It’s said that to understand life, you must look at it backwards but it must be lived forward.
And sometimes I almost get it, Pa, why our carefully ordered lives had to be turned inside out for us to be where we are now.
I remember always being fearful, never feeling I would be worthy of anything but your criticism.
When did it all change, Pa? When you fell in love with another woman and Ma demanded, with me as a witness, a divorce? I know you didn’t want me to see all that, Pa.
But I don’t blame you. All those years of tension, of fights, of incompatibility. At the back of my mind, I always wondered why you stayed. Why you held on in spite of everything and how all that pent-up resentment you both held poisoned everything around you.
I remember coming home the first time after you’d gone. And it was the first time I’d ever felt peace, Pa. No more yelling, no more fear, no more secret hurts nursed in silence.
It’s strange that as a grown woman, I am secure in the knowledge that you love me. That despite the vestiges of guilt (perhaps you wonder if I took Prince’s I Would Die 4 U as gospel when you played it all the time when i was little), you’re more open with me than when I was little.
I know you fear for me sometimes. And you feel like you’ve failed somehow in keeping me on the path we both thought we’d walk until the day I die.
Just look up, Pa. We’re both here, under the same sky, walking on the same earth, breathing in the same air. And despite what anyone else will say, we pay homage to the same God.
When I chose Him, I thought I’d lost you. I was so afraid and so angry that I should have to choose.
You walked away, though everyone would accuse you of abandoning us. And in the end, we never lost each other. And I took that same leap of faith by walking into another pair of arms.
And by choosing them, I got you back.
I still fear too much, worry too much, stress when I don’t need to, hide when I should be happy in the sun.
But I hope you know, Pa, that nothing you’ve ever bought me comes close to the gift of realising that you love me, despite my choices. "No matter what", you said.
And I love you too.