The Doctor Will See You Now: A Lesson of Forgiveness

It’s been months since I published my last post. The entire summer to be exact. But I assure you, I’ve had a few darn good reasons why. These last few months have been by far, the most challenging of my life to date. I’m not even sure where to begin.

But I’m breaking my silence today because I’m ready to talk. 


July 3rd, my brother had a battle with depression and was admitted to the hospital. I guess the voices in his head and the demons of our crumbling family got the best of him. The moment I got that heart wrenching, jaw-dropping, and soul-crushing call is something that I wish I could forget, but it’s a scar that I will wear forever. Thankfully his twin found him in time to ensure that he was taken to the hospital. And the events that followed have illustrated the resilience of the little family we have left.

The news traveled from Nevada to Missouri and my dad caught wind of what had happened and before we knew it, was on the next flight to the Southwest. It had been over a year since I had seen him in the flesh and in what felt like a tsunami, I was about to see him in real time. The scene was like something I used to watch on the Lifetime channel — everything felt like tunnel vision as I rushed through the halls of the hospital to see my brother. At the end of the hall stood my father. With his head hung low and shoulders shrunk, he was slowly making his way down the hall wearing his fresh blazer, leather dress shoes and pressed pants. For the past 12 months I had rehearsed the things that I would say to him if I ever had the chance, but in light of the circumstance, the only words I could spit up from my short breaths were,

“Where is my brother?!”

He didn’t even have the courage to respond and instead, sheepishly pointed in the direction of his room. After visiting with my brother for an hour, we wrapped up and I mentally prepared to drive to my mom’s house to fill her in on my visit and the brief exchange with dad. To my surprise, he was still in the lobby. I’m guessing that my brother had really given him a piece of his mind about his fancy threads because he had changed into something more, shall we say, “casual”.

He was standing over the ATM making a withdraw when I approached him and asked him to sit with me for a bite to eat. It was time to talk.

He owed me at least that much. 

I picked a place close to the hospital and of course, we ordered the exact same meal from the menu. It was as if nothing had changed. In my mind, I thought that I would be furious to see him, let alone sit across from him breathing the same air.  I had visualized him as this awful monster who destroyed our world, and in front of me sat a man who couldn’t even look me in the eye. I was surprisingly calm, cool, and collected though. It was like we had reversed roles — I was the parent and he was
the child.

But finally, I had him right where I wanted and you bet I put him against the wall and drilled him with all I had. I was subtle, but believe me, I came in swinging for the fences. I just had to hear his truth. Over the last year, it was so easy for him to hide behind his phone and run from the reality of the mess he had made. But I was a living and breathing reality that he fucked up.

And I didn’t let him forget it.

My brother had already done a great job of not letting him off easy. It was almost like I didn’t need to say anything at all, but I needed my own closure. Other than my mom, I feel like he hurt me the most. He disappeared and completely ignored my existence. All of my life I had idolized him, respected him and honored him. And in that moment, all I had for him was pity. How could he be so foolish and selfish to just walk away from his family? We’d given him everything.

So instead of fury, I had clarity. 

I didn’t have any expectations of how he would explain himself but it was nice to finally hear his side. I was finally free of the chains he had on me. I was no longer angry or bitter, but instead, I had my own peace. So I left it all at the table. Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t pardon him for all of his mistakes, but for my own happiness, I forgave him — not for him, but for me.

So as we made our way back to our cars, I wasn’t sure how to end it. Was this the last time that I would see him? The last time that I would talk to him? As much as I hated him and all that he did to our seemingly “perfect” family, he was still my flesh and blood. He’s my dad. So I chose the high road and gave him a huge hug and as I held onto him, feeling his warmth and his racing heartbeat, I told him that I loved him.

What happened next completely blew me away. I’ve never seen my dad cry the way he did that day. He buried his face in my shoulder and wept. He may be lost, but our bond was still in there. He held me tighter than he ever has and for the first time in what felt like forever, it reminded me that he does love me.

It’s been nearly 5 months since that conversation, and we’ve had quite a few since. We’ve lightly kept in touch, almost as if we were old friends getting to know each other again. It’s been hard, trying to pick up the pieces of our broken relationship and sometimes I wonder if it’s even possible to get to a place like that again. But I’m keeping the faith.

I’m at a place in my life now where I have no tolerance for hate and negativity so I’m trying my best to forgive and come out a stronger woman. One day I’d like to get married and have a dream wedding — and I don’t want to experience that magical day without my dad. So I pray that we are able to rebuild.

 

— Paige

 

 

 

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