Not Your Typical Father’s Day Message

pen-and-paper

Dear Father,

Tomorrow is the day we honor all those who serve in the esteemed role of father, so I find it a bit intriguing that I sit here with pen and paper writing to you.  Calling you a father would be a gross overstatement, but I cannot deny you this title, no matter how ill-fitting it may be.

As I write this, I am transported back to a bucolic spring day in 2002, even though I sat behind a desk piled high with files.   The ringing of the phone was no different than countless other times during the day.  The news received wasn’t even so surprising.  Word of your early death was expected by many, given  your overindulgent lifestyle.  However, I was not prepared for the words I heard that day to pull me back into the same black hole your abuse helped push me into many years earlier.  I had always imagined word of your death to feel like a sweet release, an unbinding of long-held chains, needed closure…not to be.

What was I to do with this information?  The last ten years of your life produced only one brief alcohol-induced call from you.  There would be no memorial service to plan, no grave site to visit.

I hung up the phone, humiliation creeping in at thoughts of what my co-workers would think of my callousness, a quick return to work immediately following such tragic news.  Of course, they did not know our family’s dirty little secrets, did they…the pain caused at your hand, the scars that have faded with time but will never disappear.  No one was there to hear you trying to convince a little girl that “stranger things have happened”.  To this day that expression still sends chills down my spine.  

Surprising to me, as Father’s Day nears, I find I want to thank you, for bringing me into this world and for instilling in me the value of hard work, even if it was borne of chasing your elusive acceptance, which never came.  Sadly, I cannot thank you for being the quintessential father figure, as you were absent from this role.

Although the news of your passing did not bring the blessed relief I expected, the ability to come to a place of forgiveness many years later allowed me to rewrite the final chapter of this book.  Wherever you are now, and I wonder that often, I pray you are at peace, as I am.

Your daughter,

LuAnn

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98 thoughts on “Not Your Typical Father’s Day Message

  • I write letters to my mom like this – although she isn’t dead yet, she has deleted me from her life. As Gunta said, the peace comes when I forgive her for being who she is, and who she was as a mother to me. Big hugs to you…

    • Thanks for stopping by Lois and for your comment. I believe the peace does come when you move to forgiveness. I just subscribed to your blog or at least I hope I was successful. I look forward to following your adventures. You are in the part of the country that we love. 🙂

  • Oh, dear Lu, I am at a rest stop in Oregon, but I just want to reach out and hug you. I am so sorry this is still so painful for you. You can pray for your father and I will ask for loving kindness for you every day. Just know you are wrapped in love by everyone who knows you.

    • Actually all is good Joan. I did this because Father’s Day is approaching and I felt it was time for people who have been abused by family members to know that you can rise above, and forgiveness is key to moving on and having a good life. Thanks for your concern and safe travels.

    • It was a great relief to write it but sadly I will never know if he had any regrets. I would rather know that he is at peace because, not having had a relationship with him for so many years, I never knew if he had found this for himself.

    • Thank you Marilyn. We miss the two of you as well and hope to meet up before too long. Please pass along our Father’s Day wish to Stan. Now there is a man who anyone would be proud to call father. Love to you both.

  • Hope it’s a relief that you are able to rewrite the final chapter. I know you’re loved and respected by many. Hugs to you, LuAnn!

  • you are very brave to express everything that keeps your heart, but you’re even braver than you still pray for his peace, it’s a pleasure to meet you through your writing LuAnn

  • I’m sure this was not easy to write & maybe less easier to publish & share.
    Like you – I hope that he is at peace. I’m glad that you were able to continue life from your past & move forward. That’s not always easy to do & sometimes people get stuck in their past & life stays rough. Something in you kept you strong & has kept you going for the better. Stay strong – stay YOU!
    {Hugs}

    • I must admit it was tough to press the publish button, but I believe that the trials we face in life present opportunities for us to grow and to share with others who may be struggling. I believe forgiveness is essential to finding peace in our lives. Thanks so much RoSy for your comment.

