"Be thankful in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thes 5:18

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On My Bio-Dad, Forgiveness, Grief and Hope


I'll admit, I'm highly emotional this morning. I was not sure I could even post this because I knew I'd feel tears welling when I started. Yep. Still, this is one of those writing for therapy moments. I also hesitate because it was this topic that led some readers to call my mom years ago and leave messages on her phone that upset her a lot. So, if you are reading and you know my mom, don't call her dang-it. She is welcome to read this. This is my life and my story now and she does NOT need to be bugged with it. It's no secret that Mark was not my bio-dad and if you thought it was, you are wrong so forgive my rebellions teen-like moment to warn some to mind their own.

That being said, I also hesitate because I know it's hard for my mom for me to talk about this. She sees this whole topic very differently than I do and I did not live through the pain she did so I don't judge her but I also feel that I had no choice in how my story started and I won't lie about what it is from that point on. I don't believe in hiding things. I've chosen not to hide it from my kids, and I firmly believe that God's sovereign plan in our lives cannot be told without the whole story. There are many who have been through tough stuff in their lives who don't agree with this. I admit, I've never made some of those big painful decisions so I cannot judge them for feeling convicted about that. I don't however. This is my story, not anyone else. You cannot have the same outcome in anyone else's life with situations because the factors vary so much that each set of them will have a different product. I give this topic the freedom it therefore demands.

Also before I go on, I had one Father and that was Mark. He loved me with his life and he was used by God to save us all from a lot of pain. He holds that place in my heart and affections that cannot be replaced, but this is not about replacing and when it's seen that way, it's observed incorrectly. Some of you know my story more than others but I don't have time to go into all of it here today so I apologize if some of this does not make sense.

