In 11 days, I will be 47. My life hasn’t been easy, but who can honestly say their life was all good and always easy? Not many people. My parents had me when they were both very young. I don’t remember us ever being a happy little family. I have heard stories from both sides that things weren’t good. My Mom and I started living with my grandparents. When I was around 5, I had to go live with my dad and his wife. It was made obvious that I was not wanted there. I lived with my dad and his wife until I was 13. I was very happy to get out of that house. I never felt wanted or loved. If we lived in a house with a room in the creepy, dark basement, that was my room. I was told that I was to be seen and not heard. I was told that I was a “lunatic”. I was told by my dad’s wife that I was “an ugly little girl that nobody liked or wanted”. I was molested for years by a family member while my dad and his wife were just one room away. I always felt hated by my dad’s wife. When I was a teenager, if I called to talk to my dad and she answered, I would just hang up. My relationship with my dad was troubled for much of my life. I did not make it easy for him to be a part of my life and he didn’t make it easy for me to be part of his life. He never hugged me or played with me. He wasn’t that kind of dad I guess. As I got older, things got more and more stressed. I will admit that I was not the perfect child. I had a bit of a wild side and I did not like to follow the rules. In high school, I drank and experimented with drugs. I was a party girl and I didn’t think it was important to spend time with my dad, his wife, or my step-sisters. I got married when I was 18 and I asked my dad to drive to Idaho to walk me down the aisle. He said no. My step-dad did it. My Mom and I have always been very close. I often asked her why my dad didn’t love me, she would say that he did, but he just didn’t show it the way some dad’s did. By the time that I had my son, my dad and I had been through many disagreements, but I wanted him to be proud of me as a mom. I worked hard on the relationship between myself and his wife and we actually started to get along for the first time in years. I felt like I was a part of their family. They loved my son and were always happy to see him. Then I had my daughter and my dad’s wife treated her differently. She didn’t treat the kids the same, she made it clear that my son was favored. I wrote her a letter and told her that she needed to start treating them equally or she wasn’t going to see either one of them. That of course started a fight. They didn’t talk to me for several months. My dad wrote me a letter which I still have saying that he needed me and the kids in his life and that he loved us. It was the nicest thing he had ever said to me. I agreed to start spending time with his family again. The relationship was okay, but tense. We had family photos at the mall and his wife said for one of the shots she only wanted the “real grandkids” in the picture. I was hurt and angry and we left. I’m sure it was difficult for my dad to be in the middle, but anytime I complained to him about things like that situation, he always took his wife’s side. He never stood up for me.
I think it was 2008, my dad started coming to the day spa where I worked to get regular massages. He had some health issues that I was addressing along with a co-worker of mine. One day right as I walked into work for the day, I got a phone call. It was my dad, he said that he was sick and wanted to apologize for mistakes that he made in the past. He wanted to know if I could forgive him. It was very odd to get a phone call like that especially at work. As it turned out, he was really sick and ended up in the hospital. I went there to see him and was met by his wife who told me that I wasn’t welcome there. Her oldest daughter backed her up with rude comments. They even made it so that I couldn’t go see my dad unless I scheduled an appointment with them. At one point my dad’s wife tried to punch me in the face at the hospital for wanting to see my dad. When he got better, I tried to tell him what happened. He didn’t want to hear about it.
My dad and I have gotten a lot closer since then, we have talked often and about our past. He said things shouldn’t have been the way they were. Now that I am a parent, I see how easy it is to disappoint your children even if you think you’re doing the right thing. He has been calling several times a week and sending texts and Facebook messages. A little over a month ago, he got sick again and has been hospitalized. It’s like deja vu. The only way I can talk to my dad is by phone, but only when nobody else is at the hospital. If it wasn’t for my youngest sister, I wouldn’t be able to Facetime him or have any contact with him. I asked if I could go see him this Saturday, I was told no, because his other daughter will be there and I can’t be there if she is because she doesn’t like me. I wasn’t going to see her, I want to see my dad. I tried talking to his case worker only to find out that his wife has a power of attorney so she has a legal right to keep me from seeing him. I was told that he is dying and I am not even going to get to say goodbye in person to my dad. I’m so hurt and angry. I wasn’t a perfect child and I’m not a perfect person. I’ve made many mistakes in life, but what have I done that’s so bad that the right to say goodbye to my dying father has been taken away from me? I was told yesterday that I can see him, but only on their terms. I work and I just moved to a new state. I have limitations on when I can drive to see him, but they simply don’t care. I hope he knows that I love him and that I understand that it’s hard to be a parent. I have decided to remove myself from having any contact with his wife or his daughters. Trying for the past 47 years to be included in a family where I am not wanted or accepted is exhausting and I just cannot do it anymore. I’m not the type to give up on anything, but I don’t see any other option. I will continue to pray for my dad. I hope that he’s not in pain and that he’s not scared. Most of all I pray that he knows that I love him and I tried to be able to tell him that in person.