© 2012 Sedef Örsel Özçelik

Apr 29, 2010

My story

OK this is something I have to write in English...(as I don't want my parents to read it.) Once it's out of my chest you will see what I mean...
Although I write about parents and kids from the parent's point of view... this time I will write as an adult child. Yes, I am still a daughter to my father and my mother... I am still their kid regardless of 14 years of marriage and two kids :)
I have had a distant relationship with my father who was diagnosed with lung cancer 5 years ago, right after I had my second daughter. I still remember feeling angry without understanding why... I couldn't pinpoint the exact source of my anger at the time.
We were lucky he had a successful operation. The entire left side of his lung was gone with the tumor inside. My father recovered fast! He was once more his old self. Our lives continued the same way as it was before.
Two and a half years passed... and cancer revisited his body on the (remaining) right side of his lungs. After long deliberations and a much more risky operation, the newly evolved two tumors were gone. This time he recovered a little slower... What about my anger??? It came back with the news but left sooner than the first time... This time I knew why I was angry: we spent 2,5 precious years without any improvement in our relationship with my father.
Well, after his recovery we went back to life as usual routines... But something in me has shifted. I decided to come to terms with him regardless of his behavior.
So it took me 2,5 more years to read, meditate and think about me and my father... and our relationship when I was a little child.
I thought about my teenage years...
I have identified the times his behavior has changed and become ever more distant.
I read about love...and realized that knowing that my father's love was not the same as feeling it!
I've always known he loved me... yet feeling and feeding on his love was missing.
I realized that he spoke a different language of love than mine.
His acts of service were his way of showing me that he loved me.
The distance I felt towards him was much longer than the distance he thought we had in between...
I realized that his experiences of parenting were quite different and worse than his actual parenting to me, and this was a relief on my behalf.
I remembered the fact that I could have never controlled his behavior but mine...and only mine...
SO I stopped feeling entirely responsible for my relationship with my father (children aren't born with any ideas about themselves... their belief on who they are would be shaped through their parents' behavior towards the kids. so however you treat your children they believe they deserve that behavior.......)
Finally, last month my parents asked me to accompany them on a 3-days journey to Paris. For three days, I got to be a kid again at the age of 40.
I am a blessed and lucky soul to have both my parents still alive at this age of my lifespan. And finally I felt myself in ease with JUST THE WAY THINGS ARE between my father and me.
Last but not least, we just learned that cancer is back again in the remaining part of his right lung. The next step in treatment hasn't been decided yet. On my part, I don't feel angry anymore. I am just sad. And it's just normal. I still feel VERY LUCKY... I wish and pray for his quality of life for the remaining time ahead...
Well, thanks for reading... I just wanted to write about my journey, as I believe that parenting is such a job that you can only retire once you'd take your leave from this life. Whatever the age they are, you're always the parent of your children... and you have heard the story of a 40-year-old girl who loves her father just the way he's.
Acceptance and compassion can come only after you can have some for yourself. It took me 40 years to come here, hope it'll take you less :)
PS It's my father and me in Paris in the photo above...


Sinan said...

This is a beautiful story. I am proud of and envy your diligent patience in life which seem to have rewarded you with the quality relationship you have with your parents. I guess I am lucky myself to enjoy a good relation with my mother who sees me as her kid too. We will never grow up but I admit, at age 42, I really and still do enjoy her treating me as her kid regardless what others may think.

sedef said...

Thank you Sinan :)

pisikopati said...

This is a beautiful story and I know it is very difficult for you to write how you felt during all those years. However writing is a best cure for most of the time and you are a good writer.


sedef said...

@pisikopati... besides some common history...we share the same passion for reading and writing for sure! yes this is the only way i know for healing :) thanks for the support!

Arwen said...

my dear Sedef,
your healing hands are at work again. by writing and sharing your story with all of us, you heal us as well with your loving and patient heart.
I'm so lucky that I have you to share our stories.
Love you,

sedef said...

Thank you Arwen :) Healing is a looong process... And I feel like I just took my first step!

Özgür Turan said...

Dear Sedef,
writing is one of the best self-healing methods. And you do it so well and you have power to do it. Yes this is a journey and a process. Life is a journey. The thing is, how you see this journey. You know, pain comes with the miracles behind. Thanks for sharing.

sedef said...

Thanks Özgür for reading and commenting :) We both know the vital importance of parenting on a kid's soul... Hope we can make the most out of this knowledge and reflect it on our work :)