My Voice and My Dad
When I began blogging over three years ago I was terrified. I’d carried family secrets around with me for nearly 70 years. My Dad died in 2010. Over ten years before he died I confronted him about his harsh treatment of me as a child and teenager.
Yet I still had things I needed to say, in writing. Publicly. To him and to anyone else who cared to listen.
Here’s an excerpt from a post I published on 27 January 2015. That was one year after I began blogging, nearly 5 years after Dad died at age 96. I’d begun posting Dear Dad letters from time to time, even though it felt awkward.
I’m surprised at feelings I’ve had since I began writing Dear Dad letters. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m trying to get something from Dad that he can’t give me. I don’t think I am. I definitely feel I’m ‘out there,’ in the driver’s seat without a finished roadmap, uncertain where this will lead.
Most surprising, though, has been a sense of relief. Not because I know what I’m doing, but because I know I need something for myself. Something I can receive only by speaking to him about the very subject he wasn’t always interested in hearing about—me, his first-born child, female. . . .
These Dear Dad letters feel right because I’m my father’s daughter. I’m not asking for anything. I’m not expecting anything from him. Simply put, I need to be present to Dad in a way I’ve never been present to him before.
I’d describe it as barging right in and announcing my presence. Not rudely, but confidently. Interrupting Dad was a big no-no when I was a child. Knock before entering; enter only if permission is granted. Dad is very busy right now in his study. Don’t disturb unless absolutely necessary!
But he’s my Dad! I’m allowed! No explanations needed. No big crisis. No requests to make things better. No great accomplishments or failings to report. And no clear strategy or plan about why I’m here just now, why he’s the one with whom I need to speak, or what I’m going to say next. I just know I need to be here.
This strikes me now as it did then—the language of a mature, responsible adult woman. It didn’t matter then, and it doesn’t matter now what Dad would think of this.
After all, he’s my Dad and I’m entitled to be with him and say things to him at any time. Whether he’s living or not.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 20 June 2017
Image found at skitguys.com
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Relieved