Sunday, April 07, 2019

When peace is a complicated thing

I'm back! I was gone for 17 days. So many things happened in March. The best were (1) my kids ending the school year with really good grades and (2) my trip to Singapore for Samsung. The worst was my father almost dying.

He's still in the hospital now. The prognosis is not good—he needs surgery but his system is too weak. But if he doesn't get that surgery, he's going to die anyway. So do we have him go through surgery that will most likely kill him (fast death) or let him go home and die a slow death? Tough choice, both ending in certain death. We haven't decided on anything.

But that's not what I'm really agonizing about. While I was out doing errands, I bumped into a friend and she was going in for a hug but I whispered, "I feel like a bubble. If you touch me, I'm going to explode." She hugged me anyway and I cried. I guess she knew that hugs from a friend who understands can hold you together, and the pieces meld together for a while longer. She also knows my relationship with my father so she knew my tears weren't for him but for me and my children.

Our funds are absolutely depleted and dreams and plans for the year are now laid to waste—we are even wondering if we can enroll our kids next month. But I said I was going to be cheerful this year, right? So I'm not allowing myself to worry. What will be will be.

But pray for us, dear friends. Pray for God's abundant provision please. And pray for Vince and me. We're having a difficult time sacrificing our kids' future for someone who never lifted a finger to provide for his.

I know that sounds awful, but if you're the daughter of a man who refused to work and always demanded that his breadwinner wife buy him stuff first, never mind that she got into mountains of debt, and then he stole your inheritance when your poor mother died, you'd know I'm in a pretty tough situation. If you don't know my situation, then that's absolutely wonderful. You can be grateful you had a father who loved you so much, he worked hard to give you a good life because I seriously don't know what that feels like. I envy you.

Regardless of my sad history, we are giving till there's nothing left to give. After all, what I'll lose is just money. I'm not gaining a father since the doctors say he won't have long to live. And when I asked Papa if he'll be a better father and grandfather should he be given another chance at life, he said he won't. Well, at least he's honest.

I did gain one glorious thing: the chance to understand and forgive Papa. During the darkest hours of when we didn't know if Papa was going to make it through the night, I talked with him, asking him why he never provided for his 4 children. Actually, we are 5 kids. We found out we have a half-sister and I'm glad Mama's dead and gone before we knew! I'm happy I have an older sister, even though I feel sad for her because Papa wasn't there for her either and now that she just found him, she'll lose him.

Anyway, Papa told me why he didn't want to provide for his kids and his reason wasn't very good but I accepted it and forgave it because it was valid. It was also so sad because so many of us—Mama most of all—suffered so much. I'll tell you about it one day but under all the layers and excuses Papa gave, his reason was basically cowardice and you know how I feel about cowards.

Nevertheless, I asked Papa for his forgiveness, which he gave, and he acknowledged I wasn't the best daughter because he wasn't the best father. I'm happy we were able to forgive each other and perhaps create a new relationship. It's still a doomed one since it doesn't have a chance to flourish. Time is one factor and his refusal to be a better father is another. But I'm going to try to be a better daughter. Maybe in this situation, the redemption God is offering is to me, not to Papa.

I once saw this photo of a dark hospital hallway leading into the light. It resonates with me. I like to imagine I'm in that hallway now, in the dark, but I have hope of coming into the light. That's my future. That's my children's future. It's hard navigating these tough times but I'm actually not worried or afraid. I may have sorrow, especially for Mama, but I also now finally have peace. I just really wish Papa works on his before the inevitable happens.


  1. I just want to hug you, F. I have a similarly complicated relationship with my dad as well, but that’s another story. You touched my heart and I will pray for you and your kids! (and Vince)

  2. Frances, the things you wrote here must have been very difficult to share. You have a strength in you that I wish I have. Praying for you and your family.

  3. My God Miss F, I am sobbing. Your words. Just so real and raw.

  4. I know the feeling, it was way after my dad passed away that I could even say Happy Fathers Day.


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