Memories of Dad

  My father died in 2005 on my birthday. My memories of him are in conflict so often, on one side I love him because he was my father, and yet on the opposite side there were many times when his influence in my life created pain or disturbing memories.

Now that He is gone I remain conflicted because I want to protect him and leave a legacy to my family and children of all that was good in him while at the same time not doing a dis-service to the truth of what was. In many ways I have an incredible empathy for my Dad, he grew up in home where his father did not show love, because of this he struggled his entire life with how to show love. He and my Mother separated when I was ten years old. I remember my parents sitting my brother and I down to explain how Dad wasn’t going to live there anymore and I ran to my room crying, my brother went outside to play. Both of us wounded in ways that took a very long time to recognize.

For a number of years he would come to see us on Saturday’s always with a plan to take us out somewhere, usually to a Drive-in or to Friendly’s for a meal or ice cream.  It wasn’t until many years later I realized that if he didn’t have the money to do something with us then he would say he couldn’t see us for some reason or another. When this realization came to me I would try to plan times for us to just hang out together, fervently telling him that we didn’t have to do anything, that I would just be happy to hang out together and talk. He often would agree until the set time for our meeting and then he would call last-minute and say something came up.

Dad had Diabetes and the years of alcohol abuse finally caught up to him. In the year before his death we finally had some time to talk as his ability to get around on his own was greatly diminished so I had a captive audience. We talked about the years gone by and I realized this man, my father, had many regrets. His greatest gift to me came just a short time before he died, He said, son I am so proud of you… proud of you as a husband and a father, you have turned out to be fine man and one that any father would be proud to call his own.

Those few words had such  power in them… looking now I can see that this is something every child wants. Father’s it is so important to pass a blessing on to your children to hand over the baton that says you are flesh of my flesh and you are going to do well, to let your children know that no matter what differences there are between you, you will never be ashamed to call them  son’s/daughter’s.

Thank You Dad,



About JT

I am a happily married man with 6 children and have an autoimmune disease. I hope to share my story and explore others' stories and perhaps together both of our lives will be enhanced.
This entry was posted in introspection, Just Because and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Memories of Dad

  1. It was so nice that you could share this with us… your deep feelings about you and dad and the relationship that you shared (even if it wasn’t idyllic). What a great message to current fathers too that they have such great influence in the lives of their children. 🙂

    • JT says:

      Thanks Joanna, I will admit that this was difficult to write and that there were many things I just couldn’t write. I am glad that the message of how important father’s are to their children came through.

  2. Beautiful Post JT – thanks for sharing! I am slowly bridging that gap with my own father before it is too late – at least we are both taking turns reaching out to each other, since we live miles apart now. Have a Great Day:)

    • JT says:

      Thanks Renee, I am glad to hear that you and your Dad are trying to make connections, I know sometimes it isn’t easy. Hope all is well with you 🙂

  3. Sean Durity says:

    “I am proud of you” – the most important words a Dad can say, I think. I was about 25 or 26 before I heard it from my Dad. I was overwhelmed at the feelings it released in me.

  4. Wonderful post. I suspect this evokes parallel experiences in many of your readers. My father also battled alcoholism, and he and I didn’t really talk or come to a sense of peace until he got an illness that proved fatal. We want a blessing from our fathers, and too often that isn’t what we get.

    In my own case, I let go a lot of disappointment and resentment when I came to a certain passage in one of Carlos Castenada’s last books. Carlos was complaining about his father, as I often did in my own thoughts, when Don Juan spoke:

    “Did he provide for you, as best he could?”
    “Yes,” Carlos admitted.
    “Did he beat you?”
    “Do you think he did the best he knew how to do?”
    “Yes,” said Carlos.
    “Then what was wrong with him?”

    Thanks for the post.

    • JT says:

      I agree with Don Juan’s list… when you can’t answer those questions as he did it becomes a bit more complicated. Thanks for the affirming comment Morgan.

  5. I wonder if there was something about that generation, when it comes to men showing their love for their children? Mine had the same problem. I have managed to do better, but I have always been aware that I am somewhat handicapped in that area,too, due to my upbringing. I have seen my own children carry the torch so much farther. It has taken two generations, but healing seems to have finally come. The movie “Courageous” is such a tremendous show, dealing in this area. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Great article, JT.

    • JT says:

      Yes I have seen “Courageous” To be honest I find it difficult to watch… the conviction that I need to do better as a Dad is powerful and though I walk by grace that does not excuse me from the powerful example of Christ and where we need to aim as Fathers. Thanks for stopping by Cowboy.

  6. Donald Miller says:

    I can’t say I have many happy memories with my father. He didn’t leave me with much to work with regarding happy memories. I suppose his greatest positive influence on me was that I decided I’d never drink, if that’s what drinking did to you. (Quite the tribute, huh.)

    • JT says:

      Based on what you’ve said here, we could probably share many war stories. I have avoided those stories for many years and i suppose telling them now won’t change anything.

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