Dad did the best he could. Now that’s something we say when we know it could have been much better but we are affording some compassion to a situation that downright sucked. When I think of “Dad” I remember him working two jobs. I remember him irritated and angry, short wicked. I remember tip toe-ing around him hoping that he wouldn’t be upset with me. I remember smelling burnt oil and hearing food frying in my sleep when he came home from bar tending and attempted to cook but would fall asleep because he was drunk.
I remember riding home from Virginia Beach late at night from a family vacation and he fell asleep at the wheel and we hit the guard rail and went up onto it. Two parents, 8 children in the car. I remember Christmas Eve, drunk Dad, again, driving us home, in a snowstorm, from his sisters house, me 8 yrs old, praying to God that we would stay on the road and not drive down into the icy waters and waterfall below.
He died when I was 13. Throat cancer. When I say “he did the best he could” this is absolutely what he did. He didn’t have the capacity to love, honor and cherish even himself. Of course we can’t give from an empty vessel. There wasn’t much available to him to offer to others.
He was a silhouette of a Dad. He was handsome, a very hard worker. I can’t even say he was loyal to my mother – older siblings speculate that some straying occurred – I was too young to imagine that but today it feels true.
We all looked fabulous together. Like we were living the dream. We’re very beautiful people. Quite the opposite you see. Just under the surface is a huge mind fuck, lurking. An absent, alcoholic, distant father, over bearing Mommy Dearest, creepy mother and brothers who were sexually molesting me and all of our sisters. But we looked like we had the world by the bawls.
Sure. WE ALL DO THE BEST WE CAN WITH WHAT WE KNOW AT THE MOMENT. Here’s the thing tho…I believe that once we know better, it is our responsibility to follow up on it. Do better, re-evaluate what’s going on in our lives. Want better for yourself. Listen to your higher self….you know, those whispers in the dark of the night.
Listen to your gut. Work on your own demons, the darkness stowed away. It is our responsibility as humans, to our children, our significant other, friends, coworkers, strangers we pass on the street.
People can FEEL the inner work being done. It, unconsciously, gives them the freedom to soften also. To allow another into your heart space, to allow yourself into your own heart space with compassion. If just for a second. Lives change.
Happy Father’s Day Dad. You did the best you could. There was a good, generous heart under all the masks. But your demons too overpowering. I can only imagine the horrors you endured as a child. Your self hate and fear getting the upper hand. The ugly cancer removing you from this lifetime. You comforted your pain the only way you knew. Addictions, anger, disconnect.
I watched, I listened, I learned. How not to be. How to love myself. How to make peace with my demons. Give them the floor and re-parent myself. You wouldn’t recognize me. I am new. Our brown eyes, hair and dimples bonded in time. You did the best you could.