Friday, May 7, 2010

My Back Pages

This morning, I was watching an episode of one of my guilty pleasures on television. The show is a Bravo reality show and is one of the Real Housewives installments. Anyway, one of the women on last night's episode was dealing with a family health crisis. I know, who doesn't, at one point, deal with that. This hit me rather odd, though, because the family member was her father. The father that she has not seen, heard from, or even knows. She seems to have lived her life and her attitude has always been, it is what it is. She dealt with things and moved on. She got a call that he was ill and lived across the country. She went and spent what were his last days with him. One of her lines was that she was dealt this hand of cards and now that there was closure, she didn't have to look at the cards, again. Her father passed away right after this. I do not have her exact statement but that was the idea of it. I sort of sat there and paused the show. It is my life. And how odd to be staring at it on the television. And how odd to never have thought, before, about what will happen on the day that my actual father is no longer alive? It has haunted me all day.

I posted a while back about the fact that my father left. It was what it was, I moved on, dealt, and lived my life. I am not a cold person but I knew that when he moved on, he really moved on. He did't want to be a part of us, any longer. He didn't want to be a father. What else was an almost 8th grader going to do? I accepted it, I cried a bit, but he wasn't going to come back. He kept up a sort of pretense for a few years of being a dad who cared but he grew tired of even trying to be an every other weekend father. It didn't work for him and little by little he was out of my life. I could either sit and cry the rest of my life or I could get it together and explore my life on my own. I have carved families out of friends, I am lucky to have married Mr. Man and found a family that knows how to love. I am a mother and my greatest HOPE in life is that I have given my daughter all of the love and understanding and guidance that I did not have. People often ask me how I could walk away and not be bitter. It's a choice. You can let bitterness take over and eat you up and consume your life. Or, you can put the pieces back together and trudge on by yourself. Life is what you make it and I was making it what I wanted and what I wanted was to be happy. I figure that my parents married and had me and my brother. If nothing else, they were meant to be together, just for that. So, I went on my way and with each year, not seeing him or having a relationship got easier. Now, he is a man that I once knew through child eyes. He doesn't know anything about the adult me or really has no idea how I live my life or how I raise my child or how I love my marriage. But, I figure he was the adult, all of those years ago, and he made his choice and ultimately made my choice for me.

So, what really struck me during the episode of the show, was the question that I have never really thought about. What WILL happen on the day that he passes? How do you grieve the father that you don't know? And, would he even want you to grieve him? I don't know his other child. I don't know his wife. I guess I would just be the unknown girl standing by. After all, isn't that what I have been ever since he drifted off? The unknown girl just standing by and waiting? This girl got tired of standing by and waiting so she went and built frienships and relationships with people who really did want her. I guess I will deal with it when the day comes but it's definitely on my mind, right now...

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