1 min read
07 Jan

Making Amends I am reminded these days of my need to make amends and admit when I am wrong. I still have one major amends left and it is with my father. Before Afghanistan I wrote some burn letters; the ones you write in case you don’t make it back home. In those letters I let everything out, how much I hated him, despised him for leaving and abandoning me. The real nitty gritty of my resentments. I also wrote one for my brother living with my father, so when I returned home alive, I waited for the right moment. 

However, I was at the height of my arrogance and the very start of my heavy drinking career, but not my alcoholism. No, that ism had control over me since the first sip of alcohol I took when it gave me an out from my own mind and pain. When we returned, I spent the next 3 months blackout drunk until we got leave to visit family. I visited my dad and my grandparents, whom my brother was staying with. I never spoke of what happened on my deployment with them, but I shared openly with my grandpa. At the end of my trip my father took me to my hotel the night before and I handed him my 2 letters and I said I hope you read these. I know he did, and I’m positive he burned them or got rid of them after reading. I wanted him to feel an ounce of my pain and to make him regret his decisions. My brother never got his letter and somehow, I'm grateful because it would have dynamically changed our relationship.  

My amends is that I treated my father with disdain and saw him as a hypocrite my adult life. No matter what happened in my life, it wasn’t fair of me to give him those letters. I can justify what I did for the rest of my life, to the moon and back, but at the end of the day no one needs to be reminded of every single failure of theirs. I know he regrets it enough already, and punishes himself in ways I can’t understand. He made a decision to protect me once again by removing those letters from this world. But in my arrogance, I couldn't see that. But amends is about cleaning my side of the street and acknowledging my wrongs, not placing blame on others or alcohol. Just as forgiveness is for me and me alone. I didn’t forgive my father out of some half-hearted desire because I knew he could never be the father I needed. I forgave him because I didn’t want to hold on to this pain anymore.  

As you start the amends process or even continue to have moments where you need to make amends. Do so with patience, and don’t try to force it at the wrong time because you want the guilt off your back. Do so with grace and mercy for yourself and for others. Not everyone wants to hear you out, and that’s okay.  Do the best you can moving forward anyways.  

Your friend, 

Mack  

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