My dad was an army man and a strict disciplinarian. Growing up under him wasn’t easy. And once I was grown up, I couldn’t agree with Dad about a lot of things. Not daring to confront him, I would gripe and gripe behind his back.
Towards the end of the year 2000, I was at a camp for women. At a session, one of the resource persons spoke about how we tend to have unresolved anger against our parents, especially our fathers. She gave us an assignment: “Now everyone go back to your room and write a letter to your father.”
I spent a long time reflecting about my dad and my relationship with him. And with a lot of tears I wrote the following letter:
I’m so sorry that I have been carrying grudges against you in my heart for words you said to me in anger and human weakness. Yes, you often lost control of your temper, like I do with my own children. How mean and unkind of me to remember all those and still seethe over them! Forgive me, Dad. Forgive me, Lord Jesus.
I’m now thankful to you and to God that you gave me birth, that you and Mum were alive to bring me up, that you did so to the best of your ability and knowledge. I thank you for bringing me up to godliness, to ethical living.
I thank you for loving me, though you were never verbally open about it. I thank you for that lovely red Kashmiri coat you bought me when I was seven. It had pictures of owls embroidered along the button lines. Whenever I wore it I could feel your love embracing me.
But somehow, along the way, I grew hard and ungrateful. I even convinced myself that you don’t really love me. I blew up your faults to large proportions and undermined your virtues. I’m so sorry, Dad, and I love you.’
I’m so glad I made my peace with my dad before we re-located to far away Bangalore in 2004. We visited him before leaving. This is how he was:
When we visited him next in the summer of 2006, he had become like this:
Then he passed away just after midnight between 6th and 7th of February, 2007.