“You hate your father,” he suddenly blurted out. I sat there stunned.
While having lunch with Larry Crab, a well-known counselor and author, I shared some of the deep hurt I had experienced when my father divorced my mother after 24 years of marriage, stripping me of my family.
After crying over those difficult words for the next several hours, I struggled through a sleepless night. Traumatic childhood memories resurfaced and plagued me. I longed to be freed.
Over the next several days, I wrote a letter to my father that I never intended to mail. I tried to list every single hurt, disappointment, and broken promise I could remember. After completing the letter, I crumpled it up and threw it into a blazing fire. As flames consumed it, I inched closer to freedom.
Several years later on one memorable day, my father phoned me. We laughed and chatted. When it came time to say “good-bye,” I struggled for a moment whether or not to say “I love you.”
In my mind, a battle ensued. But I said a quick prayer. Then I added, “Dad, I love you.” He responded, “Yeah, here too.” Four days later while I was cooking dinner, my brother called and simply said, ‘Pamela, Dad died.” I dropped to the floor in anguish. At 33, I had lost my dad.
Years later, I no longer remained the same woman that the author in the restaurant said I was; I had taken great strides towards healing. As I learned to let go of the resentment—whether I ever heard an apology or not—the wounds healed. Love had replaced the former hate.
At my father’s funeral, I shared my last four words to my father: “Dad, I love you.”