Updated: May 15, 2018
Dad’s take care of your shit. I recently made a meme stating that. I meme the hell out of Instagram and it's just stuff that comes to me and I have to “shed” or “share” I guess. This thought came to me yesterday as I was giving my oldest daughter Reiki. My daughters love Reiki and I love sharing it with them. To be able to connect with them on physical, emotional and spiritual levels is pretty awesome. I hadn’t given them Reiki in some time and I offered. Their excitement of who goes first always fills my heart and is a gentle reminder from my guides to keep going! The realization of how important contact or touch is to our existence hit me smack in the face. “I never had this, I’m so glad our children have this.”
Anywho….my father. I can obviously only share my experiences, emotions, thoughts, opinions…. I do however hope this dialogue will help someone else “shed” or “share” some-thing from their past or give thought to their future to become the best version of who they want to be.
My parents divorced at the age of 1. My father was an abusive and unfaithful alcoholic during his time with my mother, before and beyond for that matter. My older sister and I did the custody thing on the weekends until I was 6 and we moved to Arizona from Northern New York with my stepfather who is my Dad (follow that?). I met my Dad at age 3, he was 33. My Dad is amazing and I will save him for another post. My sister and I loosely kept in contact with our father and “his side” over the years. Cards on birthdays, holidays, awkward phone calls were common around those times. One day I came home from school my sophomore year in high school at age 15 and my father was parked in front of my house. I hadn’t seen him since moving to Arizona. My mom and dad were home at the time. My mom understandably could have given a shit less if the man laid dying in the driveway. My dad soothed my mom enough to offer my father to come in and have dinner. Needless to say, it was one bizarre night at our house!
I didn’t see my father again until I was 42 years old. Scattered calls throughout the years did little. As funny as it sounds, Internet had come around. Often, I found myself Googling my name, my father’s name in hopes of discovering who “I” was. I’d pick up nuggets here and there but it was always uncomfortable. Was it uncomfortable because all I ever heard about my “fathers side” was unflattering? (to say the least). At age 33, I became a father for the first time of 3 angels that have come to help me along my journey. The questions remained and seemed more pronounced. “Who are you?” “What is your father like?” “Are you like him?” “Does he care?” “Why doesn’t he care?” “What does he feel like?” “What does he look like?” “Do you have the same interests?” The questions swirled in my heart and mind for years like a dust devil in the desert. Ironically, the more angels that came my way (our daughters) the farther I was getting from my-self, me, my wife, my children, my co-workers, friends…
While doing yard work one September after-noon and with my mind once again diving into my soul, I stopped, set down the blower and texted my half brother Anthony, “I want to come up see you and the old f*cker.” Facebook had connected us a few years earlier. Anthony has an organic dairy farm in Norther New York with his wife Jennifer. “That would be great, I’m crying like a baby, I don’t even know why,” he said. I too was as well. I told my wife I feel like I just have to go up there and see the old man before I may never have the opportunity. I asked my wife what she thought and if she felt it would have been a good thing for me to go. I think she had seen glimpses of the pain of the past and felt it would be of benefit for everyone and supported the trip. Thank you Julie.
The night before I had left, we as a family were all in the living room. I felt something coming on so I walked into our bedroom and laid down on the bed. It felt like my heart was literally being pulled from my chest to the ceiling. I was in tears and I didn’t know why and thinking back, I still don’t know why. The next morning before I left for the airport my wife asked me what I was thinking. “I’m scared shit-less but it’ll be ok.”
I had wanted to surprise the “old f*cker” but word spread up there and he came to the airport with my brother. I exited the terminal in Syracuse and saw Anthony. I gave him a hug (he’s a giant, I’m a midget) and it was like we hadn’t been apart for 37 years. “He went in looking for you!” I doubled back into the terminal and there he was. Hard to describe in words that moment. There were no tears, maybe just mostly relief, we gave a quick hug and headed out. So, here were the three of us riding the country roads of Northern New York, kind of getting caught up, telling stories, laughing and just being together. In a weird way, the car ride back to my brother’s house was enough for whatever purpose of my mission was to go “see” my father. For the first time in my life, I saw dis-ease. It may be hard to again describe in words. I felt his pain, his protection, the WALL. I felt his ENERGY and read IT. It quickly made sense to me why he was who HE was and I was who I was and have become (you follow that?). Most importantly, I felt my father’s LOVE. The LOVE I questioned, the dust devils that blew through my soul over and over, for years. My father loves me. My father loves my sister. My father loves my mom. My father never loved him-SELF. Despite witnessing the abuse that his own mother endured at the hands of his own father, he did the same. My father is a broken man, my father needs love.
