Fathers and forgiveness

Forgiveness is hard for me. It wasn’t always this way, once upon a time I could forgive people so easily no matter how much they had wronged me that all would be forgiven and forgotten in a matter of hours. However, after being betrayed by people I loved and trusted over and over again, I started to look at it as a type of weakness. I started to hold grudges, I started to cut people off over things that probably weren’t that big of a deal because I had developed such a big problem when it came to trusting others, that when I finally did and I felt my trust had been broken over a small matter; I was done. Over the course of the last year or so, I’ve started to get better.

The break up of my parents marriage was very messy. The events that occurred before, during, and after lead me to cut off all contact with my father for two years. Last year, we reconciled somewhat. This summer, we met again for the first time in nearly three years.

I still haven’t really figured out what it was that made me start speaking to him again. I think I was mostly just done with being angry. Anger and holding grudges is very exhausting, it drains you and it wasn’t worth it anymore. I was harming myself more than I was harming him. I hadn’t, and I still haven’t, forgotten what he’d done but he was my father regardless and I couldn’t get past what had happened and heal whatever damage was done without trying to reconcile with him. I also realized that I didn’t want to be the girl who was estranged from one of her parents for a long period of time only to get a call one day telling me that they had passed away and realizing that it was too late. I know that if something like that were to ever happen, I would never be able to forgive myself. It would be something that would weigh me down for the rest of my life.

My father and I still don’t speak often, he lives back home, he rarely ever calls, and I never, ever call; our relationship is in limbo, and it’s something I know is temporary because something has got to give at some point. But right now, it suits me. And it’s not because I hate him, or even dislike him, it’s because I still haven’t really figured out how I feel about him and how we can fix our relationship.

It’s quite upsetting because growing up, we always had so much in common and were so close. I was closer to my father than I was to my mother. I was an only child for a long time and even when my brother came along he was small, quiet, and resembled my mother’s family too much for his liking. I was the one who looked like a “true Aimour”, who liked getting dirty, playing sports and going to football matches; I was the one who had the same eyes as his mother. I grew up being daddy’s little girl. Even as I got older and our relationship changed because as I hit adolescence I guess he realized I was his daughter and not his son, we were still just as close. We had the same taste in music, in TV and film and I was the only one who was as patriotic as he was, the only one who shared his love and enthusiasm for the Algerian national team.

The comfort I felt when around him for my entire childhood and most of my adolescence has disappeared. The same way my father has disappeared. I think it’s because the way I see him has changed, but the man currently occupying my father’s body is not the same man who raised me. The ease with which we spoke before, the fluidity in conversation, has gone. It feels like there’s a giant elephant in the room that neither of us feels comfortable with addressing. We find comfort in identifying the old, familiar pieces of each other but we’ve changed so much as people that we no longer recognize each other. Most of all, I am scared of him. And it is a shame because I shouldn’t be, but what’s an even bigger shame is that I have reason to be.

I very much want to fix my relationship with my father, but that’s something that’s hard to do when you live on separate continents, when there’s a major lack of communication, and you only see each other for a total of a few hours every year. But I firmly believe that time heals all wounds, and just like I found a way to forgive him, I’m hoping that one day I will stop fearing him and that we will also find a way to repair the broken parts of our relationship.

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