My dad was what you might call a non-ideal parent.
When he wasn’t ignoring me completely, he was putting me down, becoming physically abusive and then drinking until he fell asleep.
In the beginning, we didn’t mind his drinking so much in the beginning - because it meant he would leave us mostly alone for the night. And when I was a teen, I had a strategy for dealing with him that worked out really well.
Go to school. Get more than one after school job so I always had a shift. Stay at work until 10 or 11 pm. By the time I got home, my dad was passed out. Yessss.
This strategy lasted until I went to college and it was mostly fine. I was able to avoid my father and stay out of much of the abuse. But it was in college, where my father’s addiction finally took a turn for the worse, dramatically affecting my mother and my siblings still living at home.
My father died while I was in college.
and I was the last person from our family to see him alive.
Six months prior to his death, he invited me to his 20-somethingth college reunion at a private university in upstate New York.
There, my father, trying to impress both my younger sister and I - decided to forgo alcohol for the weekend. Which was a nice gesture and all, until he went into withdrawal.
Cold sweats, shaking, vomiting, delirium and all, I spent the weekend trying to defend my father to old classmates, trying to give him drinks so he wouldn’t die of shock, and in turn, he spent the weekend making fun of me to anyone and everyone.
It was so embarrassing.
I was so pissed.
After getting on a plane that weekend, I vowed I would never see my father again. I didn’t, because he died within the year.
when He died I wasn’t sad At all.
I was furiously angry and relieved.
With his death, went my opportunity to have the father I thought I deserved. I felt cheated out of a real dad - the type of dad who cared about me, asked about my boyfriends and was genuinely interested in what was going on in my life. I didn’t have that father and now, I would never get that father. He was dead.
There was no funeral.
Everyone was broke, hurt and separated due to circumstance, so we vowed to have our own release ceremonies in lieu of a funeral.
I definitely didn’t do that.
For the next 6 years, I tried to get on with my life, but it didn't work.
I did things that I thought would make my father finally proud of me in the afterlife - I won awards, applied for and successfully got research grants, and I was accepted into multiple professional and graduate programs. I continued to focus on getting the approval I had always wanted.
Did my father notice my achievements from beyond the grave?
He did. But I wouldn't know it until years later, when I finally went to a medium to have a sit down talk with him.
Being a professional medium myself, this may sound silly to you, after all, why would a medium go to a medium?
In a relationship such as this one, medium or not, I needed a mediator - a relationship therapist, if you will. I needed someone to tell me when to listen, when to shut up, when to stop trying to argue with him and I needed someone else to open the gateway for him to talk. At the time I went to a medium, I had so much pent up rage - I couldn’t listen and I knew that - so I hired a meditator. A medium.
what worked was seeing a medium.
Through a medium, my father apologized and explained his actions.
after giving some thought to what he said, i decided i had lived enough of my life being angry, and i made the turn-key decision to forgive him.
Here’s how I did it -
How to Forgive Someone Who Has Died
1. Go to a special place for the two of you
To forgive my dad, I went to a place where he and I had spent some genuinely happy times - a waterfall in upstate New York. Even if you had a tumultuous relationship with someone who had died in your life, think back - there IS some place that you share at least one fond memory with them.
A waterfall, was this place for me. Find you place and go there.
2. Address this person (in Spirit)
Verbally or in written form, speak or write all of the things you are angry about and why. Don’t feel bad - it’s OK to be angry at someone who has crossed. Let it all out. You need to get it out.
At the waterfall, I wrote a 15 page letter filled with pain energy - I got it all out. When complete, I folded it up and put it under a rock, and then I turned a new page.
If you have a piece of paper, write down all of your emotions and thoughts and how right you are - and put it on the ground.
3. Accept the apology (even if you haven’t received one)
Even if you have not been to a medium to hear an actual apology from a loved one - they have one for you.
When someone dies, they go through something called a ‘life review’ immediately after death. In this life review, they are forced to sit through a sort of presentation where the events of their life are played back to them. And they are given new perspectives on what happened. In other words, most deceased people realize how wrong they were in the life review. Sometimes, this is too late. But if you are reading this article, it's not.
Whatever this person did, they are hands down sorry and want to apologize. I've done enough of my own readings to know that if someone did something to you - if you were my client - you'd have an apology waiting for you. Accept it. Say you accept it, write that you accept it and then, if you wrote it down, put it under this same rock.
4. Release your feelings
Now that you have both your anger and your understanding outside of yourself, you have to release these thoughts and feelings into the Universe for healing. The way I do this is by burning smoke.
Still at your special place, gather some twigs, some sage and any written papers if you have them, and create a small, protected fire. As this fire burns, think about your intentions to have peace, to forgive and to let go of this pain - and this person. They are learning their lessons in the afterlife and don’t worry, they are not going to ‘get away’ with what they have done. They will have to make peace with it in Spirit.
You have also learned valuable lessons from them. Make sure to acknowledge that. For example, I learned about the type of parent I don’t want to be and about the type of partner I don’t want to have and raise children with.
5. Walk away
Once you release your feelings from yourself and then into the Universe, it’s done and it’s time for you to walk away. Don’t look back as you walk, just walk.
If you decide to complete this ceremony, this is exactly what I did to release the anger I had at my father. Many others have created their own forgiveness rituals and I encourage you to do what works for you.
Even though it took me a few years, in the end, I kept my vow to the family - I had my own ceremony.
It’s never too late to release and forgive, no matter how long ago someone has died, forgiveness can create such a huge shift in your life, it is always worth the effort.
Try this ceremony for yourself even if it sounds silly. Never underestimate the power in intention - you never know what you'll receive from doing this.
For me, it was a great healing.