I didn’t see too much of my father on that trip. I saw enough. Whatever that IS. He had us over for “sauce.” I shared one beer with my father. He had the table nicely set, his home tidy and he was nicely groomed. It was surreal, comfortable and amazing all wrapped into one.
I got to visit all five of my aunts and uncles on my father’s side during the 3 days including cousins and family friends. The love they gave me I will never forget. I hadn’t wanted to make a big deal about the trip up there. I just wanted to help on the farm, get to know Anthony better and have a few beers. My brother Anthony made that happen, forever in debt. Thank you too Jennifer.
I connected with my little sister Annie. Wow! I have a little sis! She’s amazing and deserved far more love than our father could not give her. I believe in her and she knows that. She’s on her way. Always here Annie. Nick, my half brother Nick. He deserved far more love than our father could not give him. He had a limited amount of time to make a trip to see me, he did. Can’t wait to see you again. I love you Nick, always here.
I came home and greeted my wife in the kitchen. Cell service was spotty up there and we hadn’t kept in touch regarding how the trip was going, emotions, etc.…. She had a look of not knowing what to expect as I walked in. I just hugged her and cried, “it wasn’t what I wanted it to be…” I couldn’t explain it at the time. I was correct, IT wasn’t what I wanted it to be, it just was. Truth is, IT was what IT needed to BE.
I’ve only talked by phone a few times with my father since. Several months after that trip I told him that I forgave him for whatever pain, hurt, things, stuff, any and all that our paths brought. He was in a bit of shell-shock but I understood IT. I also understood what forgiveness IS. Forgiveness is keeping the door open, not closing it. Thinking back to that conversation, that was the best one we ever had as a father and son.
Dis-ease. Alcoholism. Was I an alcoholic and not even aware? I was good at drinking and enjoyed it too. Beers always tasted best on a Friday afternoon (any afternoon really) or while watching the game or getting shit-canned at a tailgate. Pool-time while the kiddies swim, “cocktail!” Seeing and feeling the impact alcohol has had on loved ones was a heart opener. That shit ravages lives and yet we celebrate it or use it to celebrate. Celebrate what? I had my last drink about 5 months after that trip in March 2017 (I don’t recall the exact date). Beers in the fridge remained and Tito’s in the pantry sits. My wife will have a beer or glass of wine, it’s fine. I enjoying going to bars and happy hours (as rare as they are!). I have some soul contract that I can NOT drink and I love it. It tastes so good when it hits your lips, THAT’S IT! (what IT became for ME). Please understand that if YOU consume alcohol and it serves YOU, AWESOME! I (me) just can’t do it and it’s okay. The more I learned about it and what it means to me, the “choice” is easy. I could no longer serve some-THING that wasn’t serving ME.
That trip changed my life forever. It had felt like a huge void had been filled. All of these dots of my past connected, my life made sense for the first time in my 42 years. I learned you have to get to the source of something to truly realize what IT is and what IT means to YOU. That is understanding, with understanding there is no room for judgment. Doubt will cast itself upon you over and over in ways you don’t even realize. A side effect of our “society” is that we are never good enough. Most importantly, I learned how to love and feel love again. It feels good, real fucking good. I had gotten so far away from my-SELF before that trip and it had taken me farther from the ones I love the most. I hadn’t been taking care of my shit. If you feel distant and are doing things that aren’t serving you, keep asking yourself why until the answer finds you, IT WILL.
I am not the greatest Dad, husband, father, friend, Reiki guy, what have you….however, you will get ALL of ME that I can GIVE. I “work” daily to take care of my shit. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, but I’m aware and CARE. This “short blog” got long fast! Thank you for reading and allowing me to “shed” and “share.”
Please never hesitate to message, call, text or whatever. I’d love to help you ”see” and “feel” a lil’ freer. WE are ALL in this together, YOU matter! – LOVE AND PEACE