In this mornings daily round-up with my friend where we discuss everything under the sun, I told her that after my father had his heart attack this past January, I thought about his father who is now well into his 80’s. My paternal grandfather hasn’t been a factor in my father’s life since he was about 8 years old and although he has seen him sporadically, I’ve only met him twice in my life. He got married, went and had his “real family” and that was the end of that story.
I actually did some light stalking online and found his address. My intent at the time was to write and let him know that despite his neglect, my father and his children had gone on to have successful lives and careers. I started writing the letter and was very serious about letting him know how I felt about him and then it hit me…who cares? He has shown that he isn’t worthy of knowing who and how we are and honestly, I know that he does know…I just wanted him to hear it from me.
When I told my friend what I’d planned, she really put things in perspective for me. Her parents had divorced when she was about 6 years old and her relationship with her father was strained for sometime until she became an adult. She told me she had written her feelings down and put it out into the universe and then burned the letter because she wanted those feelings to be taken away.
However, what she said next really stuck with me. She said, “The neglect they bestowed on their children goes beyond a simple sorry. Its like slavery, you can’t apologize enough…I want a check! Give me my 40 acres and a mule…we deserve reparations not apologies!” After I finished laughing at the thought of reparations from dead beat daddy’s, I realized, jokes aside, she is right.
You can never say enough “I’m sorry’s” to your child for neglecting them. They’ve been robbed of one of the most important relationships in their life and even if a relationship is developed later in life, the most important years are gone…and there isn’t anything anyone can do to change that.
I’m glad I can say the cycle of neglect didn’t continue in my family. My father has and continues to be a father who has always taken care of his children and grandchildren. So while we won’t be seeking reparations from my grandfather for his neglect, we can rejoice in knowing that we are accomplished adults who have discontinued the cycle of neglect and are raising our children in the way our father taught us…and that is priceless.