On My Father's Passing
I was saddened to learn about my father’s death in the newspaper earlier this week. He had a larger than life personality and lived what society would consider a wildly successful life. I imagine his funeral was standing room only.
Despite my numerous pleas for it to be otherwise, my father refused for us to be in each other’s lives ever since I married my now ex-wife and the first of our two daughters were born. Sadly, the pain of this was not a new experience for me. Since my father left my mother forty-four years ago when I was seven, I never had a secure place in the family he created with his new wife. Over the course of my life we’ve been out of each other’s lives as much if not more than we’ve been in them. Too often I’ve felt like the part of his past he’d like to forget, but can’t.
I’m glad that so many have such wonderful memories of him as a husband, a father, a stepfather, a grandfather, a business partner, a customer, philanthropist and friend. My memories of him are the ones only a son from his first marriage who felt loved in an obligatory kind of way, but moreover felt non-essential and disposable, could have.
Nobody else knows what it was like to be his son. Nobody else knows the pain of craving a relationship with him for my entire life. Nobody else felt the rejection I’ve felt from him. Nobody knows the physical and mental pain I’ve endured while you’ve enjoyed his presence. His obituary says “ He did it his way.” Well, given that and all he knows that happened to me, I did the best I could at being his son – and if I could have done it any better I would have. I shouldn’t have had to do it any better.
My life is already full of so much pain and the pain of finding out by accident on Google of his passing ten days after he died is excruciating and indescribable. The pain of not being able to say good-bye trumps only the pain of not being able to say hello. Mourning alone, this is the only way I have to express my love and grief.
There are parts of my father's life he buried and I could never imagine a good enough reason why. While his obituary states, “he was adored by his nine grandchildren,” he in fact had eleven grandchildren. There are two beautiful little girls, my daughters, he chose to never meet, to never know, to never love, to never be loved and adored by. Several years after my second daughter was born and my father continued to not want to meet or know the girls is when I changed our last name.
My father had so many wonderful qualities, however, like all of us, he had his flaws. Someone paid a price for everyone’s fond memories. His family and friends feel real pain at his passing. I know that pain well. I’ve been missing him for my entire life.