Today is father’s day. As I had a very abusive father I never really had a relationship with him. I can easily recall those days of violence, but never recall kindness. I always hated my mother for staying with the man who beat her bloody many times… It was only after the birth of my son that my father and I actually started talking once I left (escaped) his abuse after high school. We were barley getting acquainted when on Thanksgiving Day, 1994, my son was visiting at his farm where my son had his right hand amputated when out in the barn with his grandfather. It was ruled an accident but an already frail relationship just eroded to nothing. I have spoken little with him since. I tried to reconnect in the spring of 2006 when a dear friend convinced me it was the right thing to do. But that was short lived. I have not spoken to him in over a year. So today is a bitter sad day.
As with many fathers I speak with, we are polar opposites of what we had as a father, unless we had a great father. (And I love that quote from parenthood “we need a license to drive a car, to get married but any shit can be a father”.) While my father was controlling with anger and demanded perfection, I expressed to my son individual spirit and ability to stand alone and always be happy when he knows in his heart he did the best he could. I guess I did a great job as he is doing well, in Germany right now. I doubt if I will hear from him today.
I did get out for a long run yesterday — ran 11 miles. It was not fast, 12-minute miles through the woods, but the knee was stable. I also went for a 26-mile bike ride. A nice day. Although, there were those frustrating moments knowing that it was the day before Fathers day.
During the run, I had some quality time to reminisce… I thought hard of how I was lost in before 2006 and feel lost, just making it through life raising a son, generally unhappy with my life individually. I thought of Dana. I met Dana in February of 2006. She had just lost her husband in an accident the year before. We were both long past lonely and well, really lost. She was 10 years younger than I and we were just friends. She had a goal to remarry someday and have children. I was done being a father. But we clicked… Better than anyone in a short span… Together we started running with goals of doing an ultra. We pushed each other, we laughed, we cried and became great friends. In life, there are few times one can truly say we had a great friend. But with Dana, I was just happy. In the words of Forest Gump “we were peas and carrots”. Then in July of 2006, Dana was killed in an accident. I never really cried, I never really understood, I never believed it. We knew each other for a short time but yet I never felt anyone knew my hopes and fears like she did. She was special, and I sure miss her.
Anyway, where is all this leading? Running, relationships, happiness and being a good father have much in common. No matter how hard you try to do everything perfect, it never will be perfect. We can not control the emotions of others, the elements, the injuries, the social impact of this world we live in. We can only control how we react. In the past months, since I failed the first attempt at 100 miles, I lost my ability to react without regret when it comes to my running. I have second thoughts about, did I really need to quit. I have those thoughts about my relationship with my father… What could I have done differently…? With my friends, how could I have been different? What is ironic is I fall into the relationships with people like my father, except the violent part. These are hard to accept.
I realized sometime no answer is the best answer, I just need to learn to accept that answer and move on… Just like the knee stopped me from running for some time, I am still bouncing back. That is what we need to do, keep pushing on with what God gave us, or took away…