  • Ambivalent about Father’s Day, I had no clue what to say. You are an example of how I might do it, maybe not on the blog, but still it might be good to write such a letter. thank you for sharing this most intimate glimpse.

    • First off Sue, I cannot believe I haven’t found your blog before now. Your photography is stunning and your header photo – OMG! You are living in the part of the country we fell in love with and hope to return to soon. I have always kept my past somewhat close to the vest, shame being one of the emotions carried within as a victim of abuse. This blogging community has made me feel safe and I knew there would come a day when I would want to share a little in the hopes of helping someone else. Whatever allows you the freedom to move on is what you should do. I wish you the very best and look forward to following your adventures.

  • It didn’t bring the relief you expected because you are a loving person and you couldn’t be happy about someone else’s death no matter what they did to you and that makes you top of the class in my eyes. You are a fantastic woman LuAnn. I can understand why you wanted the relief, because people like that are … well, I won’t use language like that on other people’s blogs,.

    {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

    • I cannot tell you how touched I am by your words Alastair. I feel so fortunate to have found you wandering around the blogosphere. Although it may not be Father’s Day tomorrow where you live, have a fabulous day. Your children are certainly lucky to have such a wonderful father. 🙂

      • Thank you LuAnn. It is Father’s Day here today. I am grateful to have found you as one of the winners of Penny’s poetry competition.

        Never lose your wonderful outlook on life. It’s one of the qualities that makes you such a wonderful woman. I hope you and your husband have a great father’s day.

  • I am so proud of you. What you have achieved in your life (in spite of)! Your releasing (through your written words) those negative emotions held inside for so very long, takes some of their power away to be so hurtful! There are always shadows from the past, for some, those shadows threaten us with negative memories that we cannot seem to escape from, but you reduce the impact, simply by an open acknowledgement of the pain you’ve endured. A father figure should be someone we look up to. When this is not the case, then by the authority vested in me (your friend) I declare LuAnn to become her own father figure because of your bravery, your love of life, your belief in Self and in the good in humanity (at large), and I for one am honored to be a friend of yours LuAnn! Happy Father’s day dear friend of mine! xxxxxx

    • As I sit here teary-eyed, I’m not certain I have an appropriate response to your comment Penny, as a heartfelt thank you doesn’t seem sufficient. Long ago I wrote a letter to my father, set it afire, and let a lot of negative emotions drift away with the ashes. Forgiveness did not come then, but when it did, life looked completely different. I believe we can choose to be happy and I have done that and I feel blessed to have such a great life. I have a sibling who is still in this rut and probably will be forever and it breaks my heart but there isn’t anything I can do for him until he is ready to move on. For some reason, this Father’s Day a little voice kept telling me to post this letter and, although it was difficult to press the publish button, when I did I felt that perhaps it would help someone else struggling with this issue. My hope is that my words will touch another and they too will choose to move on and have a rich life. I feel honored and blessed to have you as a friend Penny. Thanks for the Father’s Day wish! Love you! 🙂

  • Lu, Although your father on earth wasn’t who/what you needed at the time, I believe your heavenly Father was with you, carrying you in times of need and walking next to you when that was what you needed. Your character was shaped by the things you went through and today you are such an amazing, caring woman…I for one am thankful for you and who you are . You are one very strong, loving person. I am blessed to be able to call you friend. Love to you.

    • Marcia,

      Even though our paths don’t cross as often as they once did, I carry you with me and give thanks for your friendship. I agree wholeheartedly with your comment and feel blessed to have found the ability to forgive, which is so powerful. I believe adversity is put in our paths as an opportunity for growth. Hopefully my words will help someone else who is struggling with this issue. Miss you and love you Marcia. Please pass on my Father’s Day wish to Carl.

