My grandmother died Saturday. We drove to the visitation and funeral yesterday--ten hours or so round-trip with the rain. I hadn't seen most of my family for about fifteen years; I hadn't seen my dad for about four years.
I'm glad I went. I'm glad we went.
One of the greatest gifts Anne has given me is insight into my father. The final gift my grandmother gave me was the ability to forgive him.
I guess they've all mellowed. I guess I have, too. I guess they're no longer enigmas, enormous forces of nature. I guess we're all just people, just grown up people with our own lives and our own ways. And, I guess I'm ready to finally let go of my grudges.
I carried so much bitterness from my childhood, and it clouded my dad and his family. I resented him for so much for so long. I'm glad to have the growing wisdom and understanding that only comes with aging, and that while I've been growing, he hasn't passed away. I'm glad I haven't missed my chance to know him.
I'm glad, too, for the way he put his arm around her when the four of us had our picture taken together--my dad, his wife, Anne, and me.
He wasn't and isn't the person I wanted him to be, the father I wanted him to be. He's just who he is. And, I'm lucky to have people in my life who filled in the gaps his absence made. I'm lucky to have so many people in my life who love me, my father among them.
And I forgive him.