So, I'm emotional because I had a dream about my bio-dad last night. Honestly, I've had my emotions about him in a box for four years. He got very ill and passed away suddenly while my Father, Mark was passing away with cancer. When I found out he died, I literally had no emotional response. There was nothing left in me. It was not because I held things against him, in fact the opposite was true. I had spent the last few years getting to know him over the phone, patching things up, getting to know each other and having some conversations that are very precious to me now. I had no response because I was completely emotionally drained. My Father Mark was down to skin and bones and our every extra focus in the day was focused on absorbing the time and dealing with the anxiety of mystery knowing the end was near but not sure exactly how near it was. There was the emotional drain of watching a busy healthy man, husband, father and Papa loose all energy, function and vitality.
I wanted to be frustrated that I had no emotion hearing he had died (my bio-dad...I realize this could get confusing). I waited for frustration to flood through me and even that emotional reaction would not hit me. I wanted it to, I wanted to be mad if I could not cry. I wanted SOMETHING to help me grieve. I was completely and utterly numb by then. It took everything in me to adjust to Mark being dead and how it effected those around me. I don't think I even dealt with how it effected me until about two years later. It certainly showed up in my physical health when I started having panic attacks for no reason. My hormones were way of and I had developed an ovarian cyst that had to be removed. That was this time last year exactly. I could have had no way of knowing how what was going on would effect my body. Needless to say, with all this I've not been able to think much or process much about my bio-dad. I've not had the courage to open that emotional box. I've kept it closed out of survival instinct.
The fact is, there is so much good to be thankful for and be reflected upon. Forgiveness was what drove me to contact him in the first place. Now, one can certainly forgive and still keep distance (which is what my parents would have preferred I'd done and they made it very clear they not only did not support my decisions on this but were greatly hurt and insulted by it) but I felt it would only be fear and pride that would motivate me to keep this man in a prison of regret unless I could set him free from it by reaching out. We talked a lot about God, death, life and forgiveness. We talked about small things too and I found that my sense of humor which had always seemed out of place in my family, had come from some biological roots. That really encouraged me because it was like finding a missing part of myself. One of the huge moments was when we talked about his dad and how hard their relationship was. He called me the next day and thanked me because he had been able to pray about it and forgave his dad for the first time. I cannot believe that this was not part of God's plan for us both. As much as it saddened me to go against my parents, Rick and I both were sure we were supposed to do this. We did not have to fear man, we wanted to heal and I was healed too in the process. The plan was to someday meet (since I'd not seen him since I was about 3 years old and did not remember him much at all and in fact, my mom never showed me even a picture of him so I had no idea what he even looked like) once we worked through some things. That was never in God's plan but that is okay with me now. I think it would have been very hard to start that much over again. Out of this time I am now in contact with my Aunt whom I love being in contact with very much and some of her family who have been so friendly to me which is a treasure for me as well.
The emotions brought up by the dream made me realize I may be strong enough to grieve over his loss now. When I say grieve I mean that I have an actual process I've known for years I would need to go through to do this. While he was alive, and in those last few years (I made contact for good about two years before he died which amazes me too that God knew that) I had sent him a list of questions I wanted answered. We both answered these questions for each other. There was so much getting to know you that we had never done. He chose to answer them by recording his answers on a small mini recorder for me. Many times in answering the questions he would go off on rabbit trials of a lot more as well. I have all of that recorded. I've needed to listen to it all again, that is how I need to process this. I tried about two years ago to turn the recording on and I only made it a few seconds before a flood of tears came and a twist in my heart that hurt so bad, I knew I was not ready.
I truly am amazed at God's love in having them pass all within a few months of each other. The reason I say that is because it eased my grief for my bio-dad. It may have emotionally confused me to have my Father here healthy and in my life and try to grieve for someone I hardly knew but yet had a boat-load of emotions about. IT allowed me to fully grieve for the man who had raised me and eased another grief that I could hardly process at all. By being fully focused on another pain, I was able to be guarded from a lot of this other pain. Now, it has settled more in me that he is gone. I don't have to grieve and reflect in a state of shock, I get to do so in a reflective though emotional frame of mind and at a pace I choose and can handle.
I think I'm ready to turn that recorder on. I know I will cry (shoot, I'm crying now) but I'm ready.
You know what gives me the most joy!? Hope. Hope that has come through Christ. My Father Mark and bio-dad are now in heaven. My bio-dad was an infant Christian but a sincerely repentant man before God. He may not have had his theology all together (though we had some good talks about that which helped I think), and he may have had a lot of worldly baggage that fogged up much of his heart still, but I believe that just as the thief on the cross, he had a true moment of repentance and coming before the Savior. He may not be put in charge of much in Heaven, but he will be there. Their emotions about each other were very different here on earth. My bio-dad was very grateful for Mark and told me so many times. I know if he could have met him, he would have told him himself. My dad however, did not trust him at all and did not like talking about him. I'm sure he had a fear that this man would come back into my life and make waves let alone interrupt his relationship with his grand kids. I understand that. Now however, perfected in the presence of Christ our cleansing savior, they worship the Heavenly Father together. There is no more fear in my dad Mark, no more sin in either of them. They have been able to see the full loving plan of God for us in all our lives and they understand now. They hold nothing against each other but both look forward to our appearance someday. I told my dad Mark, when he was in the hospital with sepsis and we thought we were going to loose him that he was who I would run to on that day first. I meant that. I said it in tears and he cried too. I wanted him to know he had that place in my heart. I will be looking for another greeting also and in Christ's perspective perfecting ours, it won't matter to anyone anymore that I do that.
Thank you Lord for that and so many other things. I will cry these tears with gratitude, full and overwhelming.


This is life, this is what it's all about. Don't run, embrace, and grow.


3 comments:

Jennifer Umphenour said...

Alicia,

Your story touched by heart and I am sorry that you have had to go through this. I pray that you find a renewed peace that you were able to help your bio-dad find Jesus because without you, he may not be there today. Really that is what is all about, helping people find Jesus with love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.
I feel for you and your pain and suffering as you grieve through this time. May the Lord cover you with His arms and give you comfort.
You are strong and amazing woman with a pure heart for the Lord! May you be continually blessed beyond measure.
HUGS!!
Jennifer

~Erin said...

That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

tricia said...

I am praying for you, my dear friend. My heart goes go out to you.

Dear God,

Thank you for openning Alicia's eyes so she can see your loving hands working in her life. I ask that you wrap your loving arms around her and provide peace, hope, and comfort to her as she grieves the loss of her bio-dad. Thank you for Alicia. She has been such a blessing in my life. I ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen

I am here if you want to talk (you can call anytime. we have lots of minutes now.)or plan an evening out. Hugs

love,
Tricia