My dad didn’t come to my wedding.
I talked to my dad on the phone back in August, after months of not hearing from him. Frequently, he finds himself out of minutes on his pre-paid phone. Sometimes it’s because he’s run out of work. Other times, it’s because his phone was stolen. We never really know.
Either way, I have to weigh the odds every few months: “Was his phone stolen, or did he die?”
These are normal thoughts that I’ve had about my dad since I was about 10 years old.
My dad called in August after months of no contact, and I jumped at the chance to finally let him know I was engaged, and that my wedding date was October 11th.
His response? “Well that’s good, I guess. I mean, the guy always loses the most in a divorce, so you’ll be fine either way, right? hahahahah…”
I just responded, “Yeah, I guess. I hope you can make it! I’d love it if you could be there.”
I already knew he wouldn’t make it. He told me he was sleeping on the loveseat in his boss’ office at the auto body shop he’d been working at. That means he’s homeless- which has been the norm for a few years now. When my wedding rolled around, his phone was (predictably) out of minutes again.
My daughters walked me down the aisle. They chose my husband, and they thought it was their wedding, too- so I’m happy they could be the ones to give me away. And yet, I still grieved the scene where the dad gives away his daughter. I had room for both sadness and pure joy on my wedding day- which was an absolute necessity.
Here’s the thing about healing and expanding: the more you accept the darkest parts of your life, the more capable you are of holding onto multiple truths at the very same time.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I know my dad is incapable of showing me healthy love. I also know he’s doing the best he can, with what he has. As an addict, he cannot and will not show up for me the way Little Brittany deserved. My wedding was no exception.
However, my husband holds space for that pain. He knows that I said my vows with happiness, certainty, and gratitude. But he also knows I said them while I felt the bittersweet sting of knowing my father has never met him, and that he couldn’t show up for me on one of the most important days of my life.
It’s because of my upbringing, that I’m obsessed with teaching people how to move through life with grace. How to understand the value of extracting meaning from their pain- and creating new definitions of love. If this resonates with you, find me on Instagram at @attracted.to.healthy