My father passed on about three years ago. He would have been 92 today. I missed him a great deal most of my life, and still do. And I learned a lot about hurt and healing from my relationship with him.
My father had a business that failed and a relationship with a woman in another state. When things got tough, he left. I was 12 years old at the time, and understandably impacted. Of course, at the time, and for some time after, I had little understanding of any of this. But I was hurt and angry. I did not see him for five more years. After that, we had a tenuous relationship. After weeks of no communication, one of us would finally call the other. But it was not until I spent a few years in my brother’s business, which also involved my dad that the healing began. By then, it had been fourteen years since he left.
Many years later, I had more of his story. My father was born Abe Esterson in Poland. Soon after that, my grandfather left, first spending some time in France, then coming to the United States in 1923. In 1930, he brought my father and my grandmother over. My dad didn’t have the best model of parenting. By the time I was born, his name had become Allen Terson. Although he was very much an American, he never did become a citizen.
In the late 1970s, he did ask for forgiveness, and while I verbally granted it, I was unable to internalize it. I was still floundering in the area of all relationships, and had a lot of growing up to do. I was afraid of talking things out. I had a vision of standing at his grave someday trying to tell him how I felt. But things happen when they are supposed to, and when my mother passed away in 2000, I had the moment I had longed for with my father. I was able to comfort him for the remorse that he felt, and offer him the forgiveness that I genuinely had in my heart. We had both come a long way.
I like to think that we both grew more than a little over the years.
And I sure wish he was still around so that I could call him today.