After my previous post, I’m sure many of you have formed your own negative judgement against my dad. I know I made it seem like he’s the protagonist, the evil doer, the hardhearted monster who tormented my mum & I. Yes, in those intoxicated moments, he definitely was. You probably think I absolutely DETEST my dad, wishing him harm and not wanting to see him ever again. Yes, in some moments, I admit, I have felt that way. But, you know what… I do not hate my father. I’ve found it in my heart to forgive him a long time ago. I just hope that he will one day come to his senses and know he was wrong.
I don’t hate him; I cannot hate him.
“How can you not hate him?! I would have disowned him if I were you!” Somebody made this comment to me.
It’s always easier said than done. Am I stupid to forgive him? Am I gullible to continue treating him as my father? You would probably have nodded “yes” to those questions.
Oh make no mistake, my mum absolutely abhors him. And she has every right to, I suppose. If I had a husband like that… God knows what I would feel… I can’t even think about it.
My father realised this too, and I recall the one time he said this to me (in a rare moment of clarity and self-reflection, in a soft trembling voice):
“I was a bad husband … but I was a good father.”
I’m sorry — I need to pause for a moment. *Inhales deeply*
This memory always sparks up mixed emotions within me. I feel an internal tug-o-war of emotions going on whenever I think about my dad, to be honest. I do feel anger towards him for his past actions, but I somehow can’t find it within me to turn that anger into hatred. It’s just not Christian-like of me too. If God could forgive us all for our sins, how can we not forgive others of their wrongdoings too? But at the same time, what good has my father brought us? If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t have a broken family. We wouldn’t have gone through all the trauma.
BUT to be absolutely fair, my dad was somewhat right in saying that. I wouldn’t say he was 100% a good father (he has a tendency to feel over-righteous about himself), but he has tried to be a good father to me, I’ll give him that. To my brothers, maybe not so much, but I was definitely daddy’s little girl.
This was why he almost never abused me verbally or physically — ‘almost’ because there was just one time when he came back (intoxicated, of course) while my mother was out, and he was mad at something so he threw some raw eggs in my direction, but that was it. None of the eggs hit me, but after that I did run out of the house to wait for my mother to come pick me up. I was about 11 years old — my mum & I moved out when I was 9 years old but we did move in and out a couple times in the years following that major incident, an evidence that my mum did try to give him another chance… but to no avail. He would repent a week or so, but would succumb to the lure of alcohol and then to abuse. Anyways, this is for another post (yes, I’ve got a lot of stories to share, so subscribe to my blog for the updates of new posts!).
The day we took our belongings and drove away from my father, I remember staring out at the moving scenery and crying to myself. We were en route to my maternal grandmother’s place because we were going to live there for the time being while my mother find us a place to stay. We had little savings as my mother was only a school teacher, and all our other savings were used by my father.
My mother soon noticed that my tears and she asked why I was crying. I told her what was in my mind – “I miss papa…”
She immediately turned cold, and told me to stop thinking about “that idiot”.
I had in my mind the memory of my dad and I playing cards one afternoon, and we were laughing away. I was probably 8 or so. We were playing a game called “Joker” where each player would get about 10 cards and we would hold them up for each other to pick a card. The goal was to throw out all the same numbered cards in pairs, and to avoid being the last one standing with the Joker card. Something like the Uno card game, but just with a Joker card. I remember that it was this scene which caused me to cry that day in the car.
Growing up, I spent more time with my dad. He would buy me things I wanted – Barbie dolls, doll houses, clothes, food… He used to take me out to the mamak on Saturday mornings for roti canai or thosai or nasi lemak, and he would challenge me on who can eat the most pieces of roti canai (hence why I was a chubby kid…). He would take out my socks after I came home from school. He would help me buy my favourite foods for dinner. I used to run behind him to hide from my mum’s canning when she was mad at me, and he would protect me by telling my mum off.
You see what I mean? He did try to be a good father to me. I remember when I was in university, how he stopped himself from buying some Sports Toto (lottery numbers) to save up the money and give it to me as my pocket money. I know that he has tried to provide for me financially all these while… it was his addiction to alcohol and gambling that hooked him into the downward spiral of events. He used to say, “I can’t help it, drinking is my hobby you know!” in a jokey manner, but I’m sure he meant every word. I believe it’s the alcohol and gambling which caused my family’s brokenness, and money too. Money is indeed the root of all evil.
Now that I’m older, I realise that my father’s meaning of a good father may be slightly thwarted from the actual meaning. He tried to be a good father through monetary means. He tried to show me love mainly through materialistic things. Money is important, yes, and a good father should provide for his family, but there are many other things beyond that which a good father should provide. My heart aches when I think of this, because I want him to know this one day but I just don’t know how or if he’ll ever repent in this manner. Thankfully, my father has stopped all his drinking and smoking in the past 8 years – ever since he was diagnosed with diabetes and a skin condition called psoriasis. He’s better as a person, but still a very tough person to deal with. He’s like a modern day Scrooge … a bitter old man. Lonely. Unable to be at peace with his condition. Mad at the world for who he has become. In denial for what he has done.
I feel sad and sorry for him…
I still meet him on Sunday evenings for dinner, and nowadays he’s looking more and more like a frail old man, with a walking stick, and an emptiness in his eyes. A sense of despair hangs over him. It’s just a really heart-wrenching thing to witness. Which is why I have mixed emotions when it comes to my dad. My father’s medical conditions now are a monetary burden to my brother & I, so I feel as if all this trouble will be gone if he was gone… Then, I feel mad at myself for thinking that. You see why I feel so conflicted with myself at times?? What more, his “high and mighty” lifestyle adds to the burden. He’s been staying in a hotel for the past 6 or so years. Yep, you read right – a hotel. The bill adds up to about the amount which we could use to put towards a nice house’s installment. We tried to get him to consider using the money for a house instead, but in his non-pragmatic mentality, he said no to it cause he wanted the comfort of the hotel where there’s room cleaning service and people around for in case he needs help. Big SIGH.
Sometimes I really wonder how I tolerate my father’s behaviour. I guess I look at my brother, who holds more of the burden of caring for him by sending him to medical check ups/buying his medicine/doing his laundry etc, and I use that as motivation to carry on. Cause if my brother can endure it, then I have no excuse not to. Another reason is love for him. In some weird unexplainable way, I do still feel love for him as my father, cause I know I am still his little girl…
Anyways, that’s enough for today … again, thanks for reading, and as always, I welcome your comments below or via social media!
Oh, and I also want to thank you all who took the time to read my first post and for the heart-felt messages thereafter. It caught on quicker than I expected, which is a super pleasant surprise! Your messages have been very encouraging indeed, especially since I’ve been filled with mixed emotions about airing out my darkest for the public’s eyes… a leap of faith into uncharted waters.
As there are two sides to a coin, so are there two reactions to this blog. I did get a few concerned questions and remarks from some closed ones about how my own family would react to these posts if (or when) they find out, and to be honest… I’m not too sure. My mum would probably give me the silent treatment for a few days, but ahh, I shan’t think about that now. Some commented that it is not very wise of me to write these things as it’s too private information and very revealing. Yes, I am aware of this, but I am doing this for a greater purpose – which I explained in this post I published few months back (I was afraid of launching the blog so I intentionally procrastinated till I found the courage to really kick start it 2 weeks back). I can only focus on the goal, and let God do the rest. No turning back. All in His timing! =)
Have a good week ahead! Happy voting – CHANGE IS POSSIBLE!! I pray for justice to finally be restored upon Malaysia this next election!
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:36-37