Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Thoughts on My Father

 Yesterday, as I sat in a private room, draped in a gown, I got a text from my sister. She never texts me so I knew something was wrong. It turns out that my father died yesterday morning. I'd love to say that I burst into tears or had some "normal" reaction, but I didn't. I was pretty much numb to the whole thing. I spent every spare minute after trying to sort out my feelings...

Justin says that I don't need to try to untangle all of it, that he wasn't really a good part of my life so it's not surprising that I don't really feel anything. I do feel things though...

I feel sadness that he wasted 44 years of my life and 20/21 years of my children's lives by choosing not to make any kind of effort to be a part of them. Oh sure, he would pop up from time to time but he wasn't a regular part of our lives or even really a parent of any kind. He wasn't someone I could turn to and that makes me sad.

I feel anger because I've had to separate myself away from that side of my family because he was so toxic and make it so I didn't feel as if I could trust any of them. After all, "your father's family likes to drink and smoke (pot)." That wasn't an environment to bring up my children in and that put an even larger wedge between us because he thought that I thought I was too good for them. Not too good, I just wanted better...and to have ever had to defend that makes me angry.

I laid in bed last night and was thinking about the last time that I saw him. It has to be 9 years ago now or so. The boys and I were in my parents house, down in their living room. We had spent the day cleaning out my grandmother's house and my mother reluctantly let us spend the night at their house so that they could get my help the following day. I should point out that this is after she insisted we bring our own food because she wasn't going to feed us. I should also point out that I brought over enough really nice chicken breasts to feed everyone and they were mad at me because I didn't know how to use their grill to also prepare them for everyone. Yep, you read that right. She insisted I not only bring food, but I prepare it for everyone. Anyway, the food was ready and we three were waiting in the living room for my mother, father, and brother to get their food so there'd be room for me to make plates for myself and the boys. There was a pass through window between the two rooms and we sat there as my father said horrible things about I was lazy, a user of people, and I don't even remember what else. It upset my children and it hurt me badly. My uncle had to "bribe" me to spend the night there so that he could get my help the next day. Of course, the next day, he didn't come through on his word and I discovered Roger had picked up head lice from their house. 

But that was the last time I really remember seeing my father. I expect that he was at my grandmother's funeral, but that day is kind of a blur. All I remember was that my children and I stood by ourselves before the funeral and were essentially ignored.

My father had ample opportunities to make any kind of effort. I haven't moved in eleven years. My phone number hasn't changed in basically that long. I'm on social media. He had numerous ways that he could have reached out. I can almost hear his family saying, "You could have reached out too." Yes, I could have but why should I have? He was the one who caused the damage. He was the one to start hurting me from the time I was a toddler and he let his girlfriend beat me and I'm pretty sure almost drown me in the bathtub. I have ptsd that stems from that and I've had to work hard to not have certain things freak me out. 

So, how do I feel now that he's gone? Sad, tired (so tired), angry...but mostly, I feel empty. There's a hole where a father should have been yet never has been and now never will be. Perhaps his three other children will mourn him, but I think I did my mourning in bits and pieces over the past 44 years. I don't have anything more to give him. As I said when I decided to go to my diabetes education class last night instead of staying home...He didn't take care of me in life, certainly won't in death so it's up to me to do what's best for me. 



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