“Actions of Love” By: Mike Gardipee

"Actions of Love" By: Mike Gardipee | Noah Bergland | construction2style

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Mike here, 

Love is based on action more than words.

My daughter Makenzie has demonstrated this throughout her life. I can not say the same about my own actions.

Abandonment is what I gave her in return for her love, time and time again.

I shared with all of you last time, some of the “Lost Moments” that I can never get back.

While writing it I really started to feel unworthy of my daughter’s love. When she was young she always wanted to be with me. Unfortunately, I was drunk most of the time. So, a lot of my memories of those times are a bit foggy. It hurts and angers me to even write those words. That doesn’t stop me however from cherishing the moments when Kenzie shares her memories of us spending time together.

Let me share with all of you the love she has given me. I remember those times when I would be fighting with her mother, she would be in the corner crying knowing from past experiences that daddy was about to leave and not come back. I remember when I would start to leave and she would run and grab onto my leg and plead, “Daddy, please don’t go!”

I wanted to go get drunk or God knows what else, so I would peel her off my leg and push her back and then I would be gone, with no intentions of ever coming back.

I wouldn’t see her again for months. Most times, when I finally did see her it would be in a prison visiting room setting. If this bothered her, she never showed it. She would be the first one to come running to give me a hug and tell me she loved me. Bless her heart, all she would want to do is spend time with me, playing outdated and mangled board games, coloring pictures to show me how she can stay in the lines now or even just walking around and holding hands.

She warms my heart with so much joy! Reflecting back on those times I can see how I filled her precious heart with the hope that I was coming home to stay.

I did come home for a while but it never lasted long and I would get an “itch” to start drinking again. The incurable disease, clawing its way to the surface.

I failed my daughter so many times and yet she continues to forgive me with that loving heart of hers. As she got older and her sister came into the world, she would always justify my behavior and absences to her or anyone else that would listen.

When the federal agents came to get me on this indictment, I was drug off to jail and arraigned on my charges, Kenzie and her mother were the only ones in the courtroom to support me that day, the two girls in my life I hurt the most.

They would also come to visit me every weekend. As always she would fill my heart with joy. She would also make sure that I always knew what was going on in her sisters’ lives and bring their love. As time went on she started having children of her own and she makes sure that I was and still am a part of their lives on a daily basis.

Whether it’s through pictures, stories filled with love and joy, the DVD I send home around Christmas reading them books and sending holiday greetings of love, she always makes sure I am present in some form. She will play those DVDs for my grandchildren over and over so they know who I am.

"Actions of Love" By: Mike Gardipee | Noah Bergland | construction2style

My daughter lives from paycheck to paycheck but somehow saved up enough money to bring my grandchildren to meet me. That was one of the greatest and proudest moments of my life. I wish I wouldn’t have had to share those moments of such love with my feelings of guilt and shame.

It is because of Makenzie that I have been able to build these loving relationships with her sisters and because she continues to reach out to them, to share the change that she sees in me. God bless her heart. I am blessed to have her in my life. She has shown me what true unconditional love is.

So am I worthy of my daughter’s love? No, I don’t feel that I am but today I understand that it is not about me. My daughter believes I am worthy and that is what truly matters. God has gifted my daughter with a loving heart.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Love is patient, love is kind it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it’s not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseverance. Love never fails.

My daughter demonstrates that love daily. God bless her and keep her.

More of Mike’s Stories: Living with Guilt



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