Give Thanks For Absent Dads
Last week I wrote a post ‘Give Thanks Friday’ and I want to carry on with that topic. Although I didn’t get many comments on this blog, it started some interesting conversations on LinkedIn. A lot of people believe it’s important to give thanks.
I’m dedicating this post to my dad. And I’m writing it to give thanks for absent dads, alive or dead.
I spent the first 14 years of my life in Jamaica where I was born. My grandma raised us. She was a strict but loving lady. My parents migrated to the UK when I was six years old.
One day my sisters and I were playing in the yard outside our house in Jamaica. Suddenly a visitor turned up. She was my other grandma who lived in the UK . She left Jamaica when I was a baby, so she was a stranger to me.
Her surprise visit changed my destiny. She took me from my cosy familiar surroundings, sisters and grandma. We went to live in Spanish Town, an area I didn’t know anything about. For the second time in my life I was separated from the people I loved. We stayed there for two years. Then one evening she told me that we were moving to the UK.
“Here we go again!” I thought.
To cut a long story short, we came to live in London with my mum and dad. But fate took another surprise turn. Four years later my parents split up. My mum emigrated to Jamaica and my dad moved to Birmingham. Can you see the pattern?
The miles didn’t stop me developing a good relationship with my dad though. We became extremely close. I was able to speak to him on the same level like I would to a girlfriend. My dad had a great sense of humour and lots of wisdom. He gave me a wealth of useful advice when I had relationship problems.
All too soon he became ill with prostate cancer. He was diagnosed in January 2000 and died in March. I lost a man who wasn’t only my best friend, he was also my dear dad. I loved him so much.
Maybe you’ve lost your dad as a result of an illness, accident, suicide or murder. Could be he’s still alive but walked out of your life for whatever reason. Or maybe you’ve never met him and know nothing about him.
Anyway, please join me and give thanks for absent dads. Read on to find out why it’s important to do so.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. “ ~ Melody Beattie
- If it wasn’t for your dad you wouldn’t exist
Your dad gave you something special. He gave you life. Isn’t that enough reason to have lots of gratitude for him? Life is precious and he’s responsible for yours.
So here you are, alive and kicking! Give thanks for your dad. This post is about absent dads, so he’s not in your life. Whatever emotions you’re feeling towards him, pour it out on paper. Appreciate that he played a major part in your existence.
- Every story has two sides. Do you know your dad’s story?
Do you dislike your dad because of what you were told about him? When you only know one side of a story it’s easy to be biased.
I had problematic relationships with my daughters’ dads. My two marriages involved physical and emotional abuse. I could have easily painted a bad picture of them and fed my daughters only the negative sides of their dads. But that wouldn’t be fair. It takes two and I’m not going to say I was blameless.
I told my daughters the truth about their dads and how I reacted. It was up to them to come to their own conclusions. My second daughter didn’t know her dad. He left when she was four months old. It didn’t get any better because their dads tragically died a few years ago. But my daughters still give thanks for their dads.
Be grateful for your dad wherever he may be. If you’re able to communicate with him, find out his side of the story.
- Give thanks for special memories
If your dad died and you knew him, cherish the memories he left. Nothing can take those away from you. One way of keeping his memory alive is by celebrating or acknowledging his birthday every year. Write a nice status on Facebook or keep a diary and write something special about him in it.
Buy flowers and place them on his gravestone if he’s buried locally to you. Once a year organise a family get-together to celebrate his life. It’s a wonderful way of keeping the memories of him alive.
- If you’re carrying unforgiveness forgive him so healing can take place
Unforgiveness contributes to physical illnesses. It breeds anger and hatred. On the other hand, forgiving releases healing of body, soul and spirit.
I knew an elderly lady who had a problem with forgiving people. She held grudges for more than 20 years. Do you know what happened to her? She was always ill. The two major illnesses were heart and kidney problems. She also had swollen legs, mobility issues and regular headaches. She was constantly in and out of hospital. And she lived on pills for her health.
I spoke to her about letting go of the past and forgiving those who hurt her. However, she couldn’t find it in her heart to forgive. She died when she was 82 but suffered. She was an unhappy and bitter person.
The point I’m trying to make is it’s better to have a thankful heart than one full of bitterness and hate. If your dad did anything to hurt or upset you, find a way to forgive and move on. It may not be easy to forget. Nevertheless, the journey of your healing starts with forgiveness. And hard as it is, also giving thanks for your dad whether he’s alive or dead.
- Giving thanks brings peace and opens the door for love to come in
Someone on LinkedIn said giving thanks with a smile takes away internal stress. When stress goes, peace comes in. It’s easier to feel love when you’ve got inner peace. If you can give thanks for your dad it’ll open your heart to love him. Not just him but everyone around you. Thanksgiving, peace and love will set you up for a life of contentment.
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you.” ~ Brian Tracy
I know that this is a sensitive subject I’m writing about. I could easily have hated my dad for leaving me when I was so young. I could blame him for not being there when I was growing up. Or for me having problems relating to men because of the lack of a male role model. But I believe it’s up to me to take responsibility for my life.
He had his reasons for not being around. And I’ve never had a problem loving him. Despite all the upheavals in my life I give thanks for my dad and always will. I hope you can do the same. Life is too short to carry burdens from the past.
Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do you or can you give thanks for your absent dad? Does it make a difference to your life? Please share in the comments section below. Also please share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. 🙂