I was born in Cordoba, Argentina. We moved to the U.S before I turned 2. I don’t remember anything from then and most of what I know is through photographs.
A few weeks back, News surfaced that my father had a stroke and was extremely ill. This opened a can of worms for me. I was angry. I always wanted to see my father, mostly to get things off my chest but now the circumstances were different than I had imagined.
My sister and I jumped on a plane and headed to Cordoba, Argentina to see him. All I could think on the 12+ hours flight: I haven’t seen my father in 25 years , what do I say to him? We arrived in Cordoba. The next morning Tia (aunt) took us to his house and knocked on the door. No response. Tia knocked again. We waited. Still no response. I became anxious and couldn’t wait any longer. At the window I heard a TV in the house and I knocked on it loudly. Finally a pale, frail face appeared on the other side of the window and a voice asked ” Quien Es” ( who is it ).
I tried to respond but I couldn’t find my voice. Tia responded and told him she was there to visit him. He slowly made his way to the door and let us in. The first time I laid eyes on him, my heart melted. My father was always like an ox, very tall and strong–beastly. He was a boxer back in the day. He is still tall but no longer radiates strength. Though he survived the stroke, his leg was in rough shape. Seeing him like this, all my anger evaporated, not a trace left behind. It was like it never existed. I carried this anger since I was 5 years old. It grew and became heavier as I got older. It is gone now. I am free.
We sat around the table and talked. Tia asked him “Do you know these girls?” He laughed and said that at his age, he no longer remembered things. I found my voice again and was able to say, “I am Natali and she is my sister.” My sister said “hello papi, it’s been a long time, do you remember me?” His face lit up and said, “Of course, yes!” My sister and I rushed to over to him and wrapped our arms around him. The moment my lips touched my father’s cheek for the first time was very emotional. Twenty-five long years without my father and now here he is, in MY arms. It was surreal and immediately my “daddy issues” were resolved. It took me 25 years to forgive my father and GOD it feels great!
Forgiveness is easier said than done.
Holding on to a grudge is harmful to one’s well being.
“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.”