Probably you won't get this until it happens to you. Or maybe some time after it happens to you. Or maybe not in this lifetime. And yet, I'd like to share with you this heads-up:
One day, your dad will not be around. And you will miss him.
It really doesn't matter if you consider him a good dad, or a bad dad, or how much time you two spent together, or how many memories you can recall of him at a given time, or if you've had any opportunity of talking to him at all.
You are here because you have a dad. He may not be here with you, or he might; nevertheless, you have a dad, and wherever he is, he loves you so much he chose to have you even before incarnating, and the only proof you need of this, is that you are here, getting your own chance at life.
If you have your father with you while reading this, you have no idea how lucky you are. If you are in good terms, you are more than lucky.
As I write this, I think of many of my patients, my teachers in so many ways, who hate their father for their behaviour, as some were abused by him; some have told me they believe they are gay as a result of his mistreatment; some have not been recognized by him at all, as were born outside a legal marriage; some have had only one conversation with him, as that is all he would allow; some didn't even get the chance to meet him; some hate him so much, they have distanced from him entirely as a means to preserve their mental health; and some have memories so painful that they prefer not to talk about him at all.
Risking to sound either exclusionary or dramatic, today I write to each of you, even if you're not my patient. Because my truth includes the truth of all of my patients, because my path is not one of silence, and because I am not afraid to stand by my truth, by my patients' side, or by the side of anybody seeking my assistance and guidance. I'm here to show up, communicate so we can all expand learning from each other, and hold space for those who seek healing.
I know not all fathers are kind, supportive, and understanding. Many are negative, abusive, and violent; and I understand the pain that means, especially when growing up, as a father’s responsiveness to his children and his emotional availability are key characteristics that facilitate his children’s development. Children whose fathers participate in the emotional side of parenting (i.e. offering support and comfort) have higher self-esteem than children whose fathers are less involved –initially, but we can all process and heal from within, according to our self-care, self-healing path.
If you are your father's son, maybe your father thought of his own boyhood while you were growing up and imagined your future experiences. If you are your father's daughter maybe he had a hard time imagining how you would turn out since he had no personal experience with knowing how it feels to be a girl growing up. Whichever the case, he had to figure out how to avoid detachment, leaving all issues to your mom, and pushiness, over-demandingness, and intrusiveness, to allow you to grow up as a separate entity from him and your mom.
And this will depend on how your father was raised. If he grew up in a patriarchal family, maybe his father was forbidding, restraining, or even aggressive. If so, your father may have repeated some of these behaviours with you; or maybe he equated action with aggression, and may remain passive and submissive believing he will be punished for his actions. If you were his boy, you may have resented this or maybe you act like him without wanting to. If you were his girl, maybe you believe that to be the woman you want to be you need to submit to a man.
And so you see, be it a boy or a girl, your father is teaching you something: if you are a boy, maybe you are learning that masculinity is not an unidimensional construct equated with aggressive behaviour; if you are a girl, of any age, maybe you are learning that you do not need to submit to any man against your will to succeed in life.
And at the same time, because we are all teachers of each other, by choosing a heathy response to his actions, you are teaching him the importance of encouraging the development of autonomy and assertion, rather than destructive aggression.
As I was telling a patient the other day, a well-guided anger, like moral outrage, can be useful, as it can drive positive action. But when anger drives us to lose self-control, get too agitated to think clearly, and are obsessed rather than focused, it becomes destructive, leading us away from our goal and inner truth.
Your father may have made many wrong choices in his life, as one can only give that which one has. But even that is teaching you something. You are not your father, you will never be like him, as all of us are unique in the making, but you will learn from him, as much as you allow your-Self to. How you act is your choice, it is always up to you, so don't bother blaming him.
Even if you consider your father a bad father, there are things he will never forget, even if you do: maybe your first steps, maybe those nights when you were sick and he worried something could happen to you, or maybe the sleepless nights he spent caring for you. You may forget the patience he maybe had with you, but he will tolerate your impatience endlessly. You may not tolerate your differences, but he will honour them every time, by doing what he came here to do, even if you don't agree with his actions.
Having our father with us happens in a specific moment in time; for some this may be a gift, while some may consider this a curse. Either way, we can't control or hold onto these moments anymore than what is meant for the expansion of our soul. They are so priceless for our soul, that we cannot buy them, or own them, or change them. If you have him with you right now, seize the opportunity in whichever way is good for you. Having a father is a gift, make the most out of it. Don't leave that call for another day, even if you're upset at him, don't hang-up with him because you are busy or have something else to do, don't put something else as an excuse for not seeing him, let go of the anger and resentment for not receiving what you expected of him and just be present, without judgement, don't put your frustration onto him, even if this is what you feel he did to you. Life is made up of moments, they are all you have with him, and you can choose what to do with them.
You may not understand my words at this time, but your dad is your dad, and he went through a lot in his life besides being your dad, and that made him human, with his good things, and his failings, and he can only give you that which he has in him to give. Nothing more, nothing less. It is up to you to choose what to do with that.
Your dad loves you, in the only way he knows how to. Whatever you believe are his failings, look at him again, look at his story, he too has had to face hardships, he too did the best he thought he could. Even if he's not the type of dad that says things out loud, even if some of his actions are things you don't admire, even condemn, even if you never had the chance to really, deeply, getting to know him... he is your dad, and he will always be, no matter where he is, he lives in your heart.
Your father is much more than the person responsible for your wellbeing when you are a child, he is more than the one who is supposed to feed you, clothe you, and give you a safe place to grow up in. He is one of your first spiritual teachers: what he does and doesn't do, has a higher purpose: helping you develop a specific character and a specific personality, what you need in this lifetime to succeed at what you came to do.
Biologically speaking, he co-created you. Psycho-spiritually speaking, he passed on to you that which your lineage needed to solve and give light to, as a whole, along with a belief system for you to test and reformulate as you see fit, for you and the incoming souls in your lineage. You and your dad belong to a large chain of causation that affects everyone in your lineage and those who surround you. You are together in this, even if you don't see it this way just yet.
Your father is your mentor and guide, beyond what you can probably understand at this point. Spiritually speaking, from an endless, spiral standpoint, he loves you beyond his conscious actions, more than words can explain.
So believe me when I tell you: no matter how right or wrong you believe him to be, one day, you will miss him.
~ Luciana xo.