Some days I write a post and realize that I am whining so much about the trials and tribulations of my life that even I am sick of reading the word vomit in front of me. That said..yeah I am going share yet again a day in the life of this crazy lady in her late 40s still trying to figure it all out.
I have been sitting on this post for more than a month..stuck trying to say what I want to say..stuck in this wait did that really happen? DID I actually do what I did and what the bleep was I thinking? I am in a moment of it is now or never ..let it out ..own it girl ..so here goes nothing.
As I have posted before, I have spent the vast majority of my life trying to find my father. My father Tony, the elusive figure in my life who according to my mother’s narrative was the root of all our evils..however even while that may have a sliver of truth to it..it is to me to decide or at least have the chance to decide what that narrative is.
Who was my father? The answer to that question is rather complicated by a lack of information from my mother while she was alive other than telling me his first name, wife’s name and my sister’s name as well as his profession all things that were difficult to trace until rather recently. However back to my self imposed question…my father was : to my young self the scary figure in the shadows to whom my mother planned to send me when I was bad . My father’s house was a place where I would be locked in a room and given nothing more than bread and water to survive on ( my 5 year old self often imagined the attic tower such as the one Cinderella lived in the Disney movie and my father’s wife resembled the evil step mother..that was scary shit to a little kid)…to my adolescent self he was the nameless, faceless asshole who called at 3 in the morning and to whom my mother said that I was nothIng more than a piece of garbage just like him..to my 17 year old self with a dying mother he was the one who did not come and rescue me from the depths of my despair when I held out all hope beyond hope. He was not there as my mother said the words that continue to haunt me (no matter how much money and time i spend in therapy) “When I die no one wants you” ..that sentence has been part of very soul since she said it..mostly because she was so very right for all the wrong reasons. To my young adult self my father was the elusive man who rejected my letter to him offering to meet in a park just to get to know anything about myself..to my middle aged self he is the one who got away..the other dead parent gone before I even got the chance to introduce myself and prove to him that I was ok in spite of his absence and because of his genetic gifts. I am meeting my father finally at 48 years old , seven years after he died, thanks to Ancestry.com DNA confirming my paternity (via being related to basically everyone he was related to on his father and mother’s side) and discovering things like his obituary. My father’s obituary was a place where people left detailed messages of condolence to his wife and my half sister and nephew giving me a glimpse into who he was. The stories those who knew him shared gave me that aha moment where I finally could say that explains a lot.
One such message was written by a woman named Faith..Faith and her husband chose my father to be the godfather of their child she wrote..and she described some of their times together including the fact that my father and his wife attended the college graduation of Faith’s child. It was a beautiful story but I found myself seething with jealousy and rage ..how was it that my father could show so much love and so much compassion for a friendly stranger’s child and yet leave his own daughter behind? Where was he when I graduated? where was he when I got married or lost my child or when the many wonderful and beautiful things in my life occurred? Jealousy is not an easy beast to tame but the logical side of me understands that those were different times and it was not acceptable in the days when I was young for a married man to say here honey this is my child ..the shame and blame were heaped upon the mother and unfortunately by default the child as well..but in between the lines I was haunted by this and so I reached out to family and I was rejected. I am not one to let things go, I stew and I think and I hold on to it all …to be honest I still in my darkest place want to go to my sister’s house (yeah I know where she lives ..it is public record) and ring her bell and say WHY WON:T YOU JUST TALK TO ME I AM YOUR SISTER..but I never would because first of all it is not right to invade her space and secondly I really don’t have the guts. After all the rejection I had no clue how to move forward and then I had a it’s now or never moment and so I resorted to a not so brilliant idea and took a leap of faith.
I googled Faith based on the location she left on the seven year old obituary and found her thanks to social media still in the same location she was back then.I found her on linked in and facebook and a place of employment..reaching out via facebook did not work quite so well when I attempted it with my paternal relatives so I made the absolutely insane and rash decision to put the dog in the car and drive the distance to a neighboring state and speak to Faith in person..not knowing if she would be there or not at her place of employment.
The dog is an excellent travel companion by the way..he loves the same music I do, he can handle the silence like I can and he is an avid listener (I’m just saying) I met Faith and mustering all the courage I had before I fell apart..I simply said “are you Faith?” and she looked at me probably horrified and said I am” ..I said “I am Tony Hazen’s daughter”. I have rarely uttered those words to anyone let alone myself in all of my years. She wanted to know who my mother was and I had to explain my mother had passed away many years before and all I was looking for was to get to know a little bit about him to maybe put a patch over this hole in I have..something ..anything would be better than absolutely nothing.
Faith was kind and as generous as she could be and gave me a little insight into just who my father was..smart, funny..flawed. He died of alzheimer’s ..at least I know what may be in my future and while not comforting ..definitely necessary to know. He was not faithful to his marriage and it seems everyone he knew was well aware ..he was a heavy drinker and a great athlete and a brilliant attorney. I have a sister and a “step mother” who has not always had an easy time in her life..a story faith shared simply broke my heart. I told Faith that my father is a grandfather and she said yes Katie has a son and I had to explain that I too have children whom he never met ..who are smart, kind and funny ..I have a daughter who looks so much like him from the pictures I have found online.
The whole time I was there what was running through my head was ..you crazy ass stalker what the hell are you doing here? How the hell did you think this was OK? Faith kept talking..I kept listening..I found myself as I always do apologizing for my very existence and then she said to me “It is not your fault you are here..you did nothing wrong”. I DID NOTHING WRONG..holy crap that was the first time I really heard that from someone other than my therapist and it hit me like a ton of bricks..it has taken me this long to allow those words to truly sink in..”It’s not your fault”..my entire childhood my mother said I was the reason my father left..my father did not want me but she did..he wanted her to have an illegal abortion and she said no and then I came along..and I was not a boy like I was supposed to be ..I ruined everything. here was a stranger before me who said it I did nothing wrong..it has been like a huge burden lifted finally.
An hour after we met..Faith and I said goodbye. I gave her my email address and like I expected she never contacted me. My parting words were “You gave me a gift and I cannot thank you enough” ..I wonder if i should write her a thank you note..if I should send her flowers to her place of work ..I don’t know what to do ..any opinions would be greatly appreciated .
One final thing that crosses my mind..it is amazing how much a little information..how someone showing a little kindness and a little respect can mend the restlessness. I am blown away by just knowing what I know now has settled in ..I still long to know more but the need feels less urgent and far less desperate. I don;t recommend guerrilla tactics of just showing up in a sleepy little town where everyone knows everyone but I took a leap and I found Faith and I will not forget