My Father was a man I barely knew…
My mother and my father had been together a decade and I barely remember him.
I remember him being abusive, hitting my mother and my siblings. I remember him shouting and breaking things and making us all feel terrified. I remember running away and hiding in my bedroom while my older sisters tried to shield us from my mother’s screams. Her cries…her hurt.
I know, I am stupid.
I love a man who hurt my mother and my siblings. I love a man who scared each one of us and I felt horrible about it. I could not hate him. No matter how much I replayed the arguments and his firm hand, I could not find it in myself to stop loving him.
He was kind at times.
When he wasn’t drinking and things were going alright for us, he was a jolly man. He loved to dance. He loved to crack jokes and was the life of the party. He was silly and his laugh was contagious. He was the kind of person to randomly come up with an idea and we would just go with the flow. Spontaneous.
He loved to learn. He was a reader and he loved to figure out how things worked. The man liked to keep busy with a conversation or with a new project. My mother would say I remind her of him. I have his laugh and I have his curiosity. I have his reading addiction and I have his spontaneousness. I do not plan, I just go.
My mother never really spoke of him to me.
She kept everything about him bottled up from me. I understand. She was open about him with my older sisters and brother, but for me and my little brother? Not really much of anything.
My mother never kept us from him. He was allowed to visit us whenever he wanted. He was allowed to call us when he felt like it. He was not allowed to just randomly pick me up from school though. He tried that once and my mother went worried sick because he did not tell her he took me for the day. I loved that about her. My mother. She let us decide if we wanted him in our lives.
But the sad part was, he stopped trying.
I only saw my father a handful of times after the split when I was 4.
He never really came around. He had other things to do. My father was a con, whether he liked to be that or not, he was. He did things he knew were morally wrong and was not sorry until he was caught. My mother talked about it all the time. She did not like him doing that to people. He would steal, lie, and cheat.
I saw him in public places with his new Mrs. She was nice and sweet, I did like her. She encouraged my dad to see us and I was happy about that because I missed his skinny butt, but he never came around.
Instead, he moved away.
We knew he moved to Arizona and that was it. My mother kept the same phone number for years so he had no excuse not to call, but he didn’t. We found out his new number (his new wife’s number) and she gave us the number. My sisters were furious and wanted to cut all ties with him. My brother was still hopeful and my little brother and I were just figuring out school for the moment.
But I would miss him. I remember crying in bed crying into a pillow thinking “Why am I not good enough for him?” I felt abandoned even though I didn’t really know the guy. Isn’t that crazy? My mother would hate to see us without a father.
I did have a stepfather, but he was a tough love kind of father. He never asked us to call him dad because he was scared that one day we would hurt him by saying “You are not my dad!” when we got older. I respect him and I am glad he was my father figure. He is a hardworking man and he never EVER left us without. I love him.
This went on for years.
We all eventually went on with our lives. We would crack jokes about it. We would joke around with my 2 younger half siblings (we did not see them any different from the others, love them just the same) “At least you have a dad!” “Oh, you think you are so great because you have a dad.” We would laugh. Poking fun.
I would see dads drop off their kids at school and my creepy ass would watch. I could not help but feel my heart hurt, my stomach turn, and the tears threatening to surface. Some days it would not bother me. Others? I would hurt. Especially when I saw my daughter with her dad playing on the living room floor…
I would not think about him for periods of time and I would think about him a lot in others.
Daddy and Daughter dances, graduation, my band concerts, and other things that involved having a dad would crush me.
I called a few times.
I think we spoke about 4 times over the phone. He always got our names and faces mixed up. It was hard to not feel like crap when he called me my sister’s name. I would ask about him and he would go on and on about fishing, his life being hard, and how he wished he did more. I would feel good afterward because I have always wanted him in my life…but I know, deep down, he did not want me. Or so I thought…
The last time I ever spoke to him was in 2011.
I called because I was in a crisis. I was 16 and I needed to buy diapers for my little girl and the odd jobs that I was doing were not enough. I called to ask how he was doing and he congratulated me on my baby (he thought I was 21). I let it slide and we talked for a bit and he asked what was the matter. I told him I am struggling in school and I had no money for my daughter’s diapers. He said he would send me something to get me by. I was happy, I could hug the phone! I thanked him and collected the money at Western Union the following day happy as hell that I had my dad’s support. I was going on and on to my daughter’s father that I could not wait for this new life where my father would call and be in my daughter’s life. I was over the moon!
Until I lost his number.
My ex had his number on his cell phone and it just stopped working one day. I lost his number. My mom did not have it and my sisters would deny having it and told me that I should not talk to that scumbag. I searched for his number for years and I would ask and ask and no one gave it to me.
Ever since then I would just hope to cross paths with him in the future and he would be in my daughter’s life.
He died in August 2017.
I was talking over skype with my boyfriend when I got a message from my brother. He said my mom was crying and something terrible had happened.
My father passed away that morning.
I could not believe it. I spent years hoping for an adulthood with him and I was robbed of it. I felt my whole world crash and I could not help but let the hurt out. I then got a call from uncles I have never heard of before telling me the horrible news. Random people told me my father was dead.
I got off skype and I sat there for a minute to let it all sink in. He was gone. I will never hug him again or hear his voice. I would never have my father in my life. I wasted years without him.
