I want to thank everyone who's prayed for me over the last few days. What could have been a hard and "low" period for me has ended up actually being a good time of closure and of thankfulness for my life.
I flew down to San Diego yesterday to bury my father. He died and was buried just how he lived, how he liked it- alone.
I wish I could say my dad and I had a complicated history, but we don't. Far from it- it's pretty simple, actually. He was never really interested in being a dad, so he wasn't. End of story.
I used to expend a lot of energy wishing it was different- but over the years learned to make peace with his total absence. Yes, there would be the occasional flare-ups, like when I flew the family down to San Diego last year because I wanted him to meet his grandchildren at least once in his life- and he didn't show up.
But all in all, I've gotten to a place where being a dad has superseded having a dad in my emotional hierarchy- and yesterday was a good time of cementing that and saying good bye.
I flew down early in the morning, got a rental car and after driving by the house I grew up in, drove to my aunt and uncle's. I bundled them in the car and we headed to the funeral home.
This is the same place where I said goodbye to the grandparents who raised me- the same funeral home, the same chapel room, the same wooden stand their coffins sat on.
The difference was, there were people there for both my grandfather and grandmother's funerals. Not so with this one.
Depressing, but not surprising. He cultivated no friendships, didn't seem to have spoken to his neighbors at all- he lived only for himself- his next meal, his next TV show, whatever...
So in the end, he got what he wanted.
To be alone.
After my aunt and uncle paid their respects, I sat with him for awhile, silently saying some things. Mostly just letting go.
I realized as I looked at him in that box that I wasn't angry, I wasn't bitter... I wasn't even sad.
I forgave him. I forgave him and prayed that God would too- that He would have mercy on my dad, even then knowing that my dad wouldn't want or take it if it was offered. That even in the end, he would choose what he always chose- himself. To be alone.
But it was good closure- sitting there I realized my heart was light- not happy, but simply unburdened. Closure.
We drove to the cemetery and re-enacted what we'd just done at the funeral home. The three of us sitting there, saying a few things about my dad- but what is there really to say?
"Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
After all, everyone dies— so the living should take this to heart."
I was exhausted coming home and decided to upgrade out of cattle class to 1st class for the ride home. First time I'd ever done that... but very glad and thankful to have dinner, some space to stretch out and even this:
When I got home, Jack and Jane ran and grabbed me shouting "Daddy, Daddy! We missed you!"
Ahh... to be missed.
My dad won't be.
I hope to keep living and fathering so I will be.