Life takes a lot of funny turns. I have mentioned in previous posts that I have gone through a lot of changes. One of the largest changes in my life was the sudden move from the south back to my former home in the west where my family is. What I don’t mention is the reason why. Of course, I am a private person in some aspects, as this is a writing blog, not a journal and I don’t exactly like to expand on every piece of my life for strangers (and friends alike!) to read. But one of the things that have been a large influence in both my writing and my current life has been this move.
The real reason behind this move was the sudden death of my wonderful grandmother, my father’s mom. While there were, of course, other reasons and factors to why we decided to move, her sudden death is what spurned on the conversation between myself and Jei about moving somewhere closer to my family. I had, until that point, put out of my mind the need or desire of any of my family and their possible desire to have me live nearby. My history is long and my reasons are a laundry list but to sum up, I had made some pretty bad mistakes as a youth and the rift that had been made seemed to linger for many years between us all.
A couple of years before the funeral of my grandmother and the following death of my grandfather, I had been given a bit of hope by the relationships that had begun to mend between myself and my parents. The one that I’d like to talk about today is the friendship I found myself beginning to build with my father. Our past had not always been the best and we both made some large mistakes that led to the cracked relationship we once had. It was not from a lack of loving one another, but because of certain actions on both sides, we had decided to stay on each side of some perceived line in the sand.
It wasn’t until we both took a turn in our life that we started to go from the occasional and obligatory phone calls or visits to speaking nearly every week. We would laugh and talk about the most random things and found ourselves going from father and daughter to friends. I began to appreciate my father as a human being with hopes and dreams, flaws and struggles instead of just a parent figure. I was utterly grateful for this change in our relationship and did my best to keep up with his life just as he did mine.
When the phone call came that his mother was very ill and most likely not going to live through her most recent bout of illness I found my heart breaking not just for the loss of my grandmother but also for the hurt and pain that I could hear in my father’s voice when he called me with this news. I knew that despite everything that had transpired I needed to put my own selfishness aside and help in any way I could. I wrote my dedication, spoke at the funeral and did my best to be there for him as he grieved the loss of his own parent.
Unfortunately, the tragedy did not stop there as his father followed not long after, wanting to go home to his wife. Both deaths and the desire to start a family of our own spurned the discussion of moving west to grow into more than just a seed of an idea. Instead, we packed, made arrangements and made our way back to my former home.
We have lived here now since June and I am still incredibly grateful for the relationship and friendship I have with my father. He is a loving man who can always make you laugh. We sit and talk whenever we can and have a new found appreciation for one another. While the relationship has transformed yet again, I believe that it has done so for the better. We can now laugh, spend time together and celebrate things like his upcoming birthday side by side.
So happy birthday, Dad. I am so grateful for everything that we have gone through together. For the friendship we now have and for the love you have shown me. Even if you DO embarrass me when you start singing happy birthday to a random stranger in front of a whole restaurant! I still love you and am glad we could both be here for you this year.