A life lived opposite

ByKevin Kuzma

A life lived opposite

My dad’s motto in life was that he never wanted to visit anywhere he’d never been before. If that sounds incredibly twisted and perplexing, then you have a feeling now for what his personality was like. His philosophy meant, for me, a childhood of vacations to the places his parents took him as a kid and very few adventures outside a 20-mile radius of our home. His greatest decision as a father was the day he decided to agree to a divorce and go his own way. He knew he wasn’t a good dad—it was a talent that just passed him by— and that it was better for us to be raised by mom. I grew up a nervous and shy kid, at least while he was in the house. There was always the threat of violence (seldom actually happened) and he was out and out mean. I was the type of kid who was 1,000 times more likely to make a mistake once he warned me not to, and many times in my nervousness I made my dad’s worst nightmares come to fruition right before his very eyes. But I knew the entire time growing up that I wanted to have kids of my own someday and be a good dad to them. I like to think my dad set an example for me—maybe not the best, but certainly an outline for exactly how NOT to do things. Last year, a few months before he passed away, he fell a few times and eventually ended up in the hospital with a broken leg. It was clear he wasn’t going to be around much longer, so I talked to him about what his wishes were for his funeral. In the most hateful snarl you can imagine, he said, “I don’t want anything religious. None of that Jesus shit. Just dump me in a hole.” I wonder sometimes, now, how a man could be that consumed by hate. Hate for this world. Hate for hope. Hate for anything outside himself or bigger than him. I also wonder how much of my own faith and the strength I find in it comes from wanting to live a life opposite of his. I don’t know. He’s in my prayers, daily. And as strange as it might seem, I feel he is somehow being redeemed in the love I give my son and my two daughters. Whatever examples life presents you and however it manages to take you down, there is a source of redemption. And he teaches us how to forgive—how to blot out dark with light. It’s a lesson I hope my kids will learn. Love you, dad

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2 Comments so far

RhondaPosted on5:02 am - Feb 27, 2020

I can relate to your story, but with my Mother. Good read. Thank you for sharing 🙂

Amanda LindsayPosted on5:20 pm - Feb 29, 2020

Hmmm. I see several parallels to my own life here. I’ve actually used very similar words to “…outline for exactly how NOT to do things”.

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