Sorry for the long silence. Things have been a bit rough and I haven’t been able to write. This was written last year, but I felt too vulnerable publishing it. But now I think I need to, to help me as I try harder to stay in the present and not obsess over the past or worry about the future.
“All you had to do was say you’re sorry. I would have forgiven you.” Postcard on http://www.Postsecret.com
I didn’t become an orphan in the usual way, where both parents passed away at the same time. No, that label took 16 years to take hold, the first parent leaving when I was 13, the other parent leaving when I was 29. One left by choice, the other by circumstance.
The one who left by choice was the man who helped my mother have me. When he decided she wasn’t enough woman for him and walked out to be with his girlfriend, he turned my world upside down. I was 13, already dealing with hormones and body changes and mood swings and I didn’t understand. I was angry, and felt forced to spend time with him and felt like he didn’t want to be with me either. Then one day when he dropped me off after a particularly awkward “visit” he said, “I was never a 13 year old girl. I don’t know how to relate to you.” And those were his last words to me.
I have tried through the years to contact him because I couldn’t bear to not be in his life. I realize now he should have tried to contact me, because he couldn’t bear to not be in MY life. My college graduation, my first marriage, the celebration of earning a Master’s degree. I wrote so many letters, some I sent, some I didn’t because I was upset and afraid to send them, telling him, begging him, to come to these events, that nothing from the past would matter. And no response. I don’t know why I kept trying, to be honest. Maybe I thought he wasn’t getting the letters, that his new wife was intercepting them so if I kept trying maybe she would relent or he would get to the mail first. Then his mother died and the obituary said she was survived by one grandchild. I was the oldest of two. But though that hurt me, I still had hope that he would find me and say he was sorry, can we please start over and try to fix our relationship. And I would have!
But then on whatever day I had the service for AngelMom, I knew he would do something to show that he cared for her, for me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted him there, it would distract from her if he did come and probably upset me more, but I hoped he would at least send flowers or a card or something. Again, no response, on the day I most needed one. Maybe he didn’t know where I lived but he could have sent something to the funeral home! So that is the day I decided he was dead to me and I was officially an orphan.
But deciding I was an orphan didn’t turn off the feelings completely, I guess because the mind knows you’re lying to yourself, that it’s not factual what you believe. Two months later I married Mr. G, and then a little over two years later I had Peanut, and then four years after that I had Bird, and through all these years I would see him around town. I so wanted to go up to him and say, here are your beautiful grandchildren that you will never have the joy of knowing! I looked just like him, he would always know me right? Of course he would! I never went up to him because I was afraid he would pretend he didn’t know me, and by rejecting me again he would reject my children as well and they didn’t deserve that. I couldn’t bear that. So I kept quiet and made myself miserable.
What’s funny is that those hateful last words put me on a path for what I thought was normal male behavior. Three boyfriends followed after he left us, one almost turned into a husband, and one did turn into a husband, and they all felt that I wasn’t enough for them and found another woman, yet I felt it was my fault. I was a teenager or in my early 20s, I didn’t even know who I was or what I wanted, how could it be my fault???? Did any of them really love me? I don’t know. It made me distrustful and guarded and reluctant to love.
I did have positive male influence in my life, and I appreciate those men who were or still are in my life, and the new men who have accepted me as family! But it’s not the same as the blood relationship and believe it or not, Father’s Day is almost as unbearable as Mother’s Day! It’s the same ache, same jealousy I have watching other women with their mothers. My children will only have Mr. G’s parents as grandparents and that makes me sad. But unfortunately there is nothing I can do about that. I can’t try anymore. He doesn’t want to be in my life. I have to accept it. And yet, I will still think of him today and wonder if he thinks of me too. I can’t help it. I wish I could. He has hurt me enough.
To the man who helped my mother have me: None of this is my fault. It’s yours. All you had to do was say you’re sorry.