Updated: Nov 6, 2018
I have complicated family relationships. I’m sure many can relate. I moved out of my childhood home when I was only 18. It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. As far back as I can remember, I had a strained relationship with my father. He was always moody and unpredictable. I remember as a child how my 4 siblings and I would just stay out of his way as much as possible. I always hated the idea of being a young woman with “Daddy Issues”. I would acknowledge it but would quickly move on. How many of us do this? Well, I’m here to tell you, dealing with these issues is absolutely necessary in developing healthy relationships.
We grew up with a mother who was a very strong woman of faith. As a child, I would watch her pray and read the Bible at the dining room table every morning. She was the one that received most of the verbal, mental and emotional abuse from my father. I used to wonder why she stayed with him. She passed away at the age of 56 from Lymphoma, still married and praying for him. I was only 28 and pregnant with my first baby when she passed. It was hard to muddle through but as with anyone processing grief, muddle through I did.
With the passing of my mother, my father moved to another state and became more reclusive. I always knew there was something more behind the anger and instability as far mental health was concerned. I chose a path of forgiveness (although forgetting is difficult). I found forgiving meant more for me than it did the person being forgiven. When you forgive, you are able to let go of past hurts into the loving hands of a very good God. The peace that comes is something that no one else can give. I discovered the love of a heavenly Father that far surpasses anything an earthly father could give.
Fast-forward 20 years later to today. My father is living his last days in a nursing home far from me. I have visited a few times. Alzheimer's has almost fully taken him. The strangest thing I've discovered is that when he sees his children’s faces, he remembers. I don’t know what the statistics are but this is astounding. He doesn’t remember my husband or children but knows his kids. I love that God has shown me through this painful journey that He, the loving Father that He is, never forgets His children either.