This will not be pretty. There will be mounds of pain, some my fault but mostly not. It doesn't end in happiness. In fact, I don't think it even really ends at all.
Memories from early childhood are very tricky. They come in flashes with different emotions attached to them. A tantrum I was throwing at the sliding glass door because my mother left me with my grandmother, again. The smell of roses that I loved to pick with my Mawmaw & Mamaw Ginger. My senses on high alert because I was always somewhere new and unfamiliar. Then there are those memories that are so far imprinted deep in your brain that you can recall the wallpaper, the smell of dirty dishes, what time it was and everything that was said.
"Why are you staring at me like I'm a fucking ni××er"? My father asked me this as he's crossing the kitchen to get something to drink. My mother was coming out of the bedroom as well and I had no idea what he meant by that comment but I knew I didn't like his tone and it scared me. I was digging in a box of cereal trying to fix my own breakfast. I remember thinking to myself that it was odd seeing him with only boxers on. I'd never seen him like that before. Apparently my face gave away my thoughts and that's where the nasty question came from. This is the very first memory I have of my father. It wasn't Trick or Treating, playing dress up, or learning to ride my bike. It really doesn't get better for the next 25+ years.
My parents didn't stay together, big shocker there, right? Throughout the years I accumulated 4 stepfathers, 3 half brothers, 1 half sister and 3 step-sisters. I suffered years of molestation from one step family and was gang raped by a different stepfather. My sense of worth, acceptance and love were all a far away dream. I have struggled with various things throughout my life. Mental illnesses with myself and my mother. Teen Pregnancy. Rage. A yearning for a loving, caring parental figure. Physical & Mental abuse. Drugs. Alcohol. Men. All that time I wanted a daddy. A daddy to wipe away my tears, to drop me off at school, teach me how to drive, take pictures before Prom, walk me down the aisle and meet his grandchildren. I never did and still don't know what genuine love is like from a male role model. So when you picture my soul, it's more like a mixture of black nothingness, anger, bitterness and a pack of Fire sauce from Taco Bell.
Contact by me to him has been attempted. Mostly wound up as sad phone conversations that ended in tears and unanswered questions. I went to visit him once and it was quite obvious I wasn't going to continue to be a part of his life. I turned my dead hope into cold, hard hatred. No man could be trusted and no potential suitor would ever really make the cut. I'd hurt them before they could hurt me. Every problem was blamed on him. I'd hear people that knew him talk about how he was just in town or that they'd just spoken with him. Silence. No response was my response. He missed both of his grandchildren being born. I purposefully got married at the courthouse in New Orleans so I didn't have to walk down any aisle by myself. He's never visited my home and has never met my husband. He'll never know all the pain and suffering he's caused me. He'll also never know that because of him, I'm a damn good parent, protective of my children and their surroundings and I've got a fight in me that no one will ever top. That's sad news for him.
Today I got that phone call. The one I've been preparing for my whole adult life. I had it all laid out down to what I'd say and what I'd do when this happens. He's in the hospital, on a ventilator in ICU. Pneumonia and cancer. Not long to live. I'd like to say that my compassion kicked in. That I booked a flight right away, packed a bag, took the kids to my relatives and got there as fast as I could. That I ran through the airport and got a taxi to the hospital. Sneaking in his hospital room with pictures of my boys and whispers of "I'm sorry, I love you."
This ain't the fucking movies. None of that will happen. No apologies. No last words of closure. There will be no reconciliation. My presence won't make him better and his apologies won't change anything.
He will be now and forever what he's always been. Dead to me.
The only Father I claim is The Lord and he's the one that does the forgiving.