  • Your father is the real loser in this relationship. He never got to know the beautiful, caring, lady you have become. We can never go back but can move on with our head held high. You, my dear, have done that in fantastic fashion!

    • Thanks so much Marsha. All is good here and I feel I have grown so much through my experiences. As I have mentioned to other commenters, forgiveness is so healing and I feel so blessed to have found my way there many years ago. I hope my words will touch someone else who may be struggling. I love that you take the time to comment. Perhaps one day we can meet.

    • Thanks for the comment MonaLiza. All is good here but felt a pulling to post this letter. It was a bit scary to hit that publish button though. 🙂

  • LuAnn, I believe you pressed the publish button, because you knew you had all these wonderful people to share your past with. Pressing the publish button was symbolic of sharing your history, which for better or worse, formed who you are today. Also, symbolic of finally releasing this hurtful secret with hopes of helping others.

    You were feeling comfortable with who you are and who your blog family is. Like others, I sent my love and hugs to you – just another blogger/friend who cares.

    Hopefully, you can share a Happy Father’s Day with your father-in-law!

    • You express yourself so beautifully Sheila. I cannot thank you enough for these lovely sentiments. When we began this blog it was not only to keep family and friends informed of our whereabouts but to also find me. I always felt there would come a day when it was time to share a little of my story in the hopes of helping someone else. This wonderful blogger family is such a safe, encouraging environment. And yes, we are planning a little family celebration to honor my father-in-law. Hope this Father’s Day is a special one for you and your family.

  • Good for you! I have been following your blog for a couple of years now and have always enjoyed reading your poetry and hearing about your adventures. However, I have developed a new level of admiration and respect for you with this post. I know that took a lot of courage. Hopefully our paths will cross someday. If so, I owe you a big hug.
    Paul

    • Thank you so much for this comment Paul. The journey has been long and I’ve learned much about myself along the way. Although it was a bit scary to push that publish button, I felt it was time to let others know that a bad childhood does not have to result in struggles for the rest of your life. I hope my words help others. Happy Father’s Day to you!

  • Now this is not what I expected… LuAnn.. I am dumb struck, not something that normally affects this over verbose man, yet I feel the need to apologize for your past… I have had such a great beginning to my Fathers day here at my daughters… a huge chocolate cake, and all the hugs and kisses that I would expect from a loving daughter.. My other daughter too far away to be with us has phoned with loving wishes, and my Son (my Baby all 35 of him) has also phoned… now I can’t imagine anything other than that, and I was not the easiest Father for them all to live with, hard and insistent on good grades at school etc… heavy on respect and always being insistent on knowing their place in life… they all turned out good kids and all doing well in life, highly educated and well off… and I’m proud of this fact, yet they are all now friends more than daughters and son… and our love for each other is mutual… I cannot comprehend the trauma that has affected your relationship with your father yet I feel the need to apologise for him… LuAnn may the rest of your life be Blessed with better things… I will adopt you if you like….

    • I am so touched that you would want to apologize for my past Bulldog. The life you describe with your children is as it should be and I’m sure you are a remarkable father. Life presents different challenges to all of us and it is how we face those challenges that is important. I have been very blessed in my life and am thankful for the family and friends around me, particularly this blogger family. Now as for that adoption, if it means I get to come experience those fabulous creatures up-close and personal that you photograph so beautifully, you’re on! 🙂

      • All my kids share the love of the bush and photography with me… even the Grand Kids… you would be welcomed to join us… we even went out early this morning to the local game reserve and saw the animals… happily my Grandson got the best photos of us all.. but he won’t allow me to post them.. says he’s keeping them for when he’s old enough to blog like Grand Pa… now that brings a tear…

  • I am so glad that you have been able to forgive your father. I thought I had forgiven my mother, and I thought it was for everything, but then something pops up and brings back incidents that I had forgotten about. I guess I need to keep doing a forgiveness meditation for her, everyday, for the rest of my life. Have a great day today with your in-laws.

