Last year this time I was receiving a phone call from Florida. My birth father was dying. I had only met the man three times in my entire adult life. I didn't even know he existed until I was a teenager. And now I was the only person to call. Father's Day has always been hard for me. I never really had a loving father. To my biological father I was a throw-away, or so it seemed. The man who raised me was a sadistic abuser. As a child I would go to sleep at night and pray, not exactly for him to die, but for him to just not be there any more.
My son's father, no surprise, was a combination of the two. A sadistic drug dealer I had to sneak away from in the middle of the night. He called when my son was a bit older and said he didn't ever want anything to do with us again. No great loss, as he hadn't had anything to do with us to begin with. But I had hoped, until that point, that somehow my son would have his father someday. I didn't want him to grow up as I had, not knowing who his father was.
To be fair, a dear friend stepped in and became a father figure for my son. To this day he calls him Dad and his girls think of my son as a brother. I am grateful for his kindness, generosity, and genuine love for my son.
I know David was not the father he wished he had been. I did not know him then but I think he suffered, as so many men of his generation did, with working too much and trying to make a good living for his family, and not being any happier with his choices in those days than women were with theirs. In his old age it was one of his greatest regrets, that he had not been the father he wanted to be.
I'm melancholy today. No father, horrible father, father's death, my birthday, David's and my anniversary, all rolled into one great big fat week. YAY! I think mostly today, it's never having had a daddy. And not even knowing how, when I was twenty three, to find someone to fill that role for my child. I am grateful I learned as I got older, I suppose that is the positive in this. I wonder what I will feel in a few days when the trifecta hits: boom boom boom: birthday, father's death, anniversary. I am planning now to take some good care, but wouldn't it be enough to simply grieve one thing at a time? It doesn't seem to work that way. Life is kind of like a tangled necklace, all connected and wrapped around itself. Patience and deep breathing, when what I really want is to hand it to someone else and say, "here, you do it."