Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I hate today. I always hated today. I dont have a father. I am so used to saying that, that it rolls off my tongue with no emotion. Sometimes people say the obvious: YOu have to have a father or you wouldnt have been born. Usually that was when I was kid and we had just been through 5th grade health class where we learned it took a mommy and a daddy. But I dont have a father. I had a father, but he was a jerk. He abused my mother and us and we left him when I was young. I still dont feel I have all the details. We had visits for a year or so after we left, but then no more. The last time I saw him I was 4 or 5. I have few memories of him but they are clear and not pleasant. I rarely talk about him to anyone, but his legacy is always with me. The empty part of my heart is never filled or fixed. The resulting negative impact on my mother he made, which she in turn passed on to us made it a double whammy of sorts. I see my loss and pain because of it. I see my sisters pain and loss because of it. I remember finding a book once in my mothers bedroom, it was called "How to Dad; a book for single mothers." I remember looking at it and thinking, that sucks she has to learn to be both. I hate Fathers day, I hate daddy daughter dances, and I am instantly jealous anytime I see a little girl walking with a man that may be her dad. I was driving home from work the other day and I counted 7 possible dads walking hand in hand with their small daughters, one on shoulders. I was jealous of them. I am not totally sure why the visits or talks with my dad stopped. I have heard a few stories: he was a jerk, he was not consistent, we (sissy and I) didnt want to see him anymore after him and his new girlfriend broke up, it was our decision... etc. And i worry that it was my decision. But who lets a four or five year old child and her six year old sister make that decision? I want that last day back. One of my memories was of the last time I saw him. We were in the parking lot of his apartment building, me in the front seat and Kim in the back. As we pulled into the parking lot, he told us that him and his girlfriend (Karen?) had broken up and she wasnt there. Then he asked us if we wanted to stay and we shook out heads no. Then he angrily began turning the car around and driving us home to my grandparents. I remember wanting the radio on so bad but knowing if I opened my mouth to talk I would cry. So instead I just sat there pointing at the knob on the radio. Thats it. Thats the last time. Its one of 3 memories I have of him. I have no pictures. I have no nothing. I have no stories. My sister and I have talked a fewe times about trying to contact him, but we dont know how and no one is willing to help us. I worry that if I try to find him, he may be dead and then I will freak out. I feel like I need to see him, I need to know he exists. I want to see my father. My mom used to say he would just mess up our lives and that he would wrek havok on all of us. He could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman holding white gloves or something. She used to ask me what I would even say to him and I said I just want to look at him for a few minutes. I said another time I wanted to ask why? Why didnt he ever try to find me? Her answer sometimes was that he had problems and his parents were bad to him. She said that he probaly has a whole other family. I want to know if he blocked us out. I want a chance to forgive him, even if he cant say sorry. I think that could fix that piece of me that tears me apart as hard as I try to push it down and away into the deepest part of my stomach. I am 28, I thought I would be over it by now. I thought i would lose that part of me that wants her dad. But its here. And I still HATE HATE HATE fathers day.

I was cleaning out a drawer in my grandma's attic awhile ago and I found this poem. It was on a crumbled piece of dirty lined paper in my unmistakable printing. I dont remember writing this, but its my feelings. I read it and it felt like home. I wrote it in 1999.

Oliver James

I had a dream last night
whilst all the rest slept
I've woken with a terrible fright

I dreamt of a ghost
Last night in this dream
not a hallowed terrific figure
but a ghost from the past.
I dreamt of my father
or rather, what he would be
what he should be
what he could be

He came to me in this dream
we did not embrace
even my dreaming, lying mind could not
concoct such an oddity
We merely just were.
As a father and offspring should be,
or as they 2 could be.

I didnt ask why never...
how could I finish that question,
2 fatherless children
1 husbandless wife
we made our own
the way it was

So in my facade
we just were
questions left dangling in the sparse air between us,
and I looked.

I looked at the man who I was,
whose own blood and life I possessed.
Whose disposition I rebuked.
Whose paranoia I fought every living day.
Who had caused me no little ammount of loneliness
Who I blamed for more than he could assume
the man who never knew me
but in this dream there was no bitterness,loneliness or sorrow
just a fullnes of heart
a rest of mind
my eyes could stop looking so hard
Finally, i was complete.

But then,
I awoke to the light of day
to find, NO
and then back-
back to wandering, wondering, waiting.
and back to the sadness in my heart.

Back to the bottom of the hill
so I could begin the battling ascent
back to searching the face of every man
for the one man I wanted the most
the one man who knew me the least
yet alluded me nevermore.


Marquis said...

I was watching The Simpsons yesterday and they had a Father's Day ep. and the lady on their who was a country singer for Homer previous seasons ago and she liked him and Marge was jealous... anyway the last time she saw her Father was 5 0r 6 and she didn't feel complete w/o him then she found him and they were happy but he left again and sold her song to the Dixie Chicks she was devastated then she learned she was complete on her own free of her father. So in the way Sarah you are complete free of anybody. And you were very lucky to have a man who was a father to you, your grandpa who loved you very much. So when you think of Father's Day think of the man who loved you the most and not "the donor" as you so eloquently put it once.

Aaron said...

All I can say is that I am sorry. I don't know too much about my father and I know how this has effected me as a father to my children and how it has effected me as a husband. So for this I am sorry. Thank God that He is a good father!

jenn said...

I am so sorry, too, Sarah, for what happened with your father. I don't know what to say when you look at those dads with their daughters and feel how you do.

As I told you once, I was young when your dad was in the family, and he could be disarmingly charming and funny. But then the bad stuff started. I was shielded from a lot of it, so I don't know all the stories. You might ask my mom about him sometime. She'll tell you honestly what you want to know as much as she can.

And while I think it's good to know as much as possible to get a clearer picture of a person that could have been important to you and make sense of the past, it can harm you if you don't know it and think you should. Look at what bitterness you now have for this day. What a fabulous legacy he's left. But it doesn't have to stay that way — he doesn't have to have that power over you. I like what Marquis said, to remember and honor Grandpa who was much more of a dad to you.