not too late

Last month, I took a writing course with Alice Bradley, aka @finslippy and this was one of our assignments. To write about family.  A lot of the 'class' (we were all online) said that the hardest thing or the most taboo thing to write about was family. This was my homework and is part of what I am dealing with and processing at the moment.

Family.

I don’t have a lot of childhood memories. I dont’ have the 'big family Christmas dinner' memories, the 'super-fun camping in the mountains' vacation memories, or the 'mom and dad taking me to this or that sport or activity and cheering me on' memories.

I have 'packing up a house full of four kids and leaving while daddy is at work' memories. I have 'watching my daddy crying in the doorway of our new house because he doesn't understand why' memories. I have 'getting mad at daddy for reasons to this day I can’t even remember and promising never to talk to him again' memories.

I know there must have been good times in my life before {and after} these memories. I have seen the pictures. I know that my father was not a bad man. I know he was not a terrible daddy. I think he was a young one and that he was working hard to try to support his young and ever growing family and may have bitten off more than he could chew.

Or it could have been that it really was all my grandmother’s fault. My mother’s mother was not a fan of men. It’s hard to blame her really, when every single man in her life broke her heart or her body in unfathomable ways. It was her and her daughter against the world. So when this young man came into their lives and knocked up her one and only daughter, her PERSON, I think she panicked. And then slowly, over the next six years, like someone administering small doses of arsenic, I believe she poisoned my mother into thinking that he was just not good enough for her. That he wasn't a good husband, he wasn't a good father, and he wasn't a good provider.

So my mother left my father. With four kids under the age of seven.

And over the years of listening to my grandmother’s poisonous rantings, I too came to believe that he was the dead beat he was made out to be. Why didn't he call? Why didn't he want to be with us? What did I do to make him not want me?

My child’s mind made a rash decision at the age of 12 to never speak to him again. And the sad reality is that I truly did not speak to him until 11 years later at my baby brother’s funeral. And now, another whopping 19 years later, we still have not seen each other more than 3 times since that sad day.

My daddy.

 

My daddy who now has ALS.

 

And now I don’t know what do to?

 

He IS my father, but who is he really? A relative stranger to me and to my own children. Yet, his time on earth is limited. He is suffering and I am wondering why we have never 'fixed' this, why he stayed away and why I never asked for more from him?

And I am kicking my 12-year-old self for being such a fucking brat! And then again my 23-year-old self for being so god-damn selfish. Yes, I lost a brother that day, but he lost a CHILD.

Maybe I see this all more clearly now that I am a parent.

I have never spoken to him about ANY of this. About what he was feeling when mom left or why we stopped talking. We barely spoke when my brother died. I did not invite him to my wedding and I haven’t ever been to see him to introduce him to his grandchildren.

And now he is dying. A slow, painful, agonizing death that is going to rob him of his body and leave him his mind. A mind that is perhaps wondering all of these things as well.

I am a 40-year old woman and all I want is for my daddy to be just that.

 

My Daddy.

 

For what little time we have left.

 

This past weekend I spent some time with my father and we have started the healing of our relationship together. I just hope that we get the time we need to do and say all that we need to to each other, because in case you don't know, ALS is a cruel, cruel thief, robbing him blind daily.

Natasha~