What My Father’s Failure Taught Me as a Woman

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“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”

– Steve Maraboli

I grew up with my grandmother in very humble beginnings.  I never knew my father until I was almost 16 years old.  I had no idea what he looked like or if I had other siblings.

As I grew older many times I would wonder about him, what he looked like, whether I had other sisters or brothers.  I was often teased about not having a father, and that affected me greatly while growing up.

When I finally met him, it wasn’t anything close to what I was expecting.  As a matter of fact, I wish I never had. I still have regrets meeting him up to this day, but he taught me a lot shortly thereafter.

He was a very successful man, judging by what I saw and what people considered successful.  He had beautiful homes, a beautiful wife, and extremely good job, and he tried to impress me with all his material wealth.  I honestly thought he was trying to distract me from the large elephant in the room.

I never asked him why he abandoned me and believed he didn’t care.  I saw a man that had failed miserably at the things that mattered most.  Every time I looked at him I felt nothing but sadness for him. Here I was a poor little girl from a very remote village attending to a man whom she didn’t know but wanted to help because he needed my help.

He worked very hard, but I could see that he wasn’t happy.  He would come home most times at midnight and come to my room and, whether I was asleep or not, wake me because he wanted someone to talk to.  He wanted someone to sit with him while he had dinner alone at midnight.  His wife and other children were sound asleep, and he could never dare disturb them.

He often spoke to me about life and the things he regretted most but never once did he mention his regrets for abandoning me.  I resented him for that.  Little did he know how much I suffered when he wasn’t around and how now I was suffering in his presence.  He was becoming dependent on me, and I resented that even more.

I had become his burden bearer.  Even though I hated it and wished I was somewhere else, I listened to him talk about his many failures as a father to his other children, his wife, and himself. I felt such pity for him.  He was a failure in his life even though he had everything life could offer materialistically.

He sometimes asked me about my life growing up with my grandmother.  I wanted to shout, scream and tell him how hurt I was most of my life but thought it would be better not to.  I cried a lot from the pain of abandonment but more so for the pain he was in.

I watched his health deteriorate over time.  He retired from his job and his beautiful home went into disrepair.  I looked at this once strong, proud and powerful man but saw nothing of what he once was.  I started thinking about my life and what I wanted.

Even though I was very young, I made a promise to myself I would be nothing like my father.  There was nothing about him I wanted in life.  I never wanted a husband anything close to him.  I never wanted a life anything like the one he had.  In my eyes he was a complete failure.

I left his house after a long summer break and decided never to return.  I met the man I never wanted to see again, and it was over.  I honestly never thought I missed anything not having him in my life.  I wanted a life that was far away from his as I could have.

I have matured a lot since then.  I have even forgiven him and sometimes wondered what happened to him.  Unfortunately, I never took the time to go back to see him but we do communicate via telephone.

There are many things I learned from that meeting with my father many years ago :

1. Things are never always what they seem

The grass is not always greener on the other side.  Many times you see things, and they appear beautiful but up close they aren’t as good as they appear.  You need to get up close and personal to get any idea of the true state of things.

2. Be careful what you wish for

One must be careful what they hope and wish for.  Sometimes you might get it and end up regretting it. Life sometimes has a way of giving us what we asked for just to prove to us that it was never good for us in the first place.  Even if you are not happy with what you eventually get make an effort to learn from the experience.

3. Karma is a b…………

Life is so very funny.  Be careful of the things you do in life because life has a way of repaying you and sometimes it can be very harsh.

4. Forgive people for their mistakes

Learn to forgive and even though you won’t forget, find something worth learning from the experience.  Remember people are humans and as such do make mistakes.  Think about the mistakes you have made and how you wanted others to forgive you.

5. Leave the past where it belongs

Do not hold on to things that are in the past.  It is not very good if you continue to dwell on the past you will never enjoy the present.  You will not be able to move forward while constantly hanging on to the past.  Use the past as a guide to move forward to become better and stronger.

6. Be mindful

You need to practice mindfulness.  Enjoy where you are today.  Try not to focus too much on the past or the future.  Focusing on the past and the future will get you all worried, anxious and sad.  It will also keep you from enjoying the present.  Take the time to be aware of where you are presently and enjoy it.

7. Be happy

You might not have had the best start in life but do not forget that life is short, and you need to take time out to be happy.  Take the time to enjoy your life you have.  Work on getting to where you want to be but enjoy the journey.

8. Learn from your experiences

There is always a lesson to be learned from all the experiences you have gone through good or bad.  Do not miss what life is showing you.  You might not be able to see it at the time, but there is always a lesson to be learned.

Life is mysterious, unpredictable, kind, unkind and sometimes scary but it all works out in the end.  Be prepared to accept it as it unfolds because only then can you appreciate the awesomeness of life.