There are times when I become so jealous of others who have this wonderful father. I become bitter and angry even. It’s hard to listen to people talk about their dads. It fills me with a sadness and heartache that words can’t begin to express. I even become a little jealous of my kids who are lucky enough to have their dad. He does so many things for them. It just gets hard sometimes to watch. Like why couldn’t my dad be like him? What did I do wrong as a kid? Why did he leave? Why do others get a dad, and I’m stuck with nothing.
I don’t know if it would be worse if he was dead. Sometimes, it feels like he’s dead. The “good father” died a long time ago. But, my dad is still alive. He just chooses not to acknowledge me. He discarded my siblings and me because it became “too hard” for him to live with his guilty conscience. The shit he did to us, left us with holes in our hearts. My older siblings still are dealing with his abandonment today. Each one have their own set of issues, besides myself. It’s cruel to do that to a kid.
I couldn’t count how many times he canceled because of “work.” We’d sit up all hours, waiting for him to come. He’d never come. How many sport events, musicals, or events he was supposed to be there, but he never showed up. We would give him advanced notice, but he still wouldn’t come. It hurts. The man I grew up with was an angel and a demon. I remember more abuse than the good times.
This is true in my second book. The part where Rosalie looks out a window, and she sees a father and daughter bonding together… That was me as a little girl. I’d watch my best friends have these relationships with their fathers. They would laugh and play with each other. I remember this sock hop we went to for Girl Scout’s. All the fathers were there, dancing with their daughters. Where was mine? I don’t know. He was gone by that point. The father dressed up like John Travolta from Grease, and he looked the part. The girl and the father danced the night away. They were laughing and having fun. I remember feeling so alone, lost, and jealous of the girl. So many father-daughter things were required from the clubs or schools, and I couldn’t attend. If I did attend, my brothers or uncles would step in.
I was lucky that my brothers, who are older than me, stepped in. Mainly, the oldest brother. My Uncle Larry bought my sixteenth birthday cake. My Uncle George taught me about politics and religion. To think and ask questions. And how to play games like Monopoly, poker, and Scrabble. To think! Uncle George often corrected my speech and papers for English. Even today, I still struggle. He taught me how to fish the correct way. How to bait a hook. Even with all of that, it still didn’t feel the hole. That pain in my heart never left.
My dad, when he would come over for visits, was a very intimidating man. I would stress out when he’d come over. Then, my mom would have to deal with my wrath after he visited. I was a very angry and upset little girl for the longest time. Why did he do the things he did? Why? I’m supposed to be your child! How could you? How could you do that to my siblings? What did we do to you? Why were you such a damn monster? Why did you turn into that hideous beast, we were so scared of? I still suffer from nightmares today. I can’t make those go away. If I think about him, I’ll have another nasty nightmare. One where he tries to kill me. But he did threaten to kill us. That’s the scary part of it all.
I can’t bond with him now. I won’t let my kids visit him. They’re better off without him in their lives. They know he will make promises and break them. They don’t even know him at all. My oldest son is almost 12. He’s only seen my dad maybe 3 times in his life. And that’s when my oldest son was still a baby. My daughter has never officially met him either. He was there when she was born, but he hasn’t seen her since. It’s been 5 years since my dad’s last visit. They just assumed he’s dead. That’s sad. Even though my father isn’t the same father as he was 20+ years ago, there’s still a huge part of me that doesn’t trust him. I don’t trust anything he has to say. I don’t care what he has to say. Yes, he’s apologized… But, I still have nightmares from 20 years ago. A grown woman, still hiding from him.
I won’t let my children be alone with him. I don’t trust him. I don’t believe him. Actions speak louder than words. And his prior actions tell me to protect my children at all costs. You don’t leave the sheep alone with a wolf. My children are my world. Even in my most manic states, I always protect them first. That’s what you do when you’re a mother. Even if it’s from yourself.
But there are reasons why I’m glad I didn’t have my father.
- I didn’t have someone yelling about my clothing or makeup choices.
- I didn’t have to bring a date around to meet my father.
- I didn’t have to worry about being perfect all the time.
- I didn’t have to listen to his insane religious rants.
- I didn’t have to worry about being beat to death.
- I didn’t have to listen to his insane political rants.
- And I didn’t have my head filled with lies about people, whether we are different gender, sexuality, race, religion, or political affiliation.
My father wasn’t the best dad to have. But in other ways, I’m glad I did have him. Why? Because he taught me what kind of man to look out for to avoid.
As for my children, their father (my husband) is beyond excellent. He has compassion, love, and empathy. He hugs and kisses our children at night. He reads them a bedtime story. My dad never did that. He plays video games and board games for hours with our children. My husband keeps my children and myself safe at night. And I’m lucky enough to have someone who is willing to deal with the damage my father left behind. Even my husband wants to throttle the man who abandoned and abused me.
My mom asked me a question… “Are you going to show up for your father’s funeral?” The answer is no. I’m not interested in anything he has to offer. I’m not interested with being forced to the back row by my wicked step-witch. I’m not interested with my witnessing my name or my siblings’ name purposely left off the flyers as his children. My dad was evil, but my stepmom is much, much worse. She continues to be a liar and master manipulator. I don’t care about his money. I just don’t care for the man, I know nothing about. We’re complete strangers, and I’d like to keep it that way. My real dad died many years ago. The man that he was, died a long time ago. I grieved over that man. Not this man. This man is still evil, and I’m still afraid of him. He can say that he found God all he wants, but I don’t want any part of his God. That religious manipulation did me in. The way his family cornered my sister for a damn exorcism… I’ve never forgotten that. She was scared, terrified, and upset. You don’t do that to people with mental illnesses. You don’t lie and tell them they are possessed by demons. The demons he created himself.