this is a subject i never, or very rarely, discuss.
i do not know my father. i know of him, but i don’t know him. i have never officially met him, though i know that he has seen me when i was 2. so maybe i did “officially” meet him, but not in a way that i would ever remember.
i’m sure you won’t believe this, but that has never really been an issue to me. really. sure, there were times i wish i had one around but those were infrequent. i only wanted a father around in the conceptual sense, not really in the practical/actionable sense anyway.
actually, the only memories i have of wanting a father around involved father/daughter dances. even then, it wasn’t so much that i wanted a father, but that i wanted a male figure to take me to such a dance.
oh, there was one other time. when i was in elementary school i went to spend some time with my uncle, his wife [my other aunt], and their daughter [my cousin]. in this occasion we were on vacation in cape cod. my cousin would fall asleep downstairs while we were watching tv at night and he would carry her up to bed and put her to sleep. i never had this experience, so one night my cousin fell asleep and i faked the same. i wanted to know/feel what it was like to be carried up the stairs to bed, be tucked in, and sleep. it was a mixture of curiosity for the concept and curiosity for the feeling. i can’t say i gained much from the experience, but perhaps a glimpse into fatherly love. not sure. i don’t have a strong memory of the feeling, just the experience.
other than that, i have never had feelings one way or the other towards my father.
i have not longed to find him. i have not hated him. i have not loved him. i have really just had a void of feelings there. thoughts of him rarely crossed my mind. it was just a non-issue. he was a non-issue.
that was okay. i mean i tried to put myself into a mind-set that put me at some point down the road where i wanted to talk to him and i just couldn’t imagine it. it just was not there. i had no desire to talk to him. not out of malice or anything, maybe just out of disinterest. and all of that was okay. no big deal. really.
little did i know, that my mother’s death would open a pandora’s box regarding my father.
as i cleaned out her house, it started with a valentine i came across from him. it would have been from right around the time i was conceived. bizarre.
it extended to random letters and cards. mostly from not long after my birth. one was general “cockiness”. one was full of updates and sexual in nature [bizarre and disgusting]. one was this letter [above], not dated, but the context clearly showing a communication path that went beyond the first few years beyond my birth [something of which i was unaware]. and later it trailed to several other letters from my late teens. what the f*ck?
of my father i only knew a few things:
1) his name
2) his general location [a bordering town to my hometown]
3) he spent time in jail
4) i had not met him, but he came by when i was 2, much to everyone’s dismay
5) he had two other daughters [this is not completely a fact... just what i heard from the family]
but i had no idea that my mother and he still communicated after my birth. come to think of it, i knew nothing of their relationship. this never bothered me, but now i had evidence of some other dimension i could not piece together from what limited verbal communication was provided about my father and it didn’t make sense.
what to do.
i’ve thought on this a great deal and i still have no answers, but here are what thoughts run through my head.
should i contact him to find out? i almost immediately go to a resounding, “no” on this one because whatever he says about what happens, there is no way for me to visit the other side of it in my mother’s view. given that she raised me, that she was there, the story deserves that much. so if i can’t get it and i could only hear “his” side, then i am not sure i want it. i would always want to know her side and i just couldn’t get it.
should i contact him/them to know my family/siblings? many people who fall into our category of family would not be in our life if it were not for that moniker. falling into the category of ‘you can choose your friends but not your family.’ well, here i *can* choose my family. what if these people are not people i want to associate with? what if i open the door and i can’t go back? see, if he were the kind of man i would choose to have in my life, he would be the kind of guy who no matter what would contact his daughter. no matter what happened during the years with the mother, there would be at least one attempt of contact [letter, call, something] that would allow the child to know that you at least at some point tried. effort is everything. and there never was any. not to me anyway. none. a man who would be in my life would have done something.
so that really puts me back in the position i have been in all along. only now, there is this pandora’s box of information that my mother kept, that i now have to go through, that provides me a window into a life i don’t know. that i will never know. and now leaves me torn as to what to do.
i wish i could go back to my apathy.