Dealing with Dad After Divorce: Jewel's Story

When I was sixteen, I moved out on my own into a cabin across the canyon from my dad. Neither of us had telephones. If he wanted me to come over, he would yodel across the canyon. If I yodeled in response it meant I was on my way.

One day, my dad called me over and said he had a song to play me. My dad and I had not yet spoken of what had passed between us. I couldn't help being touched at the realization that this was my father's poetic way of making amends.

My father was in no way a mean person. He was wounded, and acted out of his wounds, and for the younger years of my life he was almost like a child who was in over his head after the divorce. I think a lot of parents can relate to that. He did not try to act like abuse was acceptable behavior, or our fault, or refuse to let us talk about it. It troubled him deeply about himself and he very bravely and tenaciously set about working on himself. I respect this very much because so often patterns learned in childhood go unbroken. This is very heroic to me, and I am proud of my dad for the man he has become. I am so pleased to go home and see him happy, with his horses and his music and his continuing healing. It is a miracle.

My father and I have discovered what we value in each other, we've learned what to leave alone -- we have a past that no longer continues to constantly rise up between us. It makes me very happy that he now respects and enjoys me, and I him. It pleases me to see him satisfied in a new marriage and gently fathering his new family. At times we are still awkward, occasionally we feel like strangers, but we are more comfortable with the gaps and differences between us. I'm proud of our work together and it feels good to know that the unhappy legacy of the previous generations ends with us. When I see my brother Atz with his two-year-old stepson or watch my brother Shane playing patiently with his four children, I know it has.


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