Today is my late father's birthday.
I visited his grave yesterday. He has been gone for 8 years.
While I have never lied about my father's lack of parenting skills, or his inability to really unselfishly love his family, I do know that he had a tough upbringing with very little love except from his sister, Auntie Glenda (may she rest in peace). He never felt loved by his mother, which is so really sad and probably not really the truth - feelings are not reality, after all - but he adored his Grandfather Shaw and he adored his sister and for some that kind of love would be enough.
It was not enough for him.
Because of the situation in my family today, we have had discussions about Borderline Personality Disorders and Narcissists. Now, none of us (with the exception of Marla and Natalie) are experts. My degrees are in Rhetoric, Dramatic Art, Business Management and Catechetical Studies. I am not a psychiatrist or a therapist. However, it is clear to me that my father was a damaged man whether due to his combat experiences in WWII or because of his hardscrabble childhood or because there is a simple twist in our Shaw or Logan DNA that makes us predisposed to being jerks (especially when we drink) and that his damage affected both me and my brother.
The damage is there and was not self-inflicted; but what I finally realized is it becomes the responsibility of the damaged ADULT to seize the day (so to speak) and start the healing process. We have to take the time to periodically look at our lives and do an honest and real appraisal. What goods are no longer salable? What are our assets? What are our liabilities? And we have to look at how our behavior has affected people - the good and the bad. And, if you are blessed enough to be a Catholic, you must take the damage you have afflicted on others to Jesus and received His Sacrament of Reconcilliation - go to CONFESSION.
I am grateful for Father Hurd's book on Forgiveness and for the 12 step program that taught me how to STOP the insanity of alcoholism in my life.
I am grateful that I was with my father the last five or six years of his life when he was living in Modesto. I am grateful I was there when he returned to Holy Mother Church after being on the outs for 40 something years. And I am grateful that it was me who found his body and was able to do the final honors - making sure he was buried according to the ancient loving rite of Our Faith.
Happy Birthday, Daddy.....Holy Mother, pray for us who flee to thee.....