I analyze everyone, I've always done it, perhaps it's the wanna be psychologist in me, or maybe it's just the world in which I grew up in.
I grew up with a dad that was never wrong, never apologized, and never was the cause of anything that went wrong.
I always had to be ahead of the game, no reaction to anything and a closed mouth.
My dad showed me the road map to disaster, by walking away from a family, marriage, with a lifetime of drinking and affairs....but I still loved him and not a phone call or visit went by that I wasn't told how much he loved me.
My mom was the rock, she sheltered us from my dads behaviors, as we knew she still loved him. My dad would not know an apology if it ran him over, not to me, my siblings and definetly not to my mom.
In his eyes nothing was his fault...not his drinking, not his affairs, not his verbal abuse to my brother...none of it.
After this kind of life I was determined that this cycle would never repeat itself. I was going to be happily married and have amazing children that knew words of encouragement, what a family was supposed to be and that saying "I'm sorry" was necessary.
Only once I became an adult and had my own family with kids did my dad start telling me how proud he was for the family and life I had created. And so he came to become the father that I had so desperately needed growing up....just a little late, but he was there NOW and that's all that mattered to me. And the man that my children grew to know and love as "Papaw Dan" was not the man that I knew growing up.
Over the years my mom and I would get late night, drunken phone calls from my dad with his list of "regrets" and wishes...but never apologies.
So the lingering question always haunted us....what happened throughout all of those years...and what happened was a major case of regret, embarrassment, but most of all the reality that he had been forever in love with my mom and didn't feel he deserved a second chance, so instead of swooning her with his love, he degraded her with hate.
During his six month weekly AA meetings before his heart transplant my sister and I attended each one we could. What gift we were given was the best gift my dad had ever given.....He admitted that in all of those years how wrong he was, how the divorce, and the alcoholism were all his fault. He begged us to please not repeat his patterns, when we are wrong, say "I'm wrong" when we are sorry say "I'm sorry" don't follow the examples he gave us growing up.
Hearing all of this we felt very cheated, cheated that he never said it before, cheated because what we thought was a new beginning was really not...because within six months he was gone. I was mad, mad that he put us through HELL, mad that my mom had worked herself to death to keep our family intact, but in the end I cannot feel sorry or disappointed because in those final months, we got all the "I'm sorrys" "I was wrong" "I made a mistakes" that we ever needed.
These were the best gifts he could have given us. My dad left this world with a loving heart, a peaceful soul, and a guilt free conscience, because in the end.....it was all ok, and so were we and he knew that as he took his last breath.