November 12, 2021 at 3:30 am Arizona time, I received the call no child wants to get... my father had suddenly died. Wait, what. Definitely wasn't ready for that call.
This purpose work of shedding the light on my childhood trauma involved sharing truth in love over the past 2.5 years. The price of that was that my father and I didn’t talk for a year. I knew that would be the price when I started walking my purpose down. I knew that it would be uncomfortable, but once I did there was no turning back. I also felt free by sharing with him my truth and my perspective of all that happened.
I owned my voice. Over these last 2.5 years, in my book, all of my communications, I've been sure to share truth in love, but truth nonetheless without compromise. I feel like my most vulnerable interview to date was one of Father's Day 2020, so it wasn't like I was walking purpose down emotionless in these streets. Not at all. Thankfully in the middle of last year we reconciled.
Being a woman of faith, I’m most grateful that my prayer of reconciliation was answered. It was like nothing was dropped we were back at it. Business travels had me travel back to my hometown where I saw and spent time with my father a week prior to him passing away. It felt very movie-ish. Like too good to be true.
Prior to me leaving town I made it a point to drive to his home one more time before hitting the rental car place and flying back to Arizona. I'm so glad I did. We not only cracked some more jokes, but he and my husband Facetime'd and cracked jokes also. It was a truly one for the memory books. Had I known this would've been my last time hugging my dad, I definitely would've held on to him a little while longer. My heart is at peace.
From the time of the first picture to the day before my dad died, the communication between us I feel this was the best gift of closure God could have given me. Many have asked and even speculated on what the status of our relationship was prior his passing. Simply put we were good. This isn’t a delusion, it’s fact. A well documented fact.
Over the course of the past two months, I've been managing what my counselor calls, 'complicated grief'. My father and I were reconciled and I have peace in my heart, but walking down the preparations of burying him, actually burying him, post service, has been unique. There were so many personal attacks and triggers. Triggers to undue all the work I've done in over the past decade really. But thankfully, I have the tools.
What's the tools? From prayer, to counseling, to support group, to reading, journaling, tribe, and my amazing husband, I've been pushing through. I'm turning the corner from the heaviest amount of grief. I love my sleep, but insomnia nights replayed so many conversations and took me down a path of memory lane. I shared with a friend the other day, it feels like almost everything reminds me of dad.
Many have inquired:
Will I still share now that he's passed away. Yes.
Isn't that disrespectful to him as deceased? No. I shared truth, while he was alive and I will continue to share truth while he's gone.
But he's not here on this earth anymore, why bring up the past? It's my purpose to activate healing into the youth and adults that grew up in these homes. My father is a small fraction of my story's message. Mighty in impact as the root cause, but my truth highlights the cause and effect. My story includes my father because it highlights:
Cause and effect - The trauma event and environmental impact of domestic violence which is an Adverse Childhood Experience
Systems - Shines the light on religious institutions that do not have practices and policies created to protect survivors and families, while also not holding offenders accountable, and how the misappropriation of the Bible can fuel cases.
Cognitive Dissonance - it's not uncommon for the child to disagree with the offending parent while still loving their offending parent.
in an effort to solution and bring change.
Forgiveness looks different for everyone. I will not tell someone what they should or should not do. I, however, am glad I did the healing work to get to the root of my pain and beef I had with my father. Our relationship through the years had its ebs and flows, heck I even called another man father during our gap years. I was so angry, but when I got healed, healed, there's no other father like mine. I'm glad that through my forgiveness I still held strong boundaries and strong love. My father was a man who was without flaw, but from the seed of him and my mom I was created.
I honored him in life and I'll honor him in the death, but the core of the message I bring is simply this. End Domestic Violence. End Childhood Domestic Violence. My life will continue to serve to be a beacon of peace, hope, and resiliency.
Paraphrase from the late 2pac, 'Ain't a man alive that can take my Daddy place.' Forever a Daddy's Girl.