I met my father for the first time in twenty something years on 1st May. Below is my journal during and shortly after the trip.
Saturday, 1st May @ 7:30am
The hour draws near. I am filled with anticipation; also dread and fear. Is he going to be the man I remember? Or the newly created vision in my head: someone old, weak and near death!
Whatever awaits me, I am nervous. 26 years is a long time not to see one of the two people responsible for your birth.
Will I easily forgive him or will I resent him? Only time will tell.
Of course there is also the extended family – like my half sister MotherOfTwo. I don’t particularly have fond memories of her. She was manipulative. Of course, I also last saw her when were children.
Perhaps here again it is time to put these memories to rest. I’m sure we’ve both changed and grown over the years. It no longer makes sense to harbour a resentment over something attributed to me – but was actually said by my older sister – about not liking her.
Dad’s ex-wife (are they still married?) on the other hand, I will most likely never warm to. Granted father made his choice but I’ve always resented her for marrying Dad. Even then I knew she wouldn’t be able to tame him. So perhaps I should thank her.
Had Dad married Mom he would have most likely broken her heart. He was a wild beast – wanting to sew his seeds everywhere. How wretched!
I once thought that I could date my brother and not know. I joked every time I said that but there was always the possibility. He has 12 children. Thankfully older sister and I are the eldest. Well that’s what I think anyway. Perhaps I’ll get him to confirm whether or not that is true.
Either way, I think it would be good if we could all meet. Not sure I want to have close relations, but I’d at least like to know who they are. Perhaps I’ve passed one in the street and didn’t know. How said that would be.
On a positive note, Dad did tell me that Mom was his first love and that he has regrets about not marrying her. He blamed his decision on youth and inexperience.
Dad also mentioned that he tried to get back with Mom after he got married but Mom’s partner at the time wasn’t having any of it. If that is the case, I’m glad to know that he tried. But also glad to know that he didn’t succeed.
Even then, I don’t think he was ready for a serious relationship. His eyes, his hands and other body parts wandered from one woman to the next.
How he managed to keep it together to build a successful retail business is a surprise to me. However his downfall doesn’t surprise me. While he has not confirmed to me, others have claimed that a woman swindled him out of nearly a million US dollars. How awful!
But to know he had that kind of money and never shared with his first born children when we struggled greatly makes me angry and think how completely irresponsible of him.
My only memory of him giving us anything involved the yearly parade for school shoes. I hated those trips because we had to do the dance. I felt humiliated by it all. Of course, I’m sure he would (will) have a different view.
Of course, I won’t bring any of this up. I’d like to think he feels a quiet shame. And in his current condition its best not to talk about how awful he was in his youth.
What then will we discuss? I have no idea. In our conversations over the last month or so, they have been somewhat laboured. Well me working hard to get him to open up and say anything. In old age he’s gotten extremely quiet with his thoughts.
I can be that way at times, but having lost one parent, I seek answers. I want to know everything. So I haven’t exactly been polite. Of course, there is a time a place for everything.
Saturday, 1st May @ 8:04am
Just spoke with half sister MotherOfTwo. She sounds pleasant.
Found out that Dad’s first name is something completely different from what I’ve known my whole life. I had no idea. Yet another mystery revealed.
Anyway, she is meeting me later so I have some time with Dad on my own. Good! I had hoped it would be this way – us one on one.
Not good is the fact that the reunion will be in a hospital – on an open ward.
Saturday, 1st May @ 10:15am
The initial visit is brief as I’m early and it’s not yet visiting hours.
The nurse is kind enough to let me see him.
I am shocked by how feeble he looks but it could be worse. He can stand and is able to communicate.
Another thing that surprises me is his height. I am almost (perhaps) even taller than him.
My memory as a child is one who would tower over me. Now it’s the reverse.
Monday, 3rd May @ 11:45am
It has been an eventful few days. Now currently sitting at Dad’s bed – he is lying down and for the first time he seems weaker; fragile. His hands shake.
The smell of hospital is the air. It’s not a bad smell; but it lingers. It reminds me of my time in hospital with Mom. But the emotional aspect isn’t there; not at the same level.
Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t feel sorry for him and so trying my best not to shed any tears. It won’t be easy but I’m determined.
Interestingly, I’m starting to like half sister MotherOfTwo. She was extremely welcoming and hospitable. Plus her husband and children were lovely. When I left the younger one held on to me for a long while. He didn’t want me to leave. It was a lovely feeling. So I’ll definitely have to come back.
Subsequent to this trip, I have spoken to Dad but I haven’t gone back for a visit. The initial euphoria wore off. Perhaps because everything is so laboured. He doesn’t say much and really but for the fact that he is my father, we have nothing in common. How sad.