Got a letter back
in February that was all
never thought that I would be so startled
in my life
I felt my mind just wandering in the desert
opened the door and now
I’m never satisfied
’cause I never asked
and he couldn’t answer
made up a story I knew that I could live with
I’ll cradle my hurt in this broken appointment
and settle in the waiting place
My dad served in Viet nam. He saw a lot of action. He lost a lot of friends. He came back broken and we didn’t understand it for a long long time. We knew he was broken, we just didn’t have a name for it back then. We know now that he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was distant, not present to us. It made life very difficult for us as a family and was one of the things that led to my parent’s divorce. Of course it is much more complicated than that, I know…and yet, it was a shaping force in our lives, in our family.
When I became an adult I pined about not having a father who was more involved in my life. I would have taken any attention from my dad, I craved his interest so much. The first Christmas I was married my dad didn’t call or write. I had never gone through an entire major holiday not having heard from him so this pissed me off, frankly. I jumped to the conclusion that he just did not care about me and I wrote him a letter. It was a long letter but the gist said basically that we should stop pretending that we were father and daughter because that was not happening. I told him I was dropping all expectations for that kind of relationship.
While away on business that February I got a phonecall that my dad had just had a heart attack. We had not spoken yet about my letter to him. My first thought was that I had GIVEN my dad a heart attack. I was wracked with guilt even though he was recovering well.
When I got home I found a letter he had written in response to mine, only a few days before his heart attack. He explained about Christmas, about his decision to run away from home. He decided to drive to Florida and just leave behind all the pain and hurt he’d caused with our family. He was stopped on by a state trooper however on his way, the interstate had been closed because of a snowstorm. God sent him back home.
He poured out his heart in that letter. He apologized. He told me how much he loved me. I cried like crazy and I offered up forgiveness.
This opened a door and now I’m never satisfied…I keep pursuing him and he’s still human, he still is working it out but our relationship now, 12 years after writing this song is stronger and always developing. I’m thankful for this.