My Father’s Example

This is a difficult blog to write. I never want to hurt anyone and I try to always see my part, my responsibility in situations. So with a very sad and heavy heart I write this, my truth.

I am grieving. I am trying so hard to make sense of how a relationship that I devoted my attention and dedication to working to “get right” can come to an end. I am looking from every angle, and I DO see where I could have done things differently, been better than I was, found more of me, honored more of me, held My Ex to a higher standard, for me. But why didn’t I?

My 13 year old daughter has been affected by this loss as well. She found a book of poems by Rupi Kaur called Milk and Honey. They spoke to her, not necessarily specifically related to this situation, but assisted her with her process, and she shared with me this poem.

 

Every time you

Tell your daughter

You yell at her

Out of love

You teach her to confuse

Anger with kindness

Which seems like a good idea

Til she grows up to

Trust men who hurt her

Cause they look so much

Like you

 

-to fathers with daughters   by Rupi Kaur

 

As I was lying in bed tonight, feeling sadness and grief, I began to think of this poem and my father and what did he teach me about how I should be treated.

Before I go on it is important for me to say I love my father dearly. I still see him at times through my younger eyes, him as a volunteer firefighter and him as a hero. I see him as smart, and capable as he provided for our family through many resources like a garden, making maple syrup, hunting, building, steady job and much more. I really respect the man he was. Sadly I don’t know much about the man he is today because I have chosen to be less invested for my own reasons.

As much as I have always admired him, I have also come to see he wasn’t able to be the father that I needed to feel nurtured, loved, valued, or important.

I am reading that poem and wondering if I haven’t carried out its exact meaning? Did I carry out the teachings I learned to my current situations? Have the men I’ve loved, did My Ex, “look” like my father?

I remember vividly sitting in the TV room with my father as a child watching a movie and he, at the end was moved to tears. This had a powerful impact on me. This man who seemed to have a difficult time being vulnerable, connected, could now feel deeply.

Fast forward to my life now. My Ex would share music, stories of sport figures, (30 for 30’s galore, that’s an ESPN documentary show for those who don’t know), news from his home in Ireland, his history and all would touch him deeply and move him many times to tears. His heart is true and pure and I would in turn be moved by his passion.

One of the reasons he left, the main reason he left, is his confusion about passion, or the lack there of in our relationship from his perspective. Love and companionship overflowed, passion remained dormant for him.

So I ask, have I created in my present what existed in my past? Did my father “teach” me to accept what is in my present? Seeing a passionate display but not the ability to connect passionately seems to be the common thread.

I often joined my father gathering sap to later turn to syrup. Stood beside him in the garden, picking the vegetables that had grown. I would ride into work with him so I could be with him, near him. I wanted to have a relationship with him and be close to him and I understood it needed to be on his terms. He didn’t participate in what interested me. I joined him.

I loved being with my Ex. It made me very happy to help at his work, go to the pub to watch sports, head to the driving range and attempt golf, ultimately be with him. I truly enjoyed him, his friendship and the companionship. I believe he wanted me there with him as well.

But as I stated earlier I have looked at what I could have done differently in this relationship so a different result could have occurred. Did I have a life of my own? I did ask My Ex to join me for a movie or other activity and he would often opt out. Was I just creating the same experience that I had learned with my father? Did my father teach me how to have a man treat me? Did I learn I needed to join a partner and not hold them to the same standard?

And please, don’t hear this as blame. My life. My choices. Still I am working with the information I have been given. My father was in many ways back then, as I stated, my hero. Today I see him as a man. I understand he has done the best he can with the examples he was given and the information he has gathered in his life. But what did I learn?

In truth, I’m attempting to sort this out. I want to create a different story than the one I have been telling in my life so far in partnering relationships. I believe I have to continue to examine my actions, my thoughts, so I can disconnect from what I have known, to create a new path directed by new information and new behaviors. I know I have to start by asking the questions. I’m not sure I have the clear answers yet or if I do, I’m not yet willing to see. Each day I am surrendering my desire to fix me, so I can be open to new information, new plans of action, to new love, to a new start.

I love my father, so very much. I love My Ex, very much.

I want a different poem. I want a different knowing.

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