I holistically believe God sends us messages through the light of the sun. This morning, I was dreading the moment I had to open my eyes to another year without my father. I intended to sleep through the morning and wake up at noon. Instead, the sun woke me up at eight am. I rolled over to my left side, opened my eyes, and was greeted by glimmering lights of gold shining through the trees outside my window. The light danced with the gentle movement of the tree branches. It was as if I made eye contact with my father's healing. The healing only possible in God's kingdom. I often wonder what it will be like to meet my father for the first time. I know this seems like a strange idea since he was around the majority of my life, but I imagine meeting the real him, without the pain and suffering.
Similar to many, my father was the first man who taught me about the complexities of love. His battle with addictions molded him into a person we did not recognize. He suffered endlessly and ultimately was rejected by everyone the days before he died, including myself. As a teenager, I did not understand the intricacies of addiction. I was blind to his suffering. All I knew was that I had a father who placed many useless things before his family, and I was angry. He did not choose me. He neglected my needs. He hurt my family, yet when he was healthy, we became the perfect family. He was funny, caring, charismatic, and everyone loved him, including me. He knew what to say when I felt insecure. He believed in every one of my insane dreams and pushed me to achieve them.
His death altered the path of my life. The day he died so much accompanied him. I lost my sense of hope for his future and the possibility of change. My facade shattered into a million pieces, and suddenly I was the little girl again who only wanted to feel the love of her father. Who wanted to hear his voice and have one more chance to tell him of my love. The last time I spoke to my father was a year before he passed. He told me he loved me, and no matter how much I wanted to say it back, my pride would not allow me to. Along with shattered facades and lost hope, an unbearable amount of guilt weighed me down. So much so, that some days I could not move from my bed without feeling physical pain and illness. I struggled so severely that I was authorized by a psychologist to take a medical withdrawal from Penn State. For four years, I struggled to maintain a therapist. I was desperately trying to heal while my vision was still so clouded by the pain and guilt. I was lost. Eventually, in a way to honor my father, I decided to reapply to Pratt Insitute. In my senior year of high school, I applied and was accepted, but decided to go to Penn State instead. My father wanted me to go to Pratt. He wrote checks for my acceptance fees. He wanted me to go, so I did not have the same regrets he did.
Fast forward six years later, I reapplied to Pratt and was accepted. The move to New York City changed my life. The city motivated me to change. I sacrificed toxic behaviors for a dream come true. My time became valuable, and the good qualities of my father greeted me in the most beautiful ways. However, I could still feel hollow aches and quiet desires to relapse back into depression and toxic cycles. I was both happy and sad. My sadness was negatively affecting Nyc, and that was enough for me to defer a dream so that I could completely heal. It took years of therapy, many sacrifices, and breaking my own heart to realize my father's death was not my fault. I could finally stop punishing myself. It took me even longer to forgive both of us.
This season has been one of extraordinary growth and wisdom. I walked into the fire with no faith, and I walked out with enlightenment and strength beyond my years. After so long, I am capable of making it through this day without feeling hollow. I am not ashamed of my father or my past. He was an extraordinary human who fell victim to his vices. His life and death played a role in molding who I am today. Many of his amazing qualities still exist on this planet, and every so often, God shows me his unearthly joy gifted in heaven through the sunlight. I am confident that he is being held by the arms of God, experiencing the peace and wholeness he never obtained in the flesh. One day, when God declares it is my time to pass over, I am excited to meet my father for the first time in all of Christ's glory.
November 21, 2019
In remembrance of my father. He was also an artist. I got it from him!