Towards peace

I have a spent a lot of bitter moments contemplating the parenting job done by my father.  More recently, memories of difficult times in my childhood because of my father’s alcoholism and violent tendencies when he was drunk have been rising up like bile in my stomach.  I’m a writer;  but I’ve not written much about my father, except in oblique references, because I’ve tried to let the past be in the past.  I have, however, complained about him.

But I’m trying to let all forms of complaining go.

In that spirit, then, I’d like to share with those who read this blog, a letter from my father that I recently found in a box in our attic.

It is post-marked 18 May 1990, and sent to “Corinne Corley” c/o the law firm in Fayetteville AR where I worked at the time. But the undated letter is addressed to me by my first name:

Mary —

This is one of the things that I seem to be totally inadequate at doing, but I will try —

Your pursuit of the Legal profession was — is — and will remain to be a great source of pride — and a bit of self-indulgence — in the mere fact that I think that I helped you go the route you did.

Your success — from solo tries to a now apparent success in a good firm — show that your desire and ambition are on their way to fulfillment.

     I only wish that I could have helped more — but your self-reliance and determination — carried you far beyond my hopes.

I wish that I could have helped more.

All my love — congratulations and remote help are yours.

My father — my brother — and now you.  What more could I ask?

With much love


My father’s references are to his father, John L. Corley, and his brother, Robert D. Corley, both of whom were attorneys.  My father himself had been a bookkeeper after the War, but due to his alcoholism, did not hold a job much after about 1960, although in his later years, he worked part-time as a wood worker for a neighbor’s upholstery shop. My father was whip-smart and would have made an excellent attorney.

Both my father and my Uncle Bob encouraged me to go to law school.  My Uncle Bob taught me the elements of a contract.  I aced Contracts in part because of him.

As I move forward in this quest for a complaint-free life, complaining about my father’s failures is something that I intend to consciously cease.  Finding this letter and sharing it helps me remember that in everyone there is both bad and good.

Rest in Peace, Pops.  I hope I continued to make you proud all the days of your life, and all the days of mine.

Kansas City, 19 March 2014


4 thoughts on “Towards peace

  1. Linda Overton

    I can empathize with you on this. Sometimes it is hard to forgive a father for the wrongs he did to you. I have tried to forgive my father for the wrongs he did to me. I think I have made peace with it, but am not sure full forgiveness has been given. I will keep trying to put it away in the past where it belongs. Thanks for the inspiration you have given me today.

  2. Pat

    I have always thought the best gift my parents ever gave me was my independence and self-reliance. They never really helped with any homework and never bought me a car or paid for my insurance, but rather said work and get it yourself. Unlike so many of my clients I have always been able to take care of myself and my own problems. I hated that they didn’t give me things back then, but now I look back and see it as a good thing. They could have done it, but chose not to, very wisely. So perhaps your father did the same, whether intentionally or inadvertently, as you are one very self-sufficient woman! Pat

  3. ccorleyjd365 Post author

    My faithful friends, especially my cousin Kati; thank you so much for reading and commenting. I hope you all have peace today and all your days.


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