Emotional Update But Good

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-01-2003
Emotional Update But Good
5
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 5:01pm
(This was very emotional for me to write this so be grateful I'm starting to open up again)

Well I did it! I went up North 5 hours with my mom and her bf to visit my Dad for that half hour at the correctional center. I was very nervous and I was sick the morning I went due to lack of sleep. When I got there 15 minutes early I signed in and my mother asked if I was sure I wanted to do this alone. I told her I did regardless and that it was very important to have the time alone.

Well the guard motioned me to the small cubicle and I got to see him through a piece of glass and there was a small vent in which I could talk through. When he saw me I could tell it made his day.

He looked a little different. He had an orange jumpsuit on and he looked a little tired, and kind of older (yikes).The moment he saw me he was happier and his eyes seemed to water.

I told him about college and how I am looking for a job, and how the family was doing. He told me he found out my sister was pregnant through a letter from my aunt.

He told me he might be out of jail in about 4 months. He said 6 at the max.

He said that once he got out he was going to stay with grandma until he had enough cash to get a place. He said that if things were not working out with mom or I needed a place to stay I will always be welcome there. I also told him that I know that he made a mistake. I told him that my other siblings were angry, but that they love him and that it is up to them to choose whether to forgive him or not. I told him that I was sorry that they could not be up there, but I told him that I was there. He said that he knew that my siblings would likely be mad and that they had the right to be mad because he made the mistake and he is doing the time. He said he hoped that my brothers would not hold a grudge. I told him that they might, but that they need to realize that being angry is their right but they won't have a Dad around forever. If they were to remain angry, then that was their choice to miss out. I told him that he disappointed me and hurt me, but I was not angry. About 15 minutes into the visit he got very teary eyed and was crying. I told him that I traveled there to support him and to let him know that no matter what, I would be there. I told him "I am your daughter, and will always be there if you need anything. But Dad, you need to go to rehab. If you need someone to support you, I will. If you need someone to be there just to talk, I will be there. Just don't be afraid to stop over or give me a call." He kept wiping his eyes with his shirt. I felt sad to see him cry. I looked him in the face and told him that people make mistakes. I told him he may have made some bad choices but that doesn't make him a bad person or a bad father for that fact. He was there trying to repair our relationship and strengthen it at its weak points.

There wasn't much time left for the visit. I looked my dad in the eyes and told him that I forgive him. (About that time I felt as if I was going to cry) He began to cry again.

The guard opened the door and gave us one last minute. He told me "I love you" and put his hand up to the glass.I put mine up to where his hand was on the glass and told him "I love you too." I began to cry.

It was a very emotional day for me. I knew I did the right thing by going up there and doing what I did. I think it really made his day to see me and to hear from me in person that I forgive him and love him. I think at that moment he really felt his daughter was special.

When we left my mom hugged me and asked me how it went. I told her "mission accomplished".

At that point I knew that my Dad and I had a relationship like no other father and daughter. Forgiveness is a powerful thing. It makes you feel free of the pain, and even starts bonding up a relationship that has had its share of problems. I learned something very important. That letting go of the past and forgiving can change your life or way of thinking. It makes you feel relieved. Even though someone you really loved has wronged you, you don't have to turn your back on them and be angry the rest of your life. Don't turn your back. Tell them how much you love them and care about them and don't give up. Life is too short to give up on love. Take it from someone who has learned a valuable life lesson who was feeling like giving up.

Liz

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 8:30am
Hi, Liz

I am happy for you that you had such a wonderful visit with your father! You are completely right about forgiveness being so powerful.

I hope what I am about to say next does not make you angry -- this is just a word of caution from someone with some experience with prison inmates. In my former career, I was a counselor who spent an internship working in a prison. Without fail, the inmates would attempt to get any type of financial help, emotional support, promises etc. they could. Some were con artists who never had any intention of maintaining the relationship, making amends for past wrongs, "going straight", etc. Others were traumatized enough by their stint in prison that they genuinely believed what they were telling their families and friends.

However, almost 100% of the time, the picture drastically changed once the inmate was released. In short, they returned to their old habits (whatever they were), and the promises/changes they'd made in prison were forgotten.

I am not saying your father will fall into this category. All I am suggesting is that you proceed with some caution and make sure the positive changes you saw in your father will remain once he is released. Just take it slow -- protect yourself. Don't make any decisions or commitments until he has been out for a while and proves to be the person he says he is. Look at this as a possibility to form a healthy relationship -- not a certainty.


Jan

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-01-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 12:35pm


Ok, I can understand where you're coming from. Let me put some light on the situation to let you see more of the picture here. Maybe you will agree with me, maybe you wont. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I know that I should not have high expectations. However,

I don't believe that my father would be that insincere. The reason he is in there to begin with is because he has a gambling problem. He didn't go out and kill anyone or do anything like that. He just has financial problems. I truly believe after 20 years he has hit rock bottom. He has charges of fraud because he overcharged someone for a building job. He took the money ahead of time and didnt finish the work. he gambled all of the money away. My dad has always been a good man at heart. He knows what he did was wrong.

I believe that if you went to see him you'd realize that this man has had a lot of emotional baggage and bad spending habits. He was in Vietnam and he was very sick from that. He is still recovering from cancer. He has been hiding behind his problems for many years and my father is not out to get people. He has a mental illness; an addiction.

Much like a drug addiction or alcohol addiction. He does what he can to get money not really aware of who or what he is hurting. My father knows I will not give him money to support his addiction. If he needs help I can supply him with things other than money. I really think he needs a lot of emotional support to work through it and some long term counseling to help him understand why he is doing what he is doing. He needs to come to terms and learn how to heal himself. He is only going to get that through help. I know you have had experience but consider this; this is a case of someone who is an addict and is ill. Not a true criminal.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 2:32pm
I am honestly not trying to be negative! I hope your father is both able and willing to follow through with treatment and get his life straightened out so he is able to have healthy relationships.

That being said, addicts often display the type of behavior I described in the latter part of my last post. They will "hit rock bottom", make promises to get help/improve/etc., but then return to their previous behaviors as soon as they are past the current crisis. I believe the literature (the clinical texts, Gambler's Anonymous, etc.) also say this.

I am not saying throw in the towel. Simply proceed with GREAT caution. "Prepare for the worst and hope for the best." Make sure that any help you give your father does not cross that very thin line between help and enabling. If you haven't already done so, organizations such as Gambler's Anonymous are excellent sources of information -- they will be able to give you some ideas as to how you can best help your father in his recovery.

Good luck!

Jan

FWIW -- He is a TRUE criminal. He really broke the law.


Avatar for cl_starrzz_n_moonzz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 2:58pm
Liz,

I am so glad to hear that you made the trip and things went well. It seems you have had a bandage put over a large wound. It is a starting point:) It also sounds like you have learned a life lesson for yourself that forgiveness is a powerful thing. A lot of people learn this wonderful lesson, but sometimes the people we want it from the most can't or won't give it freely. You had a great experience with it. I am so happy for you:) Please keep us updated on how things progress int he future.

Michelle

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 3:56pm
That was emotional alright, you got me to start crying too. It's wonderful, you got to say: I love you and I forgive you. Because if something happend, you will always regret never having to say those words again, while he was able to hear you. Now you can relax and let things fall where they may. Life is too short. Relationship is long. :) Thanks for sharing that emotional trip from your dad.

Leslie