After writing my last post and hounding my dad with questions about what he’d like to do in regards to the relationship with his other children, we decided to just let things be. We both came to the conclusion that it is better for all of us to just keep things as they are.
Then, my dad received a ten page letter in the mail from his oldest daughter. We both became nervous when we saw the thick envelope on his table. He asked me to open it with shaking hands. I took a deep breath and began to read it out loud.
It was a beautifully written letter. She took a lot of time and care to write it. It explained some things that she was feeling, gave some clarity on a few issues, and also threw in a few passive aggressive bits.
She explained feeling abandoned by our father three times in her life. Each one more painful than the last. I can see her point of view. The last time, she explained, was when I moved him to live closer to me. This one is harder to see her point of view. His children (in their late 50’s) were actively punishing him for the hurt and abandonment they felt as children. When this became clear to me, I made arrangements and moved him. It was the best decision I have ever made. The last two years have been hard at times, but they have been the best in getting to understand my dad and having him really understand me. He needed my protection, love, and understanding. He needed an advocate. I know I made the right choice even though it hurt them.
We are now faced with responding to the letter or letting it go. I am conflicted because the ego part of me wants to give a detailed account of all of the terrible things they have done. That part wants to list every nasty thing and include pictures as evidence. I’m glad my loving side is winning out. I know deep in my being that responding like that will only cause more pain for them and us. A dear friend shared the saying with me once, “Do you want to be right or do you want to have peace?”
I really want to have peace for myself, peace for my dad and peace for them. I don’t think I could start a response to them that wouldn’t end in me wanting to be right. So in this case I am choosing not to respond. I am choosing peace.