I realized something tonight. It came to me like a note dropped into my mind from the clouds often above my head:
“The worst fear I have ever had to face was my FATHER”.
My father has been dead since 2008. In the end he hated me. For reasons we could have resolved about money but he would not let me. As a child I FEARED him. He would often yell and I was the only child of the 4 he hit. I had to see many mental health care professionals. In high school I got into trouble by drinking and using drugs. I never got busted for the drugs. The alcohol, yes. Hard to hide the messy results of that over indulgence! I recall that a psychologist told my mom that I “hated” my dad. I told mom “NO, I FEARED HIM”. I grew-up terrified of him. In my teen years I rebelled and that rebellion I now believe was a REBELLION AGAINST WHAT I FEARED. Yeah deep stuff but it finally makes more sense to me than anything any psychiatrist could have said. I finally got to a point in my late teens where I resisted his fists falling on me. I rebelled against his yelling at me. I rebelled against him by trying suicide and that I now see was the ultimate rebellion or attempt to escape a fear: Death. Over the years things calmed down between dad and I. We were never close unless we talked about wood – his life’s work. I LOVED my father but I also FEARED him. It was a fear like how some would fear an old testament sort of god. It was AWE and FEAR. When dad died I came to realize that it was as-if a god had died. Such was the power of my father’s personality. Yet only tonight have I realized that of all my fears in life. my father was probably the most primal and deep. His thundering voice and rage.
When he died, some of my fear died.
When he died, a feared god died.
The fear of my father is gone and I try to remember the good he was. The loving side of an old testament god. The joke teller. The loving husband to my mother. The good provider. The hard worker and in his own at times hard to see ways, a good loving man in his own special way.
When we strip the fear away, all that remains are the forgiving of the horrible times and ways and the loving person beneath it all.