I am a survivor. I didn’t realize the extent of the abuse that I had survived, until repressed memories surfaced three years ago. Even before then, I knew that “Father’s Day” never conjured up the happiness in me that it seemed it ought to have.
I have experienced years of psychotherapy for the abuse I knew I sustained at both my father’s and my stepfather’s hands. But the anger and disappointment remained.
Four years ago, Father’s Day 2009 marked the violent end to my marriage of 20 years, although we wouldn’t actually separate for nine more months, nor was the divorce final until we had been married 22 years. But the marriage was over on Father’s Day.
Yet another memory for that seemingly ominous day.
This year is so different. Having the gift of being more in touch with my Heavenly Father, it was He that led me to a method of forgiveness for my temporal father, Ronald George Slighte.
When I took the information for my father and for his father, both of who’s deaths had been tragedies towards our entire family simply by their manner, to the Temple; I was rewarded in abundance.
The freedom that is forgiveness. Something not many people actually achieve, as many have told me that they couldn’t imagine forgiving similar abuse. I didn’t think I had the capability either.
When I met my best friend in 2010, in him I saw a father. A real “Dad” to his kids. Even while fighting a battle with cancer, the true integrity of his motto “family is FOREVER!” shocked and entranced me. It was through him that I started learning more about God.
My path over the last three years has been a varied and confused one for much of the time. But when I was at my weakest, I put everything into God’s hands, and I was rewarded abundantly.
This year, April 20th was a very special day. I had interviewed with my Bishop, and was deemed worthy to enter the Temple on a provisional recommend to perform baptisms of the dead for my ancestors.
I was baptized in the name of several of my female ancestors on my father’s side, including my Grandma, Margaret Florence Clara Foley Slighte McGhee King (a mouthful, I know!). Then I requested to be present when my father and his father were baptized.
The young man who was baptized in my male ancestor’s names had no idea the gift he gave me. He looked embarrassed by my tearful reaction upon hearing the names of my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, being confirmed. The Priesthood holders understood some. They passed me a tissue with understanding in their eyes.
That day I was gifted with an intense relief, but it wasn’t the end of it. I had a mind to write about it when it happened, but felt that there would be more to write about. I had no idea how much my feelings, and then my life, would change.
By being able to release the anger and pain I felt towards my father, and then the disappointment in him regarding his death; and give him up to God to be taught what he needs to know on the other side, I feel free. I no longer carry the burden on my back of his abuse or his suicide after not having seen or talked to him for over 17 years.
In the past few months since taking their names to the temple, I have been rewarded with the absence of the memories that had come to me after having been repressed most of my life. God has granted me the gift of the ability to remember the happy times. The times that God was there in our lives.
My father is now in God’s hands.
My Heavenly Father will take care of it all. To both of them, I say “Happy Father’s Day. I love you.”
But it is my Heavenly Father, to whom I say, “Thank you, for letting me be a “Daddy’s Girl” again!”
His heavenly Love and Lighte to all on Father’s Day.