You might have heard a tale similar to this one here and there, but for every family who is now going through this — it feels like the beginning of the end.
What more if your father left your family when you were young and just beginning a new life in a foreign place?
Nevertheless, it is utterly devastating that some even end up questioning themselves, “what have I done wrong or what should I have done right?” But eventually, you’ll come to the conclusion that you should just accept it, keep a positive attitude and figure out how to go on living your life without a father figure.
But what if one day your father knocks on your door and asks if he could come back to your family’s life?
Here’s Ai Nguyen, A Life and Business Breakthrough Coach, who shares a powerful story through her voice and experience of her 80-year-old dad.
The Crucial Memory
Last week, I celebrated my dad’s 80th birthday. It was a deeply healing experience for me. Many of you don’t know this, but my dad left our family for another woman when I was around 6 years old, about a year after we had immigrated from Vietnam over to America. Here we are in a strange new country, and then he left us.
One of the last memories I had at that time was that he took me to the bus stop in the morning for school and told me that he was leaving the family and wasn’t coming back. That was it. I came home from school and he was gone.
For decades, I had blocked out this CRUCIAL memory of the bus stop day. It was brought out again during a healing hypnosis session I had last year. While growing up, he would come and visit our family from Guam every few years to attend any huge celebrations such as family weddings.
But then, about 18 years ago, he asked us if he could come back because he was struggling with his business. He was basically going to be homeless if we didn’t take him in.
This was such a stressful time in my life because we had to learn to build a life without him fully being there and then we had to also learn to accept him as he came back. Long story short, when he came back, even though he stayed, he had lost his power in the family.
We weren’t interested in what he had to say. I wasn’t interested in his opinions. Because, honestly, he lost our respect when he left the family. So, we had never celebrated his birthday.
My dad had to learn how to make peace with himself. He practiced Buddhism, spirituality, and yoga to calm his internal state.
The Celebration of Birthday and Healing
Fast forward to last week, his birthday party, my husband Dave and I flew back to St. Louis, Missouri to celebrate this with my family. My dad has been asking the family for the past year to do a party for him. He had an inkling that he would die soon and it was important for him to experience this. And so we made tons of food and brought the whole family together.
And there was a moment where I caught him feeling super happy, in front of the colorful walls, getting photos taken by me. Like a child’s smile when they are being acknowledged and celebrated. I caught it in the moment and in the photos.
And all of a sudden..
A deep level of compassion and forgiveness fell into my body.
(As I am writing this, I am CRYING. Nose dripping, wiping my shirt all over my face type of crying)
I suddenly realized that this man is 80 years old. And now he’s finally being celebrated. My heart felt the pain of living in a body for 80 years and not experiencing the greatest, most loving moments in life.
I felt compassion for the pain of him having to forgive himself for his mistakes. I felt compassion for him, probably realizing he could have done more in his lifetime, but he didn’t get to do so. I felt compassion for him for having to release guilt, shame, and resentment over the years. Because death is near, and he simply wants to be acknowledged.
At that moment, I saw the inner child in him; the child who just wants more praise, love, and attention on this special day. And I wish if I had been quicker in my realization, that I had taken more pictures, to make him laugh, and make it even more of a special day for him.
(A moment of regret showed up for me)
This was the level of compassion that I had prayed for, and I wasn’t ready to fully receive it for many years until I participated in this birthday party.
I got balloons with his favorite celebration colors: red and gold. (Coincidentally, his outfit matched my balloon colors). Intuitively, I knew what he wanted. If my sister had not asked me to be in charge of the balloons and decorations at the last minute, I would have missed out on seeing the joy and happiness in my dad.
It was as though SPIRIT planned all of this to happen FOR ME.
I share this story with you because I want you to know that we all have the opportunity to experience forgiveness and healing. Be present, be open, and compassionate and spirit will give you powerful insights. Life flies by fast. Always celebrate yourself. Find gratitude and greatness in your reality and everything will shift for you!
Lastly, you have the power to turn your pain into your purpose.
Your Life and Business Breakthrough Coach