In April and May, I shared some experiences of what it was like. To grow up without a father. This is the last post focusing solely on the subject. In late 2009, we spoke for the first time. And finally met in April 2011. I don’t remember all the details of the first conversation. But. I do remember the tumultuous emotions. The total. And utter. Loss for words. Disbelief. I thought for a moment, I was being pranked.
So. Why did it take so long? Simple. I was scared. Of the unknown. My own reaction. Or lack of it. What to expect. Finding out if we’d get along. Yes. A part of me was elated. Because my wish was finally being fulfilled. On the other hand. The fear. And trepidation I felt, far outweighed anything else. A few months before I left for the UK to pursue graduate studies. I decided the time was right. It was premature. Because I wasn’t. So. I backed off. Couldn’t do it. Didn’t have it in me. Whenever I thought about meeting him, fear unlike anything I’d never known, would seize me. It was asking too much.
When school let out for Easter break, I decided to do it. The flight was longest of my life. As I made it through security, and finally through the doors that would bring me face to face with him. I knew there was no turning back. I willed myself into being strong and brave. I reminded myself, one of my life’s wish was about to come true. That many people never get the opportunity. And I was one of the lucky ones. I walked over to him. We embraced. Officially introduced ourselves, and started chatting away.
As it turned out. The first meeting went better than I expected. I’m sure we both had expectations. The time flew by. In a blur. We got along great. I guess like any relationship. We floated around in the honeymoon stage. I finally learned the origins of certain physical and emotional characteristics. The highlight of the visit. Will stay with me forever: for the first time in my life. I got to spend a birthday with my father. I can’t describe the feelings. Even now. Words fail me.
Right now. There are huge learning curves. For both of us. Behaviours and mannerisms to get accustomed to. No relationship is easy. More so the one in which I find myself. How do you catch up on more than 30 years? I won’t get into the reasons why he wasn’t there. Never once inquired about my well-being. Or sought me out. I’ve listened to his explanations. And my mother’s. And I don’t accept either. IMO. Unless the parent is dead. There is NO excuse. None. For not being there for your children. But. It’s the way my life turned out. No more crying. I’ve done enough of it.
If you’re reading this. And you’ve had a similar experience. Or. You don’t know who your father is. I know your pain. I’ve lived it. I know what you’re going through. Have lived through. It doesn’t get any easier. As the days and years come and go. There is always a huge abyss. The hurt can be unbearable. I know. Like me. You have struggled with issues of abandonment. Feeling unwanted. Of not being good enough. Yet. It doesn’t have to control your life. You might never overcome it. But you can learn to live with it.
Men. If you’re a father. And there is a child somewhere. Wondering where you are. A child whose only wish for Christmas is to meet you. A child who prays every night for you to come. GET IT TOGETHER. If you grew up without a father. You could be the father you’ve never had. On a more personal note, if you’re a woman. I also know how it feels to choose the wrong men. Over and over. As if you’re searching for a “father” to replace the one you never had. To learn painful lessons in love. Partly because the critical father-daughter relationship foundation. Was never established. I also know. What it feels like to walk down the street. Make eye contact with someone. Look for some sign of recognition. And wonder : could that be him? My father?
But you carry on. Keep trying. Do whatever you can to heal. And forgive. In parting. I can finally say. I am free of this tremendous burden. Of putting a face to a name.
Until the next post,