Sometimes People Don’t Say Sorry—Why It Pays to Forgive Nonetheless

“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” ~Roberto Assagioli

When I was a little girl, I used to wonder what my father was like. Was he a nice man? What did he look like? Did he think about me? Did he love me?

But, above all, I wondered why he left.

I used to make up stories about him. One time I imagined him as a voyager traveling to foreign lands and picking up small gifts for me in every new place he visited. He met with the locals and would learn new trades …

“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” ~Roberto Assagioli

When I was a little girl, I used to wonder what my father was like. Was he a nice man? What did he look like? Did he think about me? Did he love me?

But, above all, I wondered why he left.

I used to make up stories about him. One time I imagined him as a voyager traveling to foreign lands and picking up small gifts for me in every new place he visited. He met with the locals and would learn new trades and languages. He’d tell them stories about how much he loved and missed me, and how he couldn’t wait to come home.

Another time. he was a doctor stationed abroad helping to heal sick and impoverished children. He couldn’t come home because, without him, those children would die, and when I was big enough, I’d travel to be with him.

I liked envisioning him as someone far away and out of reach, doing important work. In this way his absence made sense to me. But the reality was not quite as heroic as I imagined it to be.

I first spoke to my father when I was a teenager and learned he was living in a different state and running his own business.

He’d remarried since my mother and divorced, but had no more children. When I asked him why he left, his answer was simple: “When your mom and I split up, I gave her a choice. Either she raise you without my help, or I raise you without her help. Emotionally. Financially. Everything. I needed a clean break.”

My heart dropped.

He wasn’t a doctor saving sick children.

He wasn’t a voyager exploring new lands and thinking of me.

Instead, he was just a man. A man who decided his divorce applied to both his wife and his daughter.

An overwhelming sadness filled the air around me and disappointment set in. I wasn’t expecting or prepared for his nonchalant answer. The longing

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