I got a knock on my bedroom door and my older sister was there with her family and with one look we both burst into tears and sobbed in each other’s arms for a long time. I never cried like that in my life. It was a hurt I never thought possible.
The rest was a blur,
There were phone calls, tickets to buy, people to see, and all I could feel was nothing. I was numb the whole time. I was going through a dark time during that time and I could not feel anymore. I could not take it. I was DONE.
My siblings were fighting. There was drama and there were pictures passed around. We did not have much from him at all. I realized I loved a complete stranger.
The life he had in Arizona.
He lived with his new wife with a different name. He owed lots of people money and child support that he changed his name and birthdate. He was a different person.
At the funeral we met the people he saw every day and there were loads. People I have NEVER seen before and they were surprised to find out he left 5 children behind in California. He went fishing with the wife’s family. He treated her with respect. He was loved by EVERYONE there and it was all a shock to me. He looked the same to me. He had his wacky style and he still listened to the same music he did when I was younger. He just looked old in the casket and I felt every fear and every painful memory when I saw him.
I loved him. I really and truly loved him.
Despite the horrible past and despite what he did to my mother, I loved him.
People would pull us aside and tell us great stories about him, there was nothing bad he did. He was a whole new person.
At first, it hurt so much.
I was jealous. He was a good man to these people but not with us? Why were we not good enough for him? Why did he not take us fishing? Why did he abandoned us and came to be with them?
He was a good man to them and his wife that I was angry. Fuming with hate because I was so jealous. It was not their fault. I knew it wasn’t, but I still wanted to rip them in half for some reason.
They would ask how he was with us and we would all laugh and say we knew a completely different man. He was not the man they knew. He had a different name, a temper, a different birthday. He was not the man they were all mourning over.
I later found out that my sister had his phone number the whole time and apologized to me and asked me to forgive her. And later on, I found out the new wife of his took away our baby pictures from my father and told him to let go of the past and start anew with her. To forget about us and move on. He was told we did not love him and we did not want him. My sisters called him behind our backs and spoke to him on behalf of all of his children that he was not welcome. We did not want him. He dies thinking we did not love him. I found out he was happy here and he soon adjusted to his new life.
By the second day there, the day we said goodbye to him, I let it all go.
My brothers and sisters were brave the first day and when it came to the part where we had to bury him, we could not hold it in anymore. We all cried horribly like I have never seen before. I saw a different side to all of my siblings and I too felt a pain that I never knew.
It was a beautiful funeral. It was the best way to say goodbye. It all came together and we all came together and let it all go. There was not one ill heart there.
I made peace with it all. This was his home. This was his family. He had a wonderful life with these people. He did change. He was a good man at the end. He would be missed my hundreds and I am thankful for that. I was happy he found what he was looking for and that he was loved.
We took photos and we all told stories and by the end of it, we all just wanted to go home.
I wanted to stay and find out more about my father. I wanted to know what he did every day and I wanted to see where he lived…
But my sisters were ready to go, they have seen enough. They are the people to hold grudges and they were not fond of the idea of having my father being buried with a different name and different birthdate. They did not like what his wife did. They did not like the way we did not get our original birth certificates back and all of our baby pictures that my mother had always hurt about.
I am the person who is more forgiving and I wanted to give them all a chance and I was not allowed to I guess.
The wife gave us a piece of clothing each from my father, and she gave us his favorite hat and boots. She kept in touch with my older sister and calls us when she misses him.
We were not the only ones who missed him.
My mother did. She was in love with this man for years. She hurt just as much as all of us.
She is happily married to my stepdad and she will always love him, let us get that straight.
When I saw my mother talk about him, she would get giggly and would tell us about all the fun adventures they had. She opened up about him to me. She would say he loved to dance and she loved that about him. That was how they kindled their love for one another. You can see it hurt her that it all ended. You can see the love she had for him never really left, she buried it deep in her heart and did what had to be done. I do not blame her for leaving, she needed to. He was abusive to her and all of us. She did the right thing.
My strong mother put her feelings aside for our well being and she tried to raise all five of us on her own. It did not mean she did not love him. She loved him deeply, you can see it in her eyes whenever his name came up. I could tell she was ashamed of loving a man like him, but I know now that the heart wants what it wants. She never forgot the life she had with him.
I learned something from my mom that day.
I learned that she was not just strong for holding that love for years and held back, but life was full of sacrifices and we had to learn how to live with it all.
She never stopped loving him.
I still hurt today.
I miss him. I miss him so much that I think I will continue to miss him for the rest of my life. I keep a picture of him and my mother dear to my heart.
It is weird, to love a man I do not recognize and I do not remember his love and hugs, but for some reason, I feel them now. I feel it when I see his clothes and when I hug his shirt. When I pick up a book. When I listen to his favorite song. I feel it when I see a dad smile at his children. I see it when I see people dancing. I feel it when I lay down to sleep and I see his smile in my memories. I feel it in the stories people tell. When I look out the window on rainy days. Whenever I think of him. I feel his love. I feel it now.
He might not have been there for me, but I know he loved me. People tell me I was his favorite and we were inseparable when I was a baby. I was his princess.
I do not remember those memories, but I remember his love plain as day. I guess I subconsciously remember him.
I will keep on remembering him.
I love you, dad.