Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Because I can't think of a title, this'll have to do

It's another rainy day here in the delta, but for a change, it's below 80 degrees today. Dare I wonder if Autumn has arrived? Even with these occasional hot flashes my body is protesting the 54 degree temps this morning by requiring that I drag my old flannel pjs out.

I called my Step-mom yesterday, because I told her I would, and I got no answer so I'm assuming since she told me she'd be there, unless there was bad news from the biopsy, that the news was not good. I am still at odds about how to handle the situation because there has never been a close relationship between my father and myself but the past many years it's been almost nonexistent. I've worried and pondered over my inability to put the past behind me and try to forgive him but finally came to the realization that it's damn near impossible to forgive someone who would never in a million years acknowledge the fact that he'd done something that he'd need forgiveness for.

The man is perfect and never wrong.

My father was career Air Force and was home on leave when I was born. When I was a few weeks old my first trip out of Arkansas was to be taken to Louisiana to return him to his station. From what I understand, my Mom and I spent time with his relatives or hers while he was away.

In 1956 he was stationed in Blythsville, AR (about 4 hrs north of here) where my sister, Paula, was born in Dec. 1956. I know we were in North Carolina in 1958 because my youngest sister, Terri, was born there. Very soon after she was born, he left for a tour in England where, without his family's knowledge, he met and began living with, the woman who is now my step-mom.

My mom learned of the "other" woman when he was stationed in MN in 60-61 because she found a letter telling him about the birth of my oldest step-brother in May 61. I don't know what transpired over this information but I do know that the summer of 1961 my father returned to England where he continued to live with, and have another son with, the other woman. My parents weren't divorced until I was around 10 which was in 1964. Some time after that, he married my stepmom. At some point during this time, my mother gave birth to my brother, Roger. He was not my father's and I don't know, even now, who his father was, but since my mother still went by my father's name, his last name was the same as ours on his birth certificate. It was a couple of years before a cousin informed me that Roger wasn't my father's child.

Please keep in mind that all of this information came to me secondhand because while I remember bits about living in NC and MN, I really had no knowledge of the other goings on and I'm only putting together fragments here. I do remember my mother telling me later that he never even supported us (even before the divorce) until she wrote to his commanding officer to request it.

I believe they returned from England in late 1965 or early 1966 because my father was stationed in MD at Andrews AFB for a year. My 2 sisters and I lived with them for a few months during the summer of 1966.

In 1967 he moved my stepmom to Arkansas and went to Viet Nam for a year and upon his return, in 1968, he was sent for another tour of England where I later joined them because my stepmom decided she wanted to see what it would be like to have a daughter since, by then, they then had 3 sons.

Since this was the longest I'd ever lived with my father, (add it up, previously he'd only lived with us just over 3 years of our life up till then) it wasn't until then that I found out why he had never been around. He just didn't care. My mother gave him 3 daughters when he wanted sons so I really believe my sisters and I were considered his mistakes. In May, 1970, while I lived with them, their 4th son was born.

He retired soon after our return to Arkansas in early 1971 and I gradually began to put bad feelings aside and visited them pretty often when they moved next door to my Grandmother who lived about 35 miles from me. We had somewhat of a family relationship but I always felt that it was more like the relationship he had with a cousin or other less close relation.

Even that relationship came to a halt in 1994. My brother, Roger, was killed in a car accident. My mother was ill and I had to help her with the funeral arrangements so I know the information we gave the funeral director did not include my father as a survivor. In fact, I remember thinking, when he asked for the name of Roger's father, and her reply was NONE, "How could you have done this to him all these years. He lived and died never knowing who his father was." However, either the director took it upon himself to rectify this (he'd grown up with my Mom's brothers), or my brother's drug induced, nutty, wife gave him different information, but the obituary came out in the newspaper and over the radio the day of the funeral and listed my father as a survivor of the deceased.

My father and stepmom called me with screaming accusations as I was dressing for my brother's funeral. I was pretty much accused of trying to "save face" because they claim I didn't want anyone to know that my brother was a bastard. I wasn't handling my brother's death very well at all and had been through a really bad time with having to help with the funeral arrangements and they chose the day we buried him to do this.

I gave up any thoughts or hopes that day of ever having a relationship with my father. For awhile, I thought that if he'd apologize to me, that I would try to forgive him, but when our mother died in 1999 and he wasn't there for us, it killed all hope.

A couple of years ago, his brother died and I saw him at the funeral home and spoke to him and he told me he was sorry. I knew these words were empty when I saw him a couple of weeks later and had 3 of my grandchildren with me and he never even spoke to them.

So. What now?

Am I supposed to put it all behind me and pretend that we're one big, happy, family now that he's ill?

I don't think I can and it bothers me because I don't think God will forgive me because of it.

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