It's never too late.I was one of those girls that had a mostly-absent father. We had very little in the way of a relationship as I was growing up, due to a variety of things, including his alcoholism and prescription drug abuse.
My parents divorced when I was in high school, and I hardly saw my father after that. When I was in college, I saw him once and he had to ask me where I was going to school. That just gives you a sense of how our relationship was...or wasn't.
We had nothing in common, had little to talk about...but when he became sick with dementia and was moved to a facility closer to me, I realized it was the last chance I had to know him. I began to take my kids to see him regularly, and although he didn't always remember them, he did remember me. And we developed a closer relationship than we ever had before, odd as that may sound.
Shortly after he moved into the facility for dementia patients, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died within weeks. I was there with him, with my siblings (none of whom were close to him), when he finally went, after having sat vigil for almost a week.
And you know...I think about him more now than I did during the thirty-some years he was alive as my father. There's a sort of presence I feel when I think of him, and I truly believe that he is somewhere, looking out for me and watching over my family. I feel closer to him, to his spirit, than I ever did when he was alive.
Sad, in a way, but in a way, it's very comforting for me. It's hard to explain, but rather than feeling as if we left things unfinished and unresolved, I feel as if they have been resolved.
So for those who have little or no relationship with their father, I wish for you the same sort of peacefulness that I have now. The knowledge that he, when on this earth, was the best father he could have been--for all his shortcomings (at least in my eyes)--but has also been a different sort of strength for me now that he's gone.