I’ll never forget the first time I saw the powerful movie “Antwone Fisher,” the story about and written by a young man whose story parallels mine in many ways.
it was 2002. pam and i went to see it together and I barely made it through the movie. to this day i don’t think I’ve ever cried more in one night or been thus affected by a film: i cried throughout, all the way out to the car, lost it on the way home and sobbed uncontrollably for hours afterward.
the words from Antwone’s poem “who will cry for the little boy” haunted me–still do–to this day. those of you who know my story will understand why. those who don’t will have to dig through my blog and/or wait for my book. (;
unlike Antwone’s story, my mother came for me. though I would eventually elect to stay with my adopted family, she was a treasure and blessing to me in many ways. we would not fully reconcile our relationship until a couple of years before lung cancer robbed us of her. I am so thankful to have known her, to know that she always wanted me, and for the peace that reconciliation brought us all.
for years, though, I would wonder about the remainder of my own “Antwone Fisher moment.” where was MY father? I’d heard he had daughters. did he ever think of me? did he miss me?
found by my siblings after i’d turned 40 and facng finally meeting my father, I’d written about my feelings here https://tdub68.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/325/
and here https://tdub68.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/going-forward/
uncharacteristicaly, I don’t think I wrote about the result.
it was much like Antwone’s experience meeting his mom. our father is a recovering life-long alcoholic. he’s fathered multiple children (at last 6) and has a scant relationship with any of us only recently. he’s a shell of the man he once was–broken, sad, and pitiable.
the day my other brother and i met him, i told him about me and his grandsons. he in turn shared some of his story and regrets while we listened. and I offered forgiveness freely and naturally.
in the end though, I felt very little. relieved, yes. but little else.
at least it was done.
it’s been a little over a year since that trip. and much like Antwone, I now have a seat at a huge family table of my own. In addition to my loyal immediate family, I have this incredible family embracing me–brothers and sisters and aunts and brothers-in-law–who had been waiting for me and whose love is unconditional and very much real. they are the place where I finally fit.
as I watched this movie again this morning (after the sad MAVS game), I cried–an expression not easily evoked these days.
only these tears came largely out of happiness.
yes, despite the efforts of my adopted mother, i spent years with struggles, emptiness, disquiet, unhappiness, and unbelonging.
but in the years since I was first so moved by this man’s story, I do not cry alone. or laugh alone, for that matter.
life is far from ideal yet because of these new familial relationships, I have experienced echoes of love…
…and at last….peace.