Father’s Day from an Orphan’ s Point of View

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.

Miss You Monday

Dear Mom,

I have always been fascinated by the spiritual realm, but I never really paid a lot of attention to it until the day you became a part it. My worst day happened 15 years ago yet I still reluctantly remember every moment of it, and now I think that day and the 5,475 days since are playing an important part in my future as I am compelled to write about them. Those days have certainly shaped who I have become, forcing me to become a grownup. I have always felt that I didn’t just show up that day as a coincidence, but that you knew you were leaving and called me to you, holding on until I arrived. Thank you for giving me that gift, it brought me an immense comfort then and still soothes me now.

You were always a very strong woman, and I appreciate that now, though it caused us to butt heads too much. But now remembering the coincidences of my worst day and realizing that I have been making decisions that seemed random but have led me further down the path to writing, I believe that you have become even stronger while in Heaven and are guiding me to what is right for me. Some may say I am imagining the “signs” from you, and maybe I am, but if it gives me comfort to think that you are helping me reach my goals, that’s all that matters to me. I don’t care what they think, especially if they don’t know how horrible this loss is, and I need to hold on to anything I can to get through the hard times.

Mom and me with her other babies

Mom and me with her other babies

I started freelance writing a year ago, and started working on a book about being motherless. I began a cycle where I would write every day and submit for writing jobs and after many rejections I would become discouraged and not write anymore. Then I would be unhappy because I wasn’t writing so I would start again. The book wasn’t coming smoothly; writers are advised to write about what they know. It was what I knew and I thought there would be an audience willing to read it, but it just wasn’t feeling right. So I stopped working on it and focused on my blog about Peanut and my blogs for two business clients, but it wasn’t enough.

Then I found an ad asking for stories about paranormal experiences, and I wanted to tell the story of my worst day, but I worried that would upset you. Why it mattered, I don’t know, but it was important to me that I have your blessing and make you proud. So I told you I wanted to write about it, and if that was ok with you, please send me a sign, send me an email to my phone. A few minutes later I heard the notification ping that I had a new follower on my blog. I immediately wrote the story and submitted it, and then was selected to be published in a collection from authors across the country, one from every state!

Last month I decided to attend a women’s networking group, and after doing some research and reading about several other groups I chose one that meets near my house. I met someone with a home business who is also a successful writer with a local publisher! Why did I choose that group and decide to go to that meeting? It had been a suggestion on my performance review for over a year, yet I never did anything with it until now.

I found an article about the 10 best work at home jobs, and writer was on the list. No surprise there. The article had a link to a great resource for freelance writers with jobs, articles, and a discussion forum. Deep in the discussion forum there was a group for people who have had spiritual contact with their loved ones! I immediately wondered why there was a forum like that on a writing board, but then realized that I didn’t just find that link, you sent me there. After reading that I decided to go a different route on my book and now the words are flowing and I realize that the hour I have scheduled as my writing time every night flies by and I have to force myself to find a stopping point. It seems to be a lot of coincidences around me again, and I wonder, am I about to have another life altering event, though this time a positive one?

Mom, I get it, you want me to write. Believe me I am inspired now, and won’t let the rejections get to me. I feel I need to tell my story and that sharing my pain can help someone else feel less overwhelmed, lost and alone.Thank you for guiding me, I won’t let you down. This path will lead to good things, but it will only slightly soften the rough edges of the hole in my heart. But it shows me you are still there for me, and I need that, especially now when I feel like I can’t do anything right with my job or my children. Those are letters for another day, letters I wish I didn’t have to write because I could just tell you. I wish for a lot of things since you’ve been gone.

I miss you Mom.