This song written by Pat Barrett, lead singer of Housefires, always strikes a chord with me. Anyone who hears it probably thinks of their own father and those might not be good, good memories.
My father died a little over 2 years ago. He wasn’t a bad father. I honestly think he did the best he knew how. His own father abandoned him and my grandmother when my dad was 11. His childhood was less than ideal. So he became a dad first at age 21, had 3 girls and then me.
What did he know about being a father? Or how to raise a son?
As a young man growing up I didn’t see things this way. I wasn’t grateful that my dad stayed with us. It’s not something I considered. I wasn’t thankful that he didn’t abuse me physically. It never crossed my mind that was a possibility. I didn’t appreciate having a stable home to grow up in. I just knew that as a young man I needed more from him. I needed him to say “I love you” or “I’m proud of you”. I needed him to want to spend time with me; teach me how to garden, do woodworking, the things that he enjoyed. But I was always a distraction and nuisance to him when I was around. So, I learned to stay away. And he stayed away.
We lived mutually exclusive of each other. Civil, but lukewarm. But I was bitter.
On January 18, 2016, I spent about 30 minutes telling my dad all of this. The nurse thought he could hear me although he appeared unconscious to me. That probably made it easier I guess. But for half an hour I confessed these thoughts, asked him to forgive me, explained how I could have been a better son. As an adult man I had no excuse to carry on with the same resentment that I held as a boy. At some point you have to take responsibility. I could have owned it and approached him man to man. It was easy to blame him when I was a boy, but when I became a man, I was just as much to blame.
I told him all of this. I forgave him and asked him to forgive me. I told him that I love him and I knew that he loved me. Then after 30 minutes, I said that was all I had to say.
I think he heard me. He took one deep breath and then his final one. It was as if he was waiting on this conversation. I wish it been years earlier.
The song, Good, Good Father reminds me, centers me, refocuses me on the fact that I do have a Good, Good Father who can fill every void that I ever felt. And He has shown me what a blessing my dad was to me.