The Past...

by - Friday, December 19, 2008

I am going to warn you all now... this is not a happy post. The reason I am even writing it in blog format (and haven't decided quite yet whether or not I will actually publish it) is because I find writing here cathartic... not because I want or need pity. If someone else can read this and realize that they aren't the only ones with these feelings, then perhaps I have done something to help someone else.

I received an e-mail from an Aunt that lives in England this morning. Apparently, it seems, my father has 2-8 weeks to live as he is dying of lung and esophageal cancer. This would be the same father that I haven't talked to in over 15 years. The one that has caused so much pain in my family with his selfishness, lies, deceit, spitefulness and inability to act like a father - or even an adult in many situations. Oh - and the fact that he abandoned us 15 years ago still kind of gets to me. I had written him off long ago, but I know that my brother had to deal with his disgusting antics until only a few years ago. And that has made my brother a very angry young man.

And now he is dying. And wants my aunt to pass on his phone number to me and my brother. For what? So that as he is dying he can think that everything is okay and that I forgive him? I think that it extremely cowardly to have him do this... to put me in this position while he is on his deathbed. Not once in 15 years has he tried contacting me, not once.

If I decide to contact him, he is going to have to listen to me. An angry me. One who will tell him like it is and one who makes sure he knows that I am contacting him only so that I have closure. One that doesn't want to listen to what he says... because I don't want to listen to crap being spewed from someone who never cared enough to contact me for 15 years.

But then, as a good friend told me, you can't have a one-sided conversation. If (and there is a big if there) I decide to contact him I have to allow him to talk. Whether or not I feel like what he is saying is crap or not. I also don't want to be the angry me. I want to get my point across, to say goodbye and while I can't even comprehend why he did what he did to us - tell him that I am sorry he is dying. I want to be the mature me, the one that although I am angry for him walking away so many years ago, feels like my life was actually better without him involved. A double-edged sword.

I have often made mention of the fact that even though I am in my 30's... that I am the kid in this relationship - my father is the adult. And my mom probably said it best today... that every time I have to deal with issues surrounding my father (which is luckily very rare), I get taken back to the 15-year-old version of me... because even though I have grown up... that is the last time he was a part of my life. My mom is a wise lady who was obviously shocked when she got a call from me at 8:30 in the morning crying and telling her that the man who made her life miserable for so many years was dying... and who after everything she went through with him said that she could never wish cancer on anyone. A wise lady indeed.

I think that is all that I need to say for awhile. I don't know what I am going to do just yet... whether I decide to call him, write him a letter or send my aunt something to read to him on the phone - or just let it stand as it is now with no contact. This is not what I wanted to be dealing with this time of year. Or any time of year for that matter.

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  1. I totally hear ya on writing being a way of thinking things through.

    What a big decision - whatever you decide will be the right choice.

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  3. Anonymous11:38 AM

    I'm going to try and keep this many things ran through my mind when reading this. First of all, let me extend my sympathies for this and the other, as you put it, "crap". I know you've written before that you didn't have contact with your dad and didn't want to hear about how other people wish they could have had a relationship with their dad, and now it's too late. Part of that applies to dad died 7 years ago. And, as with any quick passing, there are things that are left unsaid. I was a HUGE beotch to him (early twenties can do that) and carried around that guilt for a long time- probably still do to some extent. Enough about me, but just wanted to let you know I empathize with the situation. I don't know what your dad did, and I don't need to know, but before my dad died I had told him on several occasions that I had no respect for him and at the time I didn't. He had turned into something I didn't recognize as my dad and I couldn't handle that.
    What I'd done with that guilt/anger/resentment/pissed-off-ed-ness has made me the strongest damn woman in my house. Do I wish I could have had one more conversation with him? Yes, but I also believe that I have since he's passed. Have I forgiven him for everything (there was much "crap" with him as well)? Yes, but only through some major praying. Yes, I'm gonna play my Jesus card here. "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Phillipians 4:13. I live by this, have it posted on my fridge (under my "people are crazy" magnet) and am soon tattooing it on my body. Moral of the story: you can find the strength to do whatever it is you need. You have to live the rest of your life with what you don't have to forgive him now, or ever. If you didn't give a damn about him, it wouldn't be something you felt so passionately about that you called your mother crying.
    Good luck. Sorry for the novel.

  4. I wrote a huge long comment (you don't know me, but I share "dad" sentiments), then this f*cking blogger lost it. So, maybe you didn't need to hear my ramblings. Rather than rewrite it all, I'll leave this. I wrote it on my own blog awhile back ...

    " does me no good to carry this resentment. I haven't 100% forgiven him, but I think I'm on the right track. I just had to re-assess what the meaning of forgiveness actually is. I always thought to forgive was the same as saying "it's OK what you're off the hook". It took someone very wise to help me understand that what it really means is "this is too big for me....I turn it over to a higher power".