Awhile back, I was sharing memories of my dad with someone and they said something that deeply bothered me. She said, You just exaggerate your dad’s good qualities. No one is that perfect. You’re romanticizing him now because he’s dead. For fuck’s sake, no one’s perfect!
I’m not sure why that person was so frustrated with me sharing a few of my dad’s most admirable qualities, but this was out of line for so many reasons.
I admire and cherish so many things about my dad, but I’m fully aware that he was not perfect by any means.
He was wonderful in many ways, but he could be a real son of a bitch once in awhile too. He also could be a serious pain in the ass.
I choose not to share many of those stories. Yeah, partly because he’s dead and I prefer to focus and share the good stuff.
But also because I can count on one hand the times my dad was a jerk and I can say with complete honesty that not once did my dad act like a jerk or do something hurtful, or make a grievous mistake without apologizing. He fucked up like anyone does, but unlike narcissists like my mother and my ex, he always admitted when he was wrong, apologized and then always followed through on his apologies by not repeating that error.
Holding grudges and retaining anger are not natural states for me. By nature, I’m eager to forgive. Few people in my life have ever apologized or even admitted their mistakes or hurtful actions. So, in my world, when someone apologizes and deliberately doesn’t repeat the hurt, the wrong is corrected in my heart. I might still remember the hurt or disappointment of it all… and my dad did hurt me a few times in my life…. but I forgave him and I just don’t dwell on people’s mistakes.
God knows I’ve made enough mistakes of my own! And I’ve rarely been graced with true forgiveness…except from my dad.
I learned real forgiveness from my dad; because my dad showed me (and many others) such beautiful amazing grace
I confess, once in awhile, I recall a few hurtful things my dad did in my lifetime, and they still hurt a little, but then I only become immediately grateful that I had someone teach me the grace of true forgiveness and the integrity to honestly admit my mistakes and imperfections, face up to them… learn from them who and what I don’t want to be.
If not for this man as my father, his easy grace and natural integrity, I’d never have known anything but anger, blame, and infinite punishment for my own numerous flaws and imperfections. The narcissists in my life showed me plenty of that nasty, soul demeaning, perfection-demanding impossible shit.
How could I ever choose to be anything but eternally grateful? Even for the few hurtful things he did….?
How could I ever not embrace the beautiful qualities I learned and acquired from those very things?
And why would I ever? How could I be like a narcissist and bitterly spread his few imperfections and mistakes around? Why would I ever take a handful of this man’s imperfections and use them to slander and belittle him like narcissists do?
In my mind, every hurtful thing my dad did to me is truly irrelevant and unimportant. And it was irrelevant even before he died. In my heart, his beauty and grace that came directly from those things outshine any lingering hurt or resentment I could ever feel.
I’ve forgiven him the way he demonstrated forgiveness. Grace and integrity make true forgiveness easy.
I will forever focus on his beautiful qualities. I will forever honor this man’s memory. That’s not exaggerating. That’s not romanticizing?!
The truth of my dad; who was amazing,
and so very easy to forgive.