I want to share with you a story about my father. I want to share it because my depression is deeply affected by my family relations. The pain and hurts created a Pretend Girl who has been so very sad, so very alone and so very confused. Geee, a build up like that, who could turn away? 😉 I also want to share it because I think we are here in this crazy world to help one another. I want to share my story/stories and if you see part that can help you, I’d be so glad. I am going to write, to publish, to try to be a light in our very dark tunnel…
How do we know what are doing is what we should. No, not should because that is over the top. No one SHOULD DO anything. How do we know if what we are doing is getting us what we want/need?
My father… he … died recently. I didn’t know him. I don’t have any living person who knew him that I can talk to. My aunt gave me clues. My mother had a tumulus relationship with him. But does that matter? My father… he chose his path and it created a crooked, broken path for me.
My father told us he cut us from his will in 1982. I wrote him a letter telling him that was okay. I would love him anyway. And in my need to talk, talk to anyone, talk to my father, I tried to open up more. I told him I would love my mother even though she was suing him for back child support. She was suing him, not me I told him. What happened next influenced me to never talk about my feelings again. As a child, adolescent and young woman, never even felt them.
After he gets my letter, he says we are dead to him. He sends back my sister’s Christmas gifts that year. I ached and hurt. But I had no allies. Not my sisters. Definitely not my mother. I did not even have myself. I hid away the pain deep in my soul. And I backed away from everyone. Backed away from my mother. Backed away from my sisters. Backed away from the classmates that either teased me or ignored me. If it was only me, I was safe. But all of that, all the feelings, all the emotions was all I had. I didn’t have words because I pushed the thoughts away. I would not feel, could not think, therefore I could not speak words about what was happening.
I pretended it was okay. And I guess it was. I got along to get along. When the kids took my winter hat and through it up and over my head in a mean game of keep away, I told them: “That’s okay. It’s my sisters and I don’t want it.” They dropped in as fast as they’d grabbed it off my head.
So, this past Wednesday morning, my sister called me. Told me dad had died in his night in his sleep the night before.. She had visited him for 10 days and had left his nursing home on Saturday. I had not called my father on Father’s day. I wish I had. Ironically, a TV star, Dick Van Patton, father on the show “Eight is Enough died the same day. His character, Tom Brady was as much of a father figure, more maybe in an fantasy way, than my dad. (I saw him more, he was always giving his eight kids advice. And I think I am better for having witnessed this TV father.
But my father was the real father, I know. The last thing he said to me about two months ago: “Have you called your mother?” What? The woman you argued to the point of (almost!) blows? I told him yes. He told me I needed to.
When my sister visited him, she asked him questions. Do you know who Pretend Girl (inserted my name, of course) is? Yes. Do you have a message? “Tell her I love her.” My sister continued through my sisters names. Then she asked if he knew who B, my mother was. Yes he said. Do you have a message for her? No. She divorced me.
That was putting it mildly. But see, in the end the problems are reduced to one sentence statements and uncomplicated thoughts. I can’t believe the last two things I heard’ from him was a sort of closure. Closure for me because there was no more anger. There was no more pain.
As I thought about my father on Wednesday… about 12 hours after I heard… I thought what did I need from him?
Hmmmm, I had not considered that. He was just my estranged father for most of my life.
And I knew in an instant.
“Dad why were you angry? Why did you run away from us? What was hurting you?
“Dad, I love you. I know you knew that. That helps dad. But dad, what is life if one of the two most important people in my life was lost to me? It is okay dad. I know you loved me too. I remember the things you did when I was little. Walking through the garden, picking, eating pea pods. Fishing in the ponds you created- two of my sisters and me at one end of the huge net and you at the other with you throwing the feed into the middle of the net, you ready to scoop them up.
Oh, and dad. Thank you for never expecting me to learn to gut them. 🙂 Very thankful for the little things, dad.
Dad, I love you.”