My relationship with my father was a strained one. He was absent in the times we didn’t need him and was only half there when we did. His mentality of parenthood was as the following:
If I keep them busy, I don’t have to deal with them.
Fatherhood isn’t for everyone
That ideology worked about as good as you think it would. He wanted us to be interested in other things. That way we would keep to ourselves. An old computer was the best thing be got as a hand me down. That’s when my brother and I began to invest our time in technology.
There were times when he took us to museums and art exhibits, times when he could have been a parent. Those were few and far between though… And for show. He accompanied us on school trips to show he was a good dad. He took us on vacations to show he was a good dad. All these events had shifts. For a few hours he would clock in and look like a dutiful father. He clocked out the rest of the time.
And now that I’m an adult, I understand. I know why my father was he way he was. He probably never wanted children. Sure things were great when we were young but it fell apart as we got older. His glory days were when he sailed on a ship. He often spoke fondly of those times to anyone who would listen. But never about his children. I know that he loved us, but he didn’t love being a father. His feelings were taboo, he was a regretful parent.
And you know what? I forgive him. He came from India, a place where family is everything, even if you don’t want it to be. I don’t fault him for wanting to follow his dreams and clinging to them when they were ripped away. He did a lot of abusive things due to his addiction to alcohol. I don’t fault him for any of these things… He was only human too.
This year, today, he would have been 64.
If there was a bad habit he taught me, it was that my personal life and troubles, are my own. At his funeral, the community only had shining words for him. They didn’t know what he was like. I still struggle to reach out for help when I need it.
But if there was a good habit he taught me, it’s that you never should stop learning.
And if there was something I promised to him after he died, it was that I would try and sing more. He caught me singing once and commented that he didn’t hear me sing often. I only sang when I was happy… Something else I needed to work on.
So dad, wherever you are, know that I forgive you. I know that your life wasn’t what you wanted it to be and I know that you gave up a lot. How you dealt with it was terrible for everyone involved but in the end I forgive you. Because we’re all human, and we’re all trying our best.
Know that not all parents deserve forgiveness. Some of them are worse than others, and some don’t deserve any sympathy. My father doesn’t fall into that category but if you do have a parent who does… Know that you have the power to be better than them. Don’t follow in their footsteps. You deserve better than that.