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Brian Klein

Turning The Cheek

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My dad was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. He was the head of the house – what he said, went. My sister was a goody-goody, because even though she was ten years older than me, she was afraid of him. But I never was: if he told me to make him a cup of tea, I’d say, ‘haven’t you got legs?’ And I’d get a beating. Because of that, I never listened to him. My older brother was psychotic and I never got on with him, but my little brother was my support. He was always trying to look after me.

I left home at 17 and begged my mum to do the same. She used to say, ‘I’ll leave when you are 18’, and then she’d look at my little brother and say, ‘I’ll leave when he’s 18’. But one day she rang up and said she was ready. She’d suddenly seen how my dad was dictating her life, and she wanted her freedom. We found her a little place near to where she was born and I moved in with her and my brother. Dad came home one day and his wife and son were gone.

Mum and I started having the relationship we’d never had before. She was so happy and relaxed, and we’d go for coffees and just talk. She got in touch with my dad via my sister, just to let him know she was safe. She told me that she still loved him, but for who he was; not for what he had done to her.

One day he called to say he had a load of post for her to collect. She had been thinking about going back for a visit anyway, so that my brother could see his old friends. But it was as if she knew something would happen, because she told me the night before that she thought he was going to kill her. Yet somehow she talked herself into it. I made her promise to wake me up in the morning so I could go with her. But she didn’t.

I woke up the next morning to the police at my door and I knew instantly what had happened. My first reaction was that I had to see my dad. I had to know if he had killed her deliberately, or if it was some kind of accident. I wrote him a note saying, ‘I know what you’ve done. It’s OK. I love you and want to see you’. I signed it, ‘your daughter’, hoping he would think it was my sister and agree to see me. When he saw that it was me he burst into tears. I made up my mind there and then, that as long as he told me the truth, without a word of a lie, I would stand by him.

I know that if I had been a mass murderer, my mum would still have visited me every day in prison. I tried my best to do what she would have done. He was the only link I still had with her.

Throughout the trial he kept his word and never lied about what he had done, and eventually he was sentenced for manslaughter with diminished responsibility and sent to a psychiatric hospital. While he was in there we started having a proper father-daughter relationship. I’d come to him for advice on all my problems. I called him ‘Papa’, and he would tell me he loved me. He was the dad I always wanted. But he knew that if he ever started up the old behavior, he’d never see me again.

My sister just couldn’t understand what I had done. She took my little brother and brought him up, but she pretended to everyone that our parents had died naturally. I never pretend. For me, it is much easier to forgive because then you can be free. She’ll have to live with her anger everyday for the rest of her life. Or worse, it might turn into regret. I’d already lived most of my life with hatred for my dad. I didn’t want it anymore. Forgiving him was such a big release. I’ll never forget what he did – but forgiving has brought me peace inside.

When my dad got really ill with cancer and we knew he was going to die, my little brother asked to see him – just once, so that he could get some closure. The weak, bed-ridden figure he saw was nothing like the military man who used to bully us all. My dad told my brother he could die in peace now, knowing that his youngest child had forgiven him too.

We can all make mistakes – that was the best thing my mother taught me. I now automatically look for the good in people I meet. I still miss my mum everyday; but I think she would be proud of me.

- Natalia Aggiano

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That is a beautiful story told by a beautiful soul.  Forgiveness is a difficult process, but it's as much about what you gain from it as well as the person being forgiven.  I can relate in some part to your story as my own father had anger issues and hit out without warning if something annoyed him to the point where you crossed his red lines. It's terrible to see your parents living in misery as it inevitably spills over onto the children in the family.

Your forgiveness of your father for depriving you of your mother and a happy family life is a testament to your capacity for love and recognition that there is good in everyone.  So many people go through life not forgiving those that have hurt and been hurt and the loss is as much for them as it is for the other party.  Love is the most powerful force anywhere as it breaks down barriers that others erect in such subtle and sublime ways.

You have my respect and admiration for being a wonderful soul - if only the world could be filled with such souls what a wonderful place it would be.

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On ‎12‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 8:39 AM, Dave Cobbledick said:

Forgiveness is a difficult process, but it's as much about what you gain from it as well as the person being forgiven.

This statement couldn't be further from the truth.

On ‎12‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 8:39 AM, Dave Cobbledick said:

I can relate in some part to your story as my own father had anger issues and hit out without warning if something annoyed him to the point where you crossed his red lines. It's terrible to see your parents living in misery as it inevitably spills over onto the children in the family.

I knew a guy who if just annoyed would do some really stupid crap  too, now at the time he didn't have children, but man, when he got mad - he was completely unreasonable. I mean to a point he would break his hand hitting a wall.

On ‎12‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 8:39 AM, Dave Cobbledick said:

Love is the most powerful force anywhere as it breaks down barriers that others erect in such subtle and sublime ways.

AMEN there, I am inclined to agree with you good sir. I would, however, further this statement by stating a happy feeling can also do some reverse on the damage hate does.

