Saturday I got the call.
I knew this day would come eventually, but I never expected it to be now. My head felt like it was going to explode, I was sick to my stomach all night long… but the whole time, never shedding a tear and obsessively feeling a lot of… nothing at all.
To say our relationship was rocky, is an understatement at best. We had our ups and our downs from the start. You were not at the hospital the day I was born, and you moved hundreds of miles away when I was just 4 yrs old. Still we did TRY for those “Up moments”.
I remember us going to Disney. I remember going to park, playing on the swings and yelling “higher higher”, until I accidentally fell off- injuring my front teeth. You were so scared my mother was going to kill you… and I think I was too because even with my non-existent low tolerance for pain I pretended to be ok. I remember your birds, one that you named “Cory” after me. And every time I see an Andes Mint I think of your parents house (But what is that about anyway?)…The problem is, the fond memories I have aren’t enough. There are maybe 2 handful for my childhood, none for my adolescence and maybe a handful from my adulthood..We did try though didn’t we?
I was only a child when it all started, no control over what would become of us, but the foundation from the start was clearly not promising. So how could you expect so much from me as an adult? How was I to include you in my family, when you never included me in yours? I tried too, I did- but there was such a disconnect with us. I mean even with your spotty involvement in my early childhood, there were 10 years after that you were no where to be found! (and some of those years were the toughest of my life so far)
I know you felt bad about it all in retrospect. I could see it in your eyes the first time you saw your grandson or when you watched my mother walk me down the isle. I know how badly you wanted to take it all back and make it right, and we both struggled inside trying to make that happen. We did more holidays together, you came to birthday parties, but for me it never came naturally, nor was it really “normal”…. and I believe deep down inside you understood that.
Last we spoke it was your father that had passed away, he had been in and out of the hospital for 5 wks (unbeknown-st to me) and you called to TELL me in a rather HARSH tone that you would “APPRECIATE” my being at the wake (Why did you talk that way sometimes? Do you have any idea how small it made me feel?). As annoyed as I was with the way you spoke, I told you to give me the information when you had it – and you never did. In fact, you never called me again. I know I could have called you for the wake information, but I was SO mad at the way you spoke to me (as you had so many times before) I even purposely left out the “I love you” at the end of our conversation to let you know how annoyed I was (Yes, I am a bitch) I know it wasn’t the right thing to do, and because of (or so I assume) how angry you were – you never saw your granddaughter on her Christening day as you were suppose to,…. you never saw her at all.
I knew (as we all did) that you were sick, but you never really let on to the seriousness. Always sounding upbeat & positive… always sounding like it was all under control and never mentioning how your days might have been numbered. Maybe if I knew, I’d have handled my anger better… although I know that’s really not the answer
I just can’t get over how you were in town for Christmas, 10 minutes from your grandchildren on what would be your very last Christmas ( Ironically, my princess’ first) and you never saw them. I spent last night atyour family’s home going through old pictures (Yes, I know they are my family too… but I’m not sure all of us were ever officially given the memo). I knew I would be getting some disapproving stares at your services this week- So, I thought in addition to helping me come to grips with reality, going there would help break the ice. Going through the pictures I felt like I got to know the better side of you a little more (Sad that it had to be through photos).
It was the first time Id ever seen a baby picture of you, and to my surprise my son bares such a resemblance. Did you see that?
It was obvious, the tight bond you shared with your family. There were pictures of probably every Christmas you ever celebrated, you building snowmen with your nieces and nephews, pictures of family weddings, baptisms and just “any-given- Sunday” BBQs… in each picture you looked so happy, so fulfilled. So much different than the man I saw in more recent days with empty eyes.
Seeing it all was bitter-sweet, but possibly the most upsetting to me was to go through picture after picture, only finding one with me in it.. when I was 12! It was like looking at life if I never existed… but I guess that’s because to that part of your life.. I didn’t.
As they pieced together your memorial collage, including some of the pictures I brought.. for a moment I looked at it and thought- the only dysfunction in this whole family is me… and our relationship… which I guess is why they never bothered documenting it?
I know you are not alone at fault, I do.. but I also know that having children of my own- I would never allow for anything less than the best for them. I never want them to look at boxes upon boxes of pictures of my life and never find a single one that sparked a memory of a happy moment together with me or with OUR family.
This moment for me has been BIZARRE.. and although part of me feels that Im lacking emotion, my words, confused thoughts & regret of not being able to make you more of a part of my life are overflowing.
Saturday I got the call, and today I will say Goodbye. I love you, Daddy.