My Dad/My Guide/My Nightmare

When Dad died I asked Mom if I could deliver his eulogy and she was pleased.  When I walked into the funeral home I went to sit with two of my aunts and two uncles.  One of my mom’s sisters said to me, “Well, finally the old bastard’s dead!”  Sure wish I could see a photo of the look on my face–I don’t have any idea if I showed no reaction or if my face betrayed my thoughts and feelings.

I wonder what the bulldog aunt thought literally minutes later when she heard my eulogy.  That’s been 16 years ago and I still carry a copy of my words of that day.  Don’t be mislead, I wasn’t daddy’s little girl.  I didn’t feel close to him.  I spent most of my childhood being afraid of him.  He was loud, gruff, angry, drunk, suspicious,….and he loved us all desparately.

I began by admitting dad wasn’t an easy man to get along with.  But I wasn’t wanting to focus on the negative.  Rather it was important  to frame in my mind a memory with which I could honor the best of what I did get from him.  And that was a confidence and belief in myself.  He taught me that through words and deeds and it is the most valuable thing I ever learned from him.  That is the story I told that day and I’m sure the bulldog didn’t like hearing it.  But she didn’t grow up with my mom.  Her sister is not the same woman.  I grew up with mom not only telling me all “the dirt” on dad but her telling me repeatedly about how he couldn’t help being like he was because of the brutality he suffered at the hands of his mom and dad.  While it may have been a ploy of a control-freak man to manipulate her, the effect the stories had on me was to cause me to think about how people change and adapt, how they cope and it caused me to look hard past his failures and see what a great gift he gave me.  Him telling me by word and action that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to has served me well in life.  It has saved me more than once.  For that part of his fathering I am grateful and shall not forget and wanted my sisters to remember they were recipients of that same gift.

One Response to “My Dad/My Guide/My Nightmare”

  1. You have such a beautiful soul. I love you.


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