    • Thanks Joan. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that it wipes the slate clean. You will still have those moments or those days when someone or something pushes a button that takes you back to a darker point in time. Forgiveness allows you to see it for what it is and to more easily move on. Take care.

  • Lu, you are such an amazing person! For the handful of years that I have known you, you have not only been an inspiration but one of those rare people who can continually inspire. Around every bend of your travels and journey’s when you share a little bit more about yourself you expose another layer of what make’s you who you are and those of us who have been fortunate enough to know you are made better for it. So many people who have lived through some of the difficult times you have had and shared just protect themselves by blocking out the world, but instead you have hardened what you need to do be strong without becoming a rock. So in short, you are inspirational pumice….and I love pumice 🙂

    • Thanks so much for such a kind comment. I look back on my YNP days with such fond memories and made so many wonderful friends along the way, people like yourself who have a love of nature and feel so alive. Wish we could get back out there and hopefully will again someday. Inspirational pumice….I love it! Take care Leah. 🙂

  • Well written my friend. I’ve been honored to hear some of your history, but I’m even more honored to call you as a friend. A part of what you are today is the result of where you came from, but the rest is so, so much more. Your strength, your compassion, your inner (and outer) beauty and the way you’ve lived your life is all from YOU. Happy Day to you, my dear…this day belongs to YOU!
    Nina

    • Nina, Your comment means more than I can say. I still vacillate between keeping all of this in the past or sharing parts of me. When we started this RV journey I was looking for adventure but also the time to really get to know me, away from losing myself in my work. I feel it’s time to reach out and hopefully help someone else who may be struggling. We miss you and Paul very much (Polly too), knowing we should be lighthouse hosting together this summer in Bandon. Take care; give our best to Paul; and have a fabulous summer. I will cherish your touching comment.

  • Oh LuAnn, I’m so sorry you had to endure such pain to become the excellent woman you are today. The inner-strength you’ve developed is a testament to the love you’ve created in your life. All the best, Terri

    • Thank you Terri. All is good here and my life challenges pale in comparison to what so many others have had to endure. We each have our own path to walk, as you know, and hopefully we grow from our trials. Thanks you for your touching comment. Hope all is well with you and James.

  • this was a very brave thing to write and I am sure it provides relief to others who have endured what you did–that you can forgive I find more than generous – I am lucky to not share your troubles–if I had, I am not sure I could forgive

  • Luann, you have left me with tears in my eyes…you bared your soul to us…what courage my friend!! Family can be SO tough in so many ways, parents make so many mistakes and we are left with the scars. I admire your strength through all of this…thanks for sharing your story.

    • Thanks for your kind words Laurie. I feel so blessed to have come to this place of forgiveness and hope that my words might help someone else who is struggling. I have to admit to envying those who have great parents. I lost my mom at age 14 and my father was pretty much absent in all the ways a child needs a father. However, I have a great father-in-law and many others cannot say even that.

  • Lu, you certainly have a following of wonderful friends, most of whom you have never met, and it sounds like most of them are like minded: kind, compassionate and appreciative of someone who will share in hopes of helping someone else. She has helped me a lot, folks and I have learned so much from her. I feel she has been a gift, a blessing. I always look forward to the next post from you, Lu. Thank you so much for everything.

    • Thanks so much Joan and you are welcome. The blogging community is all that and more. Perhaps you should consider a blog about your life in Yellowstone.

      • If I could write as eloquently as you, I wouldn’t think twice about it. But I will think once about it. I’ll let you know. I’ll take lots of pictures, just in case. Thanks for the encouragement.

      • When I read so many other blogs and see how eloquently they write, I sometimes wonder why I continue, but we all have our own writing style, and once we find our voice, that’s what we should stick to!

  • Belatedly I wade into the fray with a huge hug or two. This must have been difficult to publish, let alone write but we are all proud of you and your words in your last paragraph are so beautiful. I am not sure what else I can say just that you are a thoroughly amazing person and it is a pleasure to know you.

