Judy Collins, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Collins “My Father”
Unlike Judy Collins I did not going boating with my father. I did not go to Paris with him either. I don’t remember us doing any traveling together at all. As a child I saw more of him at my grandmother’s house than our home.
My father did not abuse me. He never laid a hand on me. I don’t remember him touching me at all. He must have picked me up when I was child, I just don’t remember it happening.
He lived through hard times, the Great Depression and World War ll. He worked six, sometimes seven days a week to pay for my mothers medical bills, she had a bad heart. I can think of these reasons for his absence now. It was something I never thought of as a child.
I was born during World War ll. My father was in the navy, serving on a ship in the south pacific at the time. The first time he saw me I was over 1 year old. I have been told that when he first picked me up I cried. Our relationship never got any better. I went through therapy later and was told that I may have seen him as an rival for my mothers love. That may be true, maybe that’s just psycho-babble.
I know I loved my grandmother. Whenever my mother was in the hospital, about half her life, I stayed with my grandmother. I can remember her holding my in her arms. I cried when she died. I was nine.
I loved my mother. Her doctors told her she would not live past her teenage years. She lived to be 36. They told her she should not have children, it could kill her. That didn’t stop her from having me and my sister Lynn. I would not be here if my mother had listened to her doctors. She died when I was 13, it took me a long time to get over it.
When my father died at the age 76 the emotion I felt was relief.
Everyone I know who knew my father said what a great guy he was. Always a smile on his face. His nickname was “Sunny”. My mother and my step-mother both loved him deeply. All our relatives and my step-mother’s liked him as well. I don’t think I ever felt love for him. The angry young boy I was it probably was hard to love me. I doubt I would have loved me then.
I can remember happy moments with my mother. I can remember many happy moments with my grandmother and with my aunt and the uncles I stayed with after my grandmother died. When my mother was in the hospital my sister stayed with my mother’s father. He had a small apple orchard in Maine. I can’t remember any happy moments with my father.
I went to a Protestant Church while my mother was alive. After she died my father asked me to join his church, the Roman Catholic Church. He said he had been told he would be ex-communicated if I didn’t. I became a Catholic. I did try to reach out to God. I never reached out to my father, nor him to me.
Before I swallowed some pills I prayed to God one last time. I never thought of talking to my father.
After I throw-up the pills I decided I needed to have a plan to deal with life. I used reason and logic and it worked. I have experience moments of unadulterated joy. None of those moments were with my father.
He had a nervous breakdown several years before his death. I spent every Sunday at his house. I saw this as my duty, an obligation. It was not done out of love.
I was with him in his hospital room the night he died. My last words to him were harsh. The last words he heard were not of love. As I said when he died I felt relief. He probably did as well.
If I could relieve one moment in my life that would be it. It still bothers me when I think of it. Maybe I did love my father.