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  • JL Whitehead

I joined a writer's group and...

I joined a writer’s group today. It wasn’t deliberate or even intentional. I listened to the various writers carefully, impressed as they read from their computer’s or printed pages. And when it was my turn to read, I read from my last entry in When your father is missing... That entry talked about my absentee father and its lasting impact on me and possibly my readers.

I’ve done readings before. I’ve talked about this topic on multiple occasions. In fact, I’ve talked so much about it that I wasn’t even aware of the tears that formed in my eyes as I read from my website. And when I answered questions from people in the group, those tears fell, splashing across my cheeks, flowing like waters in a stream.

I was surprised that after all this time, the little boy inside me was still hurting. He was still grieving wondering why his father never came back for him. He mourned the loss of the relationship that could have been. He still wondered why his father chose to shelter and protect another woman and her children as opposed to his own. I thought that at the age of 57, the pain of this realty had passed and that I had gotten over it.

I was surprised that I hadn’t.

And I probably never will.

Because what I realized from all of this is that the little boy inside me would never heal from the knowledge that the man that gave him life didn’t want him. His father tossed him aside with the ease of someone taking off a shirt or swatting at an annoying fly.

It was and still is hard to know that you were nothing more than an annoyance.

And to this day, that little boy aches. The pain never goes away. This was never more evident than yesterday when I read my entry.

I’m sure that many of you have experienced this pain. It’s a pain that diminishes over time, but it never really goes away. It’s tucked away in the inner recesses of your mind; and at any moment, the hurt could resurface, and when it comes its usually red hot until you put it away again.

The anger that you feel in that moment is more than justified. But if left unchecked, it can overtake you. I’ve never had this problem per se. In my early years, I would be reduced to tears wondering what was it about me that made my father reject me?

You may be wondering the same thing. And in that moment your anger may come out so strong that you may have no way to direct it, so it comes out at your wife or significant other. You may not know why you lashed out at them.

Back when I was a teen, I remember sitting with my girlfriend reduced to tears not sure what I did wrong. She held my hand and comforted me as best as she could. I never took my hurt and anger out on her because I knew that she had nothing to do with what happened between my father and I.

But hurt when inflicted on a person can only be addressed by the person inflicting the pain.

Time will heal hurt that someone may have wreaked on you…but it will never truly go away. I realized that yesterday.

~J.L. Whitehead

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