I don’t have a lot of memories of my early childhood before the age of 5.
My father left when I was 4, my mother raised us on her own until I was 7 and then we moved in with my grandmother. My mother worked fulltime and so did my grandmother so my brother and I had to grow up pretty quick and learn to do things for ourselves. My mother was as active in our lives as she could be when not working.
My grandmother was the second parent we didn’t have. She wasn’t always a very nice lady but she loved us and cared for us. She took us in to her home and helped raise us. We stayed with her until after high school.
My relationship with my father after he left was a few visits every few years. He was a truck driver and lived out of state. We saw him when he would come into town for a few hours at a truck stop. When he would call to let us know he was going to be in town I would get nervous. I wondered what he might look like now, what would he think of us, and what would we talk about. It was like meeting a stranger each time he came to visit. Each time a semi truck would pass us on the highway I would stare at it driving by wondering if that could be my dad. When years went by in between calls and visits I would wonder if he was thinking about us or whether he had forgotten about us.
The summer before I was to enter the 6th grade my best friend died of an asthma attacked. I was lost unsure how to feel or what to think. At her memorial service I wanted to cry but I wouldn’t let myself. I held back the tears and sat there dazed, feeling numb. My heart still misses her.
When I was in the 7th grade we received a call that forever changed my life. My father had been charged and found guilty by the courts of statutory rape against my stepsister. He was sentenced 6 years in prison. When we got the news my stomach turned, I felt numb, and could hardly breath. My brother started to cry, I wanted to but I had always felt that I had to be the strong one. It wasn’t until later that evening when I was alone in my room; I finally broke down and cried. For days I walked around in a daze not know how to feel or what to think. I had been told so many different things at that time I didn’t know what to believe. I was so confused, unsure of what to feel. Later were told that he was falsely accused but I still didn’t know for sure what was true and what wasn’t.
My dad would call once a month to talk with us. I never knew what to say or how to feel. Our conversations were simple conversations, similar to one you would have with an acquaintance you talked to every know and then. As time went on I turned off my emotions. I didn’t want to feel the pain and confusion I had been feeling.
As I continued through school my grades dropped and I started to become a troublemaker. I didn’t want to care about anyone ever again. I continued to struggle in school and it just got worse. My ninth grade year, a friend of mine committed suicide and then a month later another student also committed suicide.
At this point I thought what was the point to life. As I got into high school I was still going down hill. I started drinking to drown my problems, I hated life, and all I really wanted was out. At one point I had the gun and the bullets. I thought it out and was ready to do it but something told me not to. I just couldn’t do it. I continued to drink at parties and then it became a serious problem when I would sit in my room alone and drink. It wasn’t until my friends and family sat me down and confronted me on it and told me that I had a problem. I was out of control. Of coarse I was in denial at first about it but after time I realized I had to do something. I got away from the alcohol and thanked my friends for their support. It wasn’t easy, many of times I craved a drink and wanted to give in but I didn’t.
My senior year I got kicked out of school for skipping class to many times. At that point I really didn’t care to even be at school and I was so far behind credit wise that I didn’t care. I had been taking to my new stepmother at this time and decided to go see my dad, he was out of prison now. He came up here on a trip and I went on the road with him to his home in another state. The whole time I was with him I had so many questions to ask but I couldn’t get them out. I was there for a few months and then I came back home. I then went and got my GED. I passed it with high scores.
I really never understood what was going on with me until even many years later while in counseling. I was struggling with all these this time from abandonment. I didn’t realize just how much it had affected me through my childhood, but as I look back it became very clear.
The hurt caused me to build walls, making myself numb to feeling. I wouldn’t let myself get real close to anyone out of fear that they would leave me. In high school when I started getting close to friends, I would push them away.
I would suppress the hurt or covered it up other ways. I just existed, not living life as I could be. Not even realizing it, it was driving me into deep depression. The simplest thought or past memory would tear open the scars from the abandonment by my father, bringing back all the pain and anger.
I couldn’t go on like this. The endless hurt, resentment, guilt, and anger was draining the life out of me. I had carried all the bad emotions with me for so long and it nearly destroyed me.
Something had to change and that was I needed to forgive my father and let the scars heal.
Forgiveness did not come easy, even though I had told myself that I had forgiven, emotionally and spiritually I hadn’t. I turned to God for help, to show me how to let go of the past and move on to tomorrow.
I prayed to him,
Dear Heavenly Father, Wonderful Counselor, show me they way to forgiveness. Open my eyes of how to live for today and let go of yesterday. Give me strength and wisdom to see past the hurt and anger that I have carried for so long. Set me free from the guilt and resentment.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen
I felt a sense of comfort come over me. The only person that I was hurting by not completely giving into forgiveness was myself. The wounds wouldn’t heal until I forgave. I surrendered myself to forgiveness and it opened the door for healing.
When hurt by someone you love whether it be a spouse, sibling, mother or father; it still hurts the same and causes wounds that are hard to heal. I feel that since letting go of the anger, it has let me to start healing, slowly but a start.
Letting go of the hurt has allowed me to build a relationship with my father, free of anger and hurt. It has allowed me to trust again, to not be afraid of “What ifs”. It has also let me feel closer to my Heavenly Father, opening the door to a joyous feeling of unconditional love.