On ‎12‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 8:39 AM, Dave Cobbledick said:

You have my respect and admiration for being a wonderful soul - if only the world could be filled with such souls what a wonderful place it would be.

Agreed! Dave isn't 'what a wonderful place it would be' a phrase from a song as well?

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5 hours ago, Brian Klein said:

Agreed! Dave isn't 'what a wonderful place it would be' a phrase from a song as well?

Louis Armstrong "What a wonderful world"

5 hours ago, Brian Klein said:
On 12/1/2018 at 4:39 PM, Dave Cobbledick said:

Forgiveness is a difficult process, but it's as much about what you gain from it as well as the person being forgiven.

This statement couldn't be further from the truth.

Explain please, why isn't this a true statement?  When you forgive someone you let go the bad feelings you felt from the wrongdoing you experienced.  When you fail to forgive someone, all the angst that has been (and perhaps still is) building inside you can eat away from the inside and perhaps prevent you from moving on.  For some people there is no room for forgiveness in their heart and what irks them can potentially damage them in many ways, so by forgiving someone you allow yourself to heal from the hurt, but if you let that hurt fester then that hurt will never go away.

;)

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6 hours ago, Dave Cobbledick said:

Explain please, why isn't this a true statement?

It is so interesting where the mind goes when questioned lol (never said it wasn't a true statement, I simply said, Explain.) It is how do you people across the pond say 'oh, how prudish!' (ok that made me laugh) I had to do it ol'chap. 

6 hours ago, Dave Cobbledick said:

When you forgive someone you let go the bad feelings you felt from the wrongdoing you experienced.  When you fail to forgive someone, all the angst that has been (and perhaps still is) building inside you can eat away from the inside and perhaps prevent you from moving on.

I just wanted you to say the words lol and you have satisfied my curiosity. Now, on to this accusation of 'not being a true statement' 

Tell me @Dave Cobbledick, do you feel that glare through your computer screen, that piercing gaze of deep, deep thought, that pin prick right between the eyes. Do you feel the intense gaze from across the pond! DO YOU! how was that, pretty good if I do say so myself! But seriously, wasn't a thought in my head that your statement wasn't true, I just wanted to see how you came to the conclusion you did. The mind is a fascinating place.

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It's one of the limitations of the written word, which can often come across very cold.  There's no eye-contact, no body language and no grins, or eye winks, to convey more than what is actually said.  Sometimes a one liner is what comes out, but then it can be followed up by multiple paragraphs to fill in the human connection that is missing.

I've seen people really go to town on each other in forums simply because of a misunderstanding of the written word - words crafts we are not, unlike some who can describe something in a few words and the picture is painted as clear as if you were looking at it; for others it's very difficult to add an expression or emotion to words.  It's a limitation of the structure and lack of physical nuances to fill the gaps between the words where most people fail to get their message across with the written word.  People tend to write as they 'think' but they forget about all the other aspects of communication that go with the spoken word.  I guess that's why we are human and so fallible lol.

;)

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18 hours ago, Dave Cobbledick said:

It's one of the limitations of the written word, which can often come across very cold.  There's no eye-contact, no body language and no grins, or eye winks, to convey more than what is actually said.  Sometimes a one liner is what comes out, but then it can be followed up by multiple paragraphs to fill in the human connection that is missing.

Ironic you said this as I was reading it, I thought the exact same thing. I have, however, seen some people actually describe things so well in writings that I felt I was actually there. What do you think about that (ever have it happen)?

18 hours ago, Dave Cobbledick said:

I've seen people really go to town on each other in forums simply because of a misunderstanding of the written word - words crafts we are not, unlike some who can describe something in a few words and the picture is painted as clear as if you were looking at it; for others it's very difficult to add an expression or emotion to words.

Exactly why I use video and audio as well. I feel there is just something about the human connection that is just amazing and it is a simple waste if not used (it being video and audio)

But I must admit there is something about the human smile I find cannot be replaced.

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1 hour ago, Brian Klein said:

(ever have it happen)?

Yes, I read a book by an author called Anne Rice (Interview with a Vampire) and her descriptive narrative was amazing and so captivating that you felt you were in whatever place she was describing.  There are only a handful of authors that I have found with that capability.  Quite remarkable.

1 hour ago, Brian Klein said:

But I must admit there is something about the human smile I find cannot be replaced

A smile is worth a thousand words and more, especially if you have placed it there in someone by a simple act of kindness - it is one of those moments that melts your soul and connects you to that person in a way that words fail miserably to describe.

:)

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6 hours ago, Dave Cobbledick said:

Yes, I read a book by an author called Anne Rice (Interview with a Vampire)

Fun fact: You know I learned the movie "Queen of the damned" is a sequel or 'prequel' to that movie or book - not to mention le'stat was a gay vampire lol (yep learned that too).

6 hours ago, Dave Cobbledick said:

A smile is worth a thousand words and more, especially if you have placed it there in someone by a simple act of kindness - it is one of those moments that melts your soul and connects you to that person in a way that words fail miserably to describe.

I love seeing you laugh when we talk  on skype. Couldn't have said this better myself.

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