me. He let the tears roll down his face as he said, “I’m so sorry baby”. I smiled and with tears in my eyes I said, “I know daddy. I forgive you. The same God that has granted me grace and mercy all these years has given me the gift of forgiveness.”

I learned so much about my dad and my dad’s family during my brief visit that I am in awe that it took this long. This long for me to know my dad. To know his family. To know his life. To hear him openly talk about his other children with other women. There are at least eight of us. I am the first born girl. The oldest girl he says with pride.

I don’t know if I’m happy that there are so many children that I don’t know, but what I do know is that I will no longer hold on to the past. I will no longer hold him hostage to the pain in my heart because time with him is of the essence. The time we spend is more valuable than holding on to the pain. In this space between peace and forgiveness is a grown woman who openly proclaims that I am my father’s daughter.

I have his eyes. I have his stubborn nature. I have his laugh. I am his. He is mine and even though our time is not known, I promise to spend every minute loving and appreciating this man for who is now.

© Tikeetha Thomas

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31 thoughts on “Father’s Daughter

  1. This is such a sweet story. Forgiveness is a big one. I don’t believe in wasted time. I think those missing years make the others even better. If that’s what it takes to make those other years better, well…sometimes thats just the way it plays out. This is truly representative of the fact that people need to be bigger than their issues and appreciate their time together while they have it. I spent a lot of years trying to get in my dad’s good graces and we wasted a lot of time. Now he’s an old man. And we never, I don’t think, moved forward. Truly sorry to hear about your father.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I just typed to another commentator that forgiveness was for me and not him, but it allowed me to get over my own issues. He’s a man who is deeply flawed, but aren’t we all to some degree? I just want to love the man who he is now. We can’t redo the past, we can try to make memories in the present.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not sure how to respond to this. If you have forgiveness and can offer it freely, you are a better person than I am.
    I find that so many people who have “wronged” us in the past….people who wouldn’t give us the time of day….people who stood by and watched us get emotionally murdered….somehow want and expect absolution in the face of crisis.
    The tears, the disguised apologies, and the sudden pretentious affection is lost on me. I went through that with my former father-in-law. His newly found interest meant nothing to me…and I did not lie to him or as I put it…”blow smoke up his ass.”
    Love, honor and respect should be offered and given when there is time. Give me my flowers while I’m alive…don’t wait until I’m dead.
    Wanting to forgive your daddy shows that you are a remarkable young woman….and as I say….much better that I.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t easy. It was hard. But, forgiveness was for me and not for him. I needed to let him go. Stop punishing him for what he didn’t do and just love the man standing in front of me. My dad was/is an alcoholic. I realized that he was never going to get that monkey off his back and I had to accept that. It was like a weight was lifted when I forgave. I started to believe in love and my happiness. I now saw that as a possibility. It wasn’t before. It was just an obscure dream but when I forgave my life and circumstances with men have improved immensely. I had so many daddy issues it was ridiculous. But, forgiveness allowed me to let it go and see people for who they are. I can’t chose my dad, but I can accept who he is.

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      1. I’ll say again…you are a remarkable young woman.
        I cannot and will not forgive. I cannot and will not ease their conscience. I cannot and will not make their only wish of “being forgiven” come true.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I shared this post on my own Fathers blog. I haven’t held a grudge for a long time. I let al that rubbish go a long time ago and I think your post (if he reads it) will maybe help him reach out a bit more. I tend to do the reaching out and always hit a blank wall. It’s just my Dad’s way is what my Nan always says. So thank you re posting Tikeetha xx A special piece indeed

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  4. Very powerful! I can relate to this so much in a diff way, so glad you were able to make memories and forgive sis. I too just got to know my father a little bit just last year and it was such a short trip. Technically I only spent a day with him. He can’t walk much now and speaks of the days where he used to love running and how he wishes I could see him when he was able to to walk so we can do more things the next time that I visit. I look forward to seeing him again soon and building memories and knowing his family more wow and yes I too a sister and brothers but am the first. This was so touching sis! Thanks for sharing, I love your writing…i can almost see everything like a movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you so much! It was a blessing. I just wanted to forgive and build a relationship now. We can’t change the past, we can live in the present and hope to make a better future. Thanks for commenting sis! Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Touching story!

    “The same God that has granted me grace and mercy all these years has given me the gift of forgiveness.” That’s the spirit and that’s the secret of true forgiveness. Please keep the flag flying.

    Liked by 1 person

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