I promised to continue Part II of my story but I feel more comfortable summing it up in just one post. I met my father again, 18 years after he shot and killed my mother. He didn't look like the same man. He was old and feeble looking; drawn in the face but he still had that gangsta walk. You know, that 70's (I'm too cool for my threads) walk, with the lean. My brother and sister and I used the venue of our church or should I say, God arranged the whole meeting that way. The main pastor and another wonderful pastor, who are normally busy, happened to be free at the same time on this particular day when my sister felt a nudging to call the church.
We sat down with my father and his long time friend whom he brought along for support. It turns out that my father had two heart attacks and a bout of throat cancer in prison but to the disbelief of doctors, it went into remission. I do believe that God spared his life so that he could meet his children again.
It's so sad that he destroyed his life the way he did. But God can pick up broken glass, shattered into a thousand pieces and put it back together as new. He accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior and this was the best thing he could possibly do for himself.
My father said that he longed to see us everyday and he tried on many occasions to get in contact with us. We really didn't want anything to do with him. The truth is, we loved him. What we didn't love was what he did to our mother. Everytime he mentioned our mother, he would hit himself on the head as hard as he could. His actions that led to the death of a beautiful, good-hearted woman, ate him alive in jail. That alone was torture. Not being able to have the freedom of seeing his kids was another torture. Having to take massive amounts of pills for his ailments was another torture. Almost three years after our reunion, my father's cancer returned and he passed away last November (4 days before my mom did).
Before he died, his family members flew in from different locations to see him. We learned that that side of the family never said that they wanted nothing to do with us, as we were told. They were aching to have us in their lives but were discouraged by the same people and were told that we didn't want anything to do with them. Many truths came to light before my father died. My brother, sister and I needed to learn these things. It feels good to know that you are indeed loved.
I feel like I'm 65 and ready for retirement. It's been a crazy, winding road in this first chapter of my life. I look forward to chapter II in a different setting. One void of violence, lies and other vices that tear away at the fabric of goodness. I want to replace these with love, joy, peace and kindness. My father tried to play catch up with my siblings and I, trying to make up for lost time by giving us things. We told him that it's okay. God has taken care of us this whole time. The Bible shows that God takes special care of orphans (and widows). I just didn't realize that even when you grow up, he continues to be there, ever present, as a loving father.
When the phone rang around 5am, I knew what it was about. When I hung it up, I started to pray and immediately, I got the nudge from God that my father was in his presence. "Nudge" is the best way for me to describe it. It was like my spirit and God's spirit communicating in an instant. "Yes, He is here with me!" A smile came across my face. Tears of sadness intermingled with joy came later.
Everything was his favorite color, Blue. My sister wrote the obituary and I wrote a few words to say at his funeral. Of all things, I recalled him hunting for a cabbage patch doll for me when people were rushing stores and fighting for these big-headed dolls. He drove all the way to New Jersey to buy this doll for me and it wasn't my birthday or Christmas, it was Easter! He was like that. My father would go out of his way to make us happy. Of he had a tragic flaw - being prone to Domestic Violence.
Although the pain of missing my mom will never leave me, forgiving my father has taken a load off of my back. Forgiveness is good for you primarily, not the person who wronged you. It's difficult, but its worth it. The End of November has a sad connotation to it but The Beginning of Forgiveness brings joy with it.
Thank you for reading!