    • I seem to always be behind in my comments so no worries. You know, there are many amazing people in this blogging community and all their comments touch me, some more deeply than others. This is true of you Ste J…a most sincere thank you and the pleasure is all mine. 🙂

  • I’m rather late reading this, LuAnn, but your post it certainly struck a chord with me, and brought tears to my eyes. I felt much the same when I heard that my maternal grandfather had died. Isn’t it sad that sometimes the people we should be able to look to for love and support, betray that childlike trust we have? It’s not easy to forgive, and after so many years, I can never quite be free of the memories. Hugs to you.

    • I will never be entirely free of the memories either Sylvia and sadly, being a parent/grandparent is something one is free to partake of even if some should not be allowed this privilege. I would like to think I am stronger for my struggles, not unlike others in this situation.

  • parent(s) that do severe damage to their own children because of selfish addictions truly are lower than the animal kingdom. you shared a difficult part of your life and i believe, in the end, your father will reap the consequences. i also think we do get stronger when we go through painful struggles. thank you. ♥ and ☼sunHUGS!!!!

  • What a difficult post to publish LuAnn. If you feel some sort of release and forgiveness that is so good . Family secrets are not good for the soul.
    Lots of lovely support for you here from your blogging friends . I’m only just getting to know you a little … and will be back time and time again .

  • Thank you for trusting your readers enough to share this LuAnn. There are so many of us with broken parental relationships, myself included.
    I hope you were able to experience some additional peace after this went to post.

    • Actually Tamara I came to forgiveness several years ago and I felt the need to post this in the hopes of helping someone else. Some time ago I wrote a poem that I posted entitled “Did You Know” about my father and I was surprised to receive comments from others who were struggling, that I had touched. It is all about making connections and being of service to others in this life I believe. Hope you and Mike are enjoying your summer.

  • What can I say Luann, but I am sorry. And that I wish I was close enough to hug you. Hope this is the final step towards your healing. Love and warm hugs 🙂

    • Thanks so much for this comment Madhu. I found forgiveness for my father several years ago and felt it was time to post this in the hopes of helping someone else who may be struggling. Hope all is well with you and your family. 🙂

  • So sorry late here LuAnn… When I read this post it touched me so, and I wanted to come back to it when I could compose a thoughtful comment for you. I can only say that I am so sorry for the pain the little LuAnn must have endured in this relationship with father…. but I know that you have also healed because of the wonderful soul I have gotten to know in this short time here. Our childhood wounds open us up in such a vulnerable way – but they also make us more sensitive and feeling people in the long-run. Once the heart is “broken open” there becomes space for that much more love and joy to enter. I can tell you have allowed this in your own life. Sending you hugs and tons of Love Always, Robyn

    • Robyn, this is exactly how I feel, though never could say it quite as eloquently as you. My heart is saddened that I have a brother and sister who have chosen to close themselves off instead. Unfortunately, nothing I can say will change this for them. They must come to this place in their own time and space, or not. Thank you always for your touching, thoughtful words. I hope you are having a lovely weekend. 🙂

  • Nice reading about you

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Be in touch. Browse through the category sections, I feel you may find something of your interest.

  • Gives me chills to read such deep, strong, very personal post from you. I really felt like knowing you so much from before, but this is deep honesty and open-ness. This is got to be hard to release. Sad, but very touching and “human”.

    • I so appreciate your comment Rommel. I felt there would be a point in my life when I wanted to open up a little about me. There are so many people struggling in the world and I hope that by doing this I can help someone else in some small way. Although my childhood was rather messy, I believe I am stronger for having gone through these experiences. I feel very blessed. 🙂

      • Exactly, Lu. That’s what I always think of you when I’m down, the things I have, and fortunate, grateful and thankful for. I always remind myself of that despite crisis an problems.

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