25 Years to Forgive.

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.

NBravoFatherYoung

My father is Chilean. He is now a retired truck driver. In his younger days he combed the dirt roads between Argentina and Chile with his truck.

NBRAVO4Mons

Once he married my mother, she joined him and they traveled across the Andes Mountains. When my sister and I came along, he took us with him on his excursions too.

NBravo7months

Tio (uncle) Enrique worked on a camp in Argentina. All the kids loved him and his hay rides. That’s me in the back at 7 months old.

NBRAVO1stBday

My first birthday party. The house was filled with kids from the neighborhood ( el cerrito) there to celebrate my very first birthday.

NBRAVO1DAYUSA

We moved to the U.S before I turned two. We arrived in December 1984.

NBRAVOCONEYISLAND

My first time in Coney Island.

NBRAVOSISTERS

Our first summer in the U.S.
(Left Me. Right Sis )

NBRavoFamilyPort

Shortly after this portrait was taken, my parents split up. Our dad visited us a few times before he moved back to Argentina. The years went by and the memory of my father faded.

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!

NBravoFather

Faith allowed us to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday with him. I never imagined the impact his smiles would have on my heart.

Forgiveness is easier said than done.

Holding on to a grudge is harmful to one’s well being.

Forgive.

Forget.

Move on.

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.”

~Bernard Meltzer

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19 thoughts on “25 Years to Forgive.

  1. Pingback: 25 Years to Forgive. | Savoring Moments

  2. Wow… That was a beautiful story and I am so glad you found peace. To carry the pain for so long is a heavy burden and will often keep you from finding happiness. I know, I still carry my own as do many others around us. Thank you for sharing. Nelson

  3. Natali, que hermoso que hayas compartido esta historia tan llena de amor para que personas aprendan que todavia podemos encontrar la paz que nesecitamos en nuestra vida con tan solo perdonar.
    Escucharte me conmovio mucho y leerlo mas pero con las fotos realice una pelicula que me transporto a todo lo que narras , es muy lindo todo lo que has puesto aqui, te felicito no solo por el trabajo como “artista” si no tambien por el gran corazon que tienes y por ser una persona tan especial y como decimos en Colombia Hechada para adelante”. Sigue asi estoy segura que vas a lograr todo cuanto te propongas en la vida…. Un abrazo Claudia..

  4. Hi, huge congratulations. I’m still afraid of my mother, but I’ve worked really hard at forgiving her. I’m 61, and this has taken all my lifetime. Take great care of yourself XXXXXXXX

  5. Pingback: Self Thought : A Few Questions to Ask Yourself. | Savoring Moments

  6. Lovely story and written so beautifully. The photography to illustrate your journey is great, as is the pic of your Dad. So glad you got to meet him and re-establish your relationship with him.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read my story. It has truly been a life changing experience. I held so much anger and pain in my heart, by letting go I made room for more love and happiness. I believe love heals everything and so do hugs! You have a wonderful blog too, I enjoy your art. My mother suffers from fibromyalgia also, I know some days can be more challenging than others.
      Thank you for following my blog, wishing you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy and loving 2014!

      Peace, ❤ & 🙂 Always!
      N…

      • Good wishes for you and your loved ones too for 2014. Your story had a lot of meaning for me as I had to deal with a distant relationship with my father who descended into rampant alcoholism after my mother died. He created hell for everyone around him, including me, and while I made my peace with him on his deathbed, it would have been nice if he’d hugged me once and told me he loved me. Wishful thinking, of course, but it’s why I’m so glad you were able to really have such a good experience with your own dad.

  7. Pingback: Diary of a Rejected Artist. | Savoring Moments

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