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I Hugged My Dad Today

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If you’ve been following me for a while or read my book, you might have a sense why this is significant.
In fact, I actually can’t remember the last time I did hug him, certainly it was well over 25 years ago. Maybe much, much longer.

Late last year, I found a new depth of peace in my relationship with him. I touched on it here.

In July this year he
gracefully accepted a copy of my book, despite him getting a pretty bad press in it.

We've since had a very open conversation about it and both of us have bettered our understanding of each other's stories, and of each other.

A couple of weeks ago I opened up to him a little more. Difficult not to when you go visit then find yourself unexpectedly broken down in tears on his sofa…

He has shown me, actually reiterated to me, his love for me and all his children, despite none of us having been particularly close to him. My heart opened to him even more that day, I needed to let him in, I needed my Dad’s support, a father supporting his son through a tough time, and he did, in the way that he knows how. His offer of support ripped me wide open. Tears flowed again.

And this is what I had missed for many years. For decades, in fact. I’ve said it before, but I’ve got it deeper now. He thinks the world of his ‘children,’ loves us all, despite us not always choosing to see it or indeed accept it. Love is not always expressed in the ways we want or prefer, but that never means it’s not there.

He has offered me support that has touched me deeply, I well up writing this. I won’t hide that I have found the last couple of months just about the toughest of my life, and I keep going. Through this time I am determined to become the best version of me. My friends and family have been magnificent, and my Dad has too. I didn’t really get that I could lean on him, but oh, he has so wanted me to. I was without him for 10 years, and didn’t get that I could now.

He’s coming up to 83 years old, his twilight years. He has softened, for sure, as have I, and I am incredibly grateful for seeing what I have seen before it's too late. I have seen his heart, his big big heart, and I have shown him mine.

It need not have taken this long if it were not for my own stubbornness, showing up again as I have noticed over the last couple of months.

We are more connected now. I hugged him hello and I hugged him goodbye.

Feeling grateful. Feeling my heart ripped open. Feeling a big mix of emotions, a cloudy cocktail mix of love, regret, appreciation, sadness, joy and sorrow. But yes, most of all, gratitude for finally really seeing my Dad. For finally seeing his heart.

I didn’t know my Dad was there for me for so many years, even though all along he was. And is.

I’ll hug him again soon.