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copyright Karen UlvestadI was estranged from my father for the past few years. Recently, he died.

I suppose I could bash him as a person, but that’s not what I wish to write. We were estranged because we had an irreconcilable difference of opinion on everything, and we were polar opposites. Yet, we had a couple of strong similarities. We were both un-giving when we stood-up for something we believed, and we were both strong-willed. I couldn’t see this until he died. We were too embroiled in our own “trenches” to see the other side’s view-point.

The other realization I have come to is simply I was born at an inconvenient time for my parents. It’s not that they didn’t love me, just that I forced a change in their lives they may not have been ready to make.

With that said, I want to thank my dad for the lessons he taught me about myself and life.

Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself. Without this, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. By the constant barrage of negative comments, I learned to rise above it, and fight back. I became a survivor, and it’s been a handy tool to use through the years. It’s helped me pick myself up from being homeless to where I am now. It challenged me to finish college, and earn my Bachlor’s degree. It taught me to “buck” the system, and be my own person.

You taught me about rage and violence. I learned that it is very important to break the cycle. I harnessed my rage to use the energy in a positive way to help myself and others. Your example of violence showed me that I never want to inflict that upon another person, especially one that is smaller than myself. Occasionally the rage sneaks out, but I’ve learned to take responsibility for my words and actions. In truth, I’d rather hit my head on the wall, than inflict violence on another person either by word, emotion, or physical action.

Thank you for the couple years of truly being dad-like to me. I’ll never forget the help you offered, and the 3 simple words you spoke to me on occasion during this period. . .”I love you.” It meant a lot, and helped heal some of the old wounds. I wish it could have lasted longer, but you had your path to follow and I had mine. It ended when we came up to the irreconcilable difference of opinion thing. I grieved for the loss of you when we went our separate ways. I grieved for the loss of my siblings. It was a hard and sad time.

Looking back, I see that you were struggling with your own “demons” from your past. It wasn’t us causing the problem. We just triggered the reactions.

I hope you have finally found peace. . .

I Love You. . .Karen