Word Count: 503
SEND THE VERY BEST
The TV proclaimed “Father’s Day is just around the corner. When you care to send the very best, send Dad a Hallmark card.” Tears welled up in my eyes and overflowed. Tears of remorse. Remorse for shutting my father out of my life 25 years ago. Now dad was diagnosed with cancer. How much time was left for him?
Memories of my childhood played in my thoughts and danced in my heart. I remember walking hand in hand to the park on warm summer evenings…riding the train to the next town to get an ice cream soda at the corner drugstore…exploring the Museum of Science and Industry on those cold blustery days in Chicago…or just making fudge on a Saturday night with me and my three sisters clamoring to lick the spoon and scrape the pan clean.
How could I have let this happen? I chastised myself. Then I remembered the dark times I experienced as I grew up.
Dad and mom’s divorce was finalized after years of fighting. Our family was in turmoil. Mom and Dad both “dumped” on me. I tried to sort it out but at 15 about all I could do was tell them every thing would be OK. The struggle over visitation got ugly. Sometimes he wouldn’t show up on his scheduled day and other times he appeared when we didn’t expect him. The bottom line was I still had to live with Mom.
By the time I was 20, I developed issues of my own. I decided it would be better not to have anything to do with him rather than deal with the emotional upheaval of having him come and go in my life. As I relived the hurt and unhappiness I felt during those years growing up, tears streamed down my cheeks.
My sister Peggy was the only one in the family that had stayed in touch with dad. She would encourage me to contact him over the years and let me know that he wanted to be in touch. But, I just did not feel the need. Now it’s different. He might die!
I wanted to reach out to him but something stronger held me back. If I give him another chance, I might get close to him again. And he will die at some point. I don’t want to go through the pain of losing him a second time.
I prayed and asked for God’s help. My heart began to soften. I became conscious that I always did love my father. I had buried my feelings to flee from my broken heart for far too long.
I began to think of all the good times we could share if he would forgive me for the hurt I caused him.
I knew at that moment what I had to do. “When you care to send the very best, send Dad a Hallmark card.” I headed out to find that perfect card. Inside I wrote:
“YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO ME!”
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