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Father’s day is coming up. I have been thinking about my dad lately. It all started with graduation, I know he would have been proud. I wish he could have been there to see those late nights pay off. Dad gave me a lot, some of which I posted about here.

I had a realization though, he left me with something else that I never realized. When I was small, I didn’t understand why I had to go through the abuse, the hate and discontent. I always knew deep down that there had to be a reason for it all. I think I may have finally found one.

In order to forgive my father, I had to understand him. I had to understand where he came from and why he was the way he was. In doing that I talked with my mom and his sister. I read his father’s will. I looked through his work papers. The more knowledge I gained, the more I understood. The more I understood the more compassion I had for him.

Then it hit me. That was it, that was part of his legacy. To be able to understand people. To take what they have gone through and see them as a whole person. After seeing him as a person, I could not just see him as this abusive monster who hit his kids, I had to see the little boy inside of him who never saw what a real father was. I had to see the abuse he suffered and to see his pain. Until I saw all of it, I could not possibly understand.

For a long time it was hard for me to have compassion and empathy for him. Now as I have grown, and my understanding of the man he was has grown, so has my compassion. As such, I made a choice to love him for the special man he could be versus the bitter man that caused so much pain. In making this choice, I have freed myself of a lot of heartache and pain and found myself able to forgive.

People are so much more than the words they speak, or the actions that they make. They are emotion, compassion, feeling and often times they are ruled by the decisions that made them. Some of those decisions were ones that they made and others were made for them. People are human and sometimes they learn from those decisions and sometimes they don’t. That doesn’t mean they are any less deserving of love , empathy and compassion.