Last year I wrote a blog post about my dads eyes when he was high and how the eyes never did seem to lie to me, even when he did. Now I want to share the truth that my dad give to me and still continues to give to me. Let me take you back to a time I remember vividly from when I was 16 and first opening up to my dad about my feelings.
My dad was never afraid to say sorry when he was sober and I think that is what made my heart grow two sizes when I was going through all of this. I knew he was in agony emotionally. How can you not be? Your life is crumbling below your feet and you want to hold on but you can’t and in your mind that’s your own fault and you begin to eternalize that. So to be able to let the words, “sorry,” come out while looking into my eyes is bringing all those emotions to life. That is ownership. My dad was taking ownership in what he thought was the shattering of my life. Truthfully, it didn’t ruin my life, it gave my life meaning. Especially on this day.
My dad came into my room, my sanctuary that kept me protected from the life I had outside of those pink walls, and sat on my bed next to me. He held my hands in his and shaking he looked up into my eyes.
“I’m so sorry” he spoke with what I can imagine felt like a spiked rock in his throat.
I can’t find the words to describe the way he looked at me. But it was something like a life or death thing. Like if he could run around the whole planet to show how sorry he was, he would’ve. It was as if every bad thing he had ever done, had been put into his words and he was trying to get rid of all of them with his eyes. What I guess I’m trying to say is it was the most sincere sorry I’ll ever hear in my life. And it puts the phrase, “Apologies don’t mean anything if you keep doing what you’re sorry for” to shame. Because that apology meant everything to me.
It wasn’t about if he would relapse again because I knew it wasn’t an empty promise at all. It was a sorry from the heart begging to be set free but knowing it wasn’t that simple.
When my dad said this to me, I began tearing up. I could tell he was choking up and the thought of my dad, the toughest Russian I know, crying made me crumble inside.
I’m not sure what I said right then but I’m sure it was along the lines of what I still say to this day. I love you, you’re my best friend and nothing will ever change that.
One of my favorite things about my dad is the interest he takes in my life to the minuscule detail. It never has bothered me because I find it really cute that a tough burly man loves the dainty details of a teenage girl. When I had my first boyfriend, he’d not only ask if I was treated well. He’d ask what we talk about, how happy I am and what makes me smile most. Once when I went on vacation and came back he was like Leanna did he give you a kiss when you came back? He better have missed you! I was like, dad! NO! But he was like C’mon, Leanna. And I bashfully said yes. It was embarrassing but it was sweet that he asked.
As my dad and I were sitting on the bed, I told him I kept a journal and wrote about my feelings when he was high. He asked to read them. My heart sank as I walked over to my Windows XP, and opened my Xanga account (what would be today’s Tumblr). It was my private account that I kept my day to day musings of a 13 year old living with the stress of other kids being mean, liking boys, worrying about being liked, and dealing with addiction.
There were posts about real suicidal thoughts in there and I mustered up the courage to talk about them to the man that created me. If you’re curious exactly what they said, I wrote a post about them a bit here.
I read them and it was no longer a spiked rock in our throats it was full on sobs. We cried together and absorbed our pain and in all that pain we found strength. We grew together even more than before.
After we both found tranquility in our comfort, my dad asked me, “Leanna, please print these out for me? I want to have them.”
I printed them out and my dad came to me a few days later. He read them at his Alanon meeting and told me the whole room went silent, “So silent you could hear a pin drop”. He said he could feel the way the words resonated with the group. My truths, my deepest feelings that I wrote for myself, were used in resonation and that is when I decided that I’d use my words and my feelings and my dads love to heal the world.
On a sober mind, my dad is honest, gentle, and caring. He is the most sincere man I know. My dad gave me the truth of my meaning that day. That we were put into this situation to help others with genuine honesty.
Yesterday my dad texted me “Sometimes I wonder what if but than I would not have the most perfect daughter in the whole wide world. I love you my BabySo.”
It hasn’t been an easy few months for my dad and I, but there isn’t a day that I give up hope. I don’t rely on change, but I cheer him on. I’ll always hold on to his sorry and sobriety. Because I know it’s still in his heart, fighting to come out.