I find myself oddly upset by the passing of the man who I knew as my father for the first 12 years of my life. The subject of this man and the other called "father" isn't an easy one. Neither deserves the title. The damage done by them both cost me my self esteem and sanity, and yet on some level I still pine for them both. Their love and acceptance.
This man that died was my step father. He was with my mother since my birth and I only knew him as dad. I was a daddy's girl. I have the pictures to prove it. Then one day he just left. He moved across town to some other woman's house. He became someone else's father. I found out later in life that they have his name. He never adopted me. He never looked back. Not a visit or a phone call ever again. He knew where to find me always; kept in touch with an aunt & uncle.
I suppose my sadness has more to do with the fact that now I know for sure I will never get an apology. I always figured at some point a person might have the decency to just reach back and apologize for the deep, lasting pain they caused. Especially since he died from ALS and had a slow decline. Often one wants to settle the things in life that maybe didn't sit right.
As a parent myself now I can't even comprehend doing this to a child. I would never leave my children behind. I have one adopted child and my devotion to him is even more intense than my own son because of what I went through. I think of how much I love them and just imagine the pain of just up and leaving one day.
Which leaves me to "father" number two. The matter of my biological father is even more complicated. I can see how maybe during those first years he figured I had a father and maybe he would just back off. There weren't the open adoptions back then like there are now where we can all be just one big, happy family. He has always known where I am and has made the choice not to know me. I had a relationship with his mother, my grandmother and sort of with him in fits & starts. I visited him a few times, wrote letters; some of desperation and some of anger. We took a trip once and he told me his side of the story. It always seemed like he wanted to know me but just never committed. Some people don't know how to communicate. I can almost never get to him because the real issue there isn't so much him as his wife. His wife is a small minded, hostile person who I think resents me because I represent my mom. When I was younger I think she was scared my mom would swoop in and take back her ex. I represented that fear, that connection. They don't have their own children. It seems they could have made a place for me. He could have. But he didn't.
So I spent my life confused. Hurt and rejected by not one but two fathers. I hid behind my weight. While I take responsibility for myself, my emotional eating comes directly from this issue. I consistently picked bad men who rejected me so I could feel it over and over again. The pain. The loneliness. Socially I became awkward and aloof. It made me angry because I remember the happy, regular little girl I was. The promise I had. At 44 I feel like I finally moved on. I came to know that I wasn't me it was them. I see that while my story sucks, some people have had it so much worse and I really should just put my big girl pants on and get on with it. And I do. I have an amazing husband that loves me despite my craziness. I have two wonderful sons. I have a life that is full of love and acceptance from the people that matter to me.
Everytime I have a feeling about either one of them, I try to immediately replace it with one about my mom and my grandmother. The people who did take care of me. The people who didn't leave me behind. The people who loved me and believed in me.
When my mom was sick,this man, this stepfather, visited her in the hospital. I was mortified. I was so protective of her, that when I found out he was on his way I flew over there, determined to banish him. How dare he go to her, the woman who he drove to a suicide attempt when he left us, at this her most vulnerable moment. She had had a stroke and couldn't even talk correctly. When I got there he was already gone but in her own way my mom told me to chill out. That it was ok. She had come to her own peace about it. It didn't matter to her anymore. Only I mattered to her.
So I am confused that I am sad at his passing. I never even considered that either one of them could die, but they are getting older. Even though I did my own healing, maybe it is the lost opportunity to close out those chapters. I guess through it all I always remained hopelessly optimistic. Silly girl.