Forgiveness for a Father



praying hands

“Praying hands.” All rights reserved by PJP_ via Flickr

Forgiveness is one very strong word. It is easy to say the word, but not as easy to complete the action. For years I struggled to forgive. There was that one person who I just couldn’t forgive. Maybe I wasn’t ready, maybe I wouldn’t allow myself to forgive. It is easier to hold a grudge and hate, right?

You may wonder who I wouldn’t allow myself to forgive. Well, the person I was struggling with was my dad. Yes, the man that played a part in bringing me into this wonderful world. For as long I can remember I was the go-to girl. The daughter who would step in and fix whatever needed to be handled. Being the oldest it was expected of me. I thought I was doing everything that was expected of me, but it was never good enough. Regardless of what I did it was wrong, it could have been better, I didn’t try hard enough. When things weren’t up to par then I would have to get punished and remember to try harder next time.

The man that should have been helping me and taken interest in my development, preferred to bond with a bottle of Budweiser; til this day I can’t look at those Clydesdales. The older I got the more responsibility, the more verbal and physical abuse. I was never able to do anything right. Well, I eventually lashed out at the tender age of 25. Yes, after years of never being good enough, and I truly believed every word he said, I finally found someone who thought I was worth something. I held a lot of hate and remorse in my heart. I was jealous of my friends who had positive relationships with their dad’s. I wanted that. I didn’t have that. I didn’t know that.

When one has hate in their hearts there is nothing that can take it away, right? There is no antidote for hate, or so I thought. Well, there is an antidote: prayer. Prayer works miracles. I eventually allowed myself to turn to prayer. I didn’t want to live with anger, hate and grudges. I prayed for my dad. I prayed for myself. I needed to allow myself to heal. Prayer seemed like the only thing that helped. Truly asking God to help me heal, allowing myself to surrender this pain and hate was difficult. It took time but I eventually got there. I remember hearing: Let Go and Let God. I eventually did. I can honestly tell you the moment it happened. He was visiting and we were all having dinner together. We were all chatting and laughing. I felt the peace; I felt the joy; his presence no longer pained me. His voice no longer angered me. I turned to my husband and said, “I’m ok with him.” It took me over 30 years to forgive him, to respect him as a human and not be on the defensive.

On this Father’s Day I will gladly make the call and wish him a HAPPY FATHER’S DAY and actually mean it. I strongly believe that my faith has helped me grow. Without it I don’t think I would have made it this far. It hasn’t been easy, but at the end of the day he is my dad and as a mom I need to remember that. I need to lead by example and walk the talk.

“Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” Ephesians 5:32


Copyright 2015 Nelly Guajardo
Photo: “Praying Hands”Copyright All rights reserved by PJP_ via Flickr


About Author

Nelly Guajardo is a Catholic wife and mom who works full time. Nelly was born and raised in Southern California. She and her husband have have one child, Matthew, 11 who has autism and Type 1 Diabetes. They feel blessed to be called his parents--because of their faith they have been able to grow and accept their journey as parents.


  1. Karen Bernier on

    Basically our story lines with our fathers are the same. We made peace before he died. I have made peace with my stepmother since his death. Oddly enough I just realized this week that the forgiveness is ongoing as my sister has a lot of his traits. But God gives us these opportunities for growth and grace. God bless you!

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