honestly do not recall remember the last time I reached out to dad. It’s written down somewhere and it really does not matter. I have sent many letters and pictures of my life to dad over the years, doubting if he ever received a single one.
I have made numerous calls, sometimes not leaving a message. Then that day came when his phone number became unlisted. I could no longer call.
There were times I stopped by dad’s home for a visit. Each visit became less comfortable than the one before. Soon after my brother’s funeral, my visits to dad’s were halted. I was informed, any visits from me, would be by invitation only. (still waiting for that invite, dad)
The years rolled on. Dad became nescient of my existence and yet, I was always aware of his. You see, at some point in ‘time’, my dad became a prisoner of his world, banning me from it. I needed to find a way to be okay with this vision of an invisible father, who was as visible as the earth I walked. Perhaps one last letter to him. A virtual one this time.
I have taken many strides over the years to remain in your life. I did not abandon you as I feel you have been led to believe. I love you dad. Always have. Always will.
Dad and I were very close in my childhood years. I was the little girl he had always wanted. I was that pregnancy, which the doctors said, could not happen. When my arrival day came, there were complications and doubts of my survival.
And yet here I am, over half a century later, doing what I feel I need to do. Taking my final step, to being okay with this part of my life. It is time to let it all go. Time to start a new history with this new ‘now’ moment. Every moment, is a new ‘now’ moment.
You were always such a strong father. I had no idea how vulnerable you were, until the day mother died. I know you loved her deeply. I watched a piece of you die with her. Something inside of you changed. You began to drift away. Dad, you need to know, I hold you in my heart. Always have; always will.
What happened to our relationship is still a mystery to me.
Forty some years ago at our last family reunion, family members could not understand the fact that dad had ostracized me from his world. The more we talked among ourselves,(dad obviously did not attend) each and every one of us realized, we had each been shunned from his world. It was not just me. Even his favorite sibling, was ousted without a word. There seemed to be a direct correlation with the death of my mother and dad’s new bride. And in some sad way, all of that helped me to cope with his absence, over the decades.
Our last visit was beyond memorable.
At the time of our last ‘visit’, Dad and I lived in the same area. We worked in the same town, shopped the same stores. Our paths would often cross.
It was 1989 and I was at one of the highest pinnacles of happiness in my life and I wanted to share my joy with dad. Certainly this will help him to be happy again, I thought. So I went to pay him a visit at his office.
That visit went nothing at all like I had planned. In fact, I sat silent as he said all kinds of hurtful things to me, in his extremely stern tone and mannerism. I never did get to share any of my joy. When he was done, I simply got up and left, with tears flowing and a confused, broken heart. I knew, this was the last time dad and I would ever be in the same room together.
What happened to our relationship?
There are many factors that play into this whole scenario, which I am not going to indulge in. There is no need, as far as I can see. I have already made every excuse in the book for dad’s absence. What is done, is done.
Through the “grapevine” (over 10 years ago), I learned that dad was alive and doing fairly good. I was given his phone number, and a message that dad wanted to talk with me. I was told that dad did not understand why he had not heard from any of his family over the years. When I heard that, it broke my heart and yet, I could not muster up the nerve to call. I was not ready to face another possible rejection. I held on to his phone number for a week, before I worked up enough courage to call.
I dialed his number…
… and the phone rang. She answered. I recognized her voice instantly. I announced myself, greeted her kindly (she knew who I was, we were not strangers) and cheerfully asked to speak with my father.
I was not prepared for the cold-hearted response as she said, “You got wrong number!” and hung up. I sat there, numbed, listening to the drone of the dial tone…
Dad, in closing, you have taught me many wonderful things in the few years we had together. The one that has honestly helped me the most in my life, are your four wise words: “Always expect the unexpected.”
Your loving daughter…