To My Two Dads on Father’s Day


Dear Dad & Dad,

This will be my first Father’s Day without either of you — my first fatherless Father’s Day, in the strict, physical sense. This year I did not shop for a card and read all the you-were-always-there-for-me hallmark crap, that sometimes made me cry but mostly drove me insane. I also did not NOT shop for a card, which also sometimes made me cry but mostly drove me insane.

This year I might even go to church on Father’s Day since I will not have to field questions about either of you.

Hey brother, have you called your father? grin. wink.

Although I remember enjoying imagining responses like:

Well, I have called my fathers a lot of things. grin. wink.

Which, in the reality of my mind, sometimes made me cry but mostly just drove me insane.

This year I can simply report that you are both dead. Shutting down any further conversation. That, now that I imagine it, may well make me cry and, in the end, drive me insane. Again.

Then, when people ask me for clarification it sometimes hurts.

Was it your step-dad or your real dad who /abandoned/abused/neglected/ you?

It hurts because both of you are my real dads. And, at the same time, neither of you were.

It hurts because I know the answer to the question is simply, “Yes.” I know I avoided that answer for most of my life because, well, I wanted to be thought normal. When people shared stories about their childhoods, I wanted to join in. Belong. So I never spoke of the time you threw me out of the boat at 3 to teach me to swim. I never spoke of the times mommy was bad and you sent to her room until she could be good. I never shared how much I enjoyed being held by you while you were beating me. I didn’t think anyone would appreciate those stories.

Dads, I sometimes see your reflections in the mirror of my life. In my parenting. In my marriage. In my self. I have hated you for that. And naturally, by extension, I have hated myself. Deeply and passionately.

But now, you are both in a better place. As am I. I want you to know, although you never came to any sporting events, never read any bedtime stories, and never comforted, I am no longer angry. And despite any appearance to the contrary, I no longer hate on you.

Thank you for the good memories and the hugs later in life. Thank you for telling me, “I love you” before you died.

I forgive you, Dad (again). Happy Father’s Day.

I forgive you, Dad (again). Happy Father’s Day.

————————–

My Father’s Day is called Easter by everyone else I know…

6 Responses

  1. For some of us the best thing we can say about our fathers is they gave us life.
    We can at least be thankful for that, if nothing else.

    The gift of forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts of all.

  2. I’m so sorry for the pain of rejection that you have experienced but in the same breath thankful for how God used it to strengthen you in your faith in Him as your Heavenly Father who never leaves, forsakes, nor rejects us. Also thankful for the supernatural strength He gave you to forgive both your Dads. I know how difficult that can be but there is so much liberty in doing so.

    Thanks for sharing such a real and raw account of your heart. Bless you brotha Ric.

  3. After 44 years I finally understand who the real hero’s are … and you are at the top. I love you!

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