We never had the best relationship; in fact that’s putting it mildly. I always felt at times, your intentions were good but the execution somehow marred by unresolved emotions or maybe from your ‘techniques’ came out wrong. Over the years I secretly hoped we could have mended our relationship but on April 24th 2014 that hope died when you took your last breath.
This is my letter to you. It’s been less than a week since your funeral and I’m still flooded with emotions I’m trying to make sense of. In some ways, I blame you for the sometimes contentious nature of our relationship. As ‘hard-headed’ as you were, I always had an open heart and would have forgiven you had you only admitted where you went wrong, in fact, I forgive you without a word from you; I forgave you. Maybe hearing those words from me would have helped us, maybe not, I will never know now. Still; I am disheartened at your passing. It was all over in four days and without warning; I suffered from an emotional whiplash.
You were stern and your militaristic style of parenting clashed with my own unreserved, forthright, sometimes stubborn personality; traits I believe I got from you. Today, I would have told you that I know you were protective and I knew at some point you cared. Yes I do know I needed to be level-headed and I am aware of how important it is to choose a level-headed partner as well but I wasn’t going to remain 10 forever. I would have told you today, that there is no parenting manual and everyone makes mistakes. “No one is exempt from the rule that learning occurs through recognition of error.” ― Alexander Lowen, Bioenergetics.
I resented your aggressive nature and at times foul temper. I felt it was for the most part misplaced and a different approach would have made your point. A foul temper to me, was a window to how little control of your emotions you had. You felt respect was due at all times. I felt it had to be earned and into our conundrum of never-ending contradictions we went. Still, I see you in me; in my argumentative personality, in my stubbornness and in the way I manage my portfolio at work. In fact, although I do not argue politics, I’m sure we could’ve had some lively debates.
I saw your ‘design’ all come together as I sat through the tributes read at your funeral. You would have been pleased with the turnout, all the dignitaries you aligned with were present. This I write with a smile on my face, ‘it is never how much you earn, it is how much you save’. You were spot on with this one. You created your own uniform, a full suite of khaki, neatly ironed, always wearing boots and that, was your work attire. When I was younger I didn’t have much to say about it, but now I would tell you that it spoke to your character. Work is work, treat it as such, leisure is just that, you wear your ‘finest’ then, but no matter your profession, take pride in your appearance. A sound business man you were, you always spoke to being a likeable person and it will open opportunities for you. I always felt you were either going to like me or not but any deviation from whom ‘I truly am’ is lying to myself, ‘you will never please everyone’, another clear contradiction in our personas.
I would tell you today, that though our opinions differed, I recognized what you did. You took risks, you did good, donating time, money and labour, leaving behind buildings, friends and business relationships that will last I’m sure for a lifetime. I would tell you today, that I am proud of the boy that turned into the successful business man. From nothing to something all on his own and I hope to one day be as successful as you were, a Kenny Rogers song will never be the same(smiling).
I held back tears during the funeral, turning away each time someone broke down, but nothing could have helped when I saw the cement complete your grave. I shook in tears, as if all the beauty in the world had come to an end. The sadness I felt I could not explain in words, the only language I knew was that unspoken in my tears. For the relationship we never had, for the way you died, for the words I never said and those I wish you did. I’m told time heals all pain, I hope they’re right. I feel I can choose to remember you for the turbulent relationship we had or for the things that I admired most about you. I choose the latter.
This is my letter to you Father.
He Is Gone – By David Harkins
You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind be empty and
turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
R.I.P. Clifton Curtis Williams (September 11, 1956-April 24, 2014)
May your soul rest in peace