My father is a dead man.
It seems to me that my father has been dead for about thirty years.
A bit longer if you count the time from ages 3 to 10 when I thought my father was dead. My mother left him and then he got into a motorcycle accident and was killed. My dead father was resurrected when my sister secretly wrote him a letter which caused him to rise from his grave and beg my mother to take him back — which she did. I never questioned my father’s rebirth. His death was my mother’s lie, and my mother lied like it was her religion. I probably knew she was telling tall-dead-daddy-tales, but it was easier to explain away my lack of dad with my mom’s made-up motorcycle death than with the truth, which was — well — I still don’t know.
My parent’s reunion was short. Maybe a couple of months. My father paid my mother back for leaving him and stealing his children by throwing her out of his doublewide and snatching us back. Shortly after my father’s victory, he met and married a grave-digging-yellow-toothed hillbilly from Tennessee. My father’s new bride was so insane that…
I’ll just leave it at that for now and share all of the juicy details of what it was like to live with my very own real life evil stepmother for the official memoir. Let’s just say that she is the reason I am afraid of hillbillies the way some people are afraid of clowns.
My father sent the three of us away about two years after he and his creepy she tied the knot.
My father was nothing but cruel to me throughout the years. I tried hard to give him a chance to apologize, to make it up to me. I even lied to him during the one and only time I saw him after he abandoned us and told him that I wasn’t mad. There was a time when I didn’t know how to be mad. I did know how to shoplift, guzzle Mad Dog 20/20, huff paint, drop LSD, smoke pot and hitchhike, but I couldn’t conjure mad. I didn’t feel mad, because after living through days I won’t detail here, I didn’t feel much of anything.
I am told by my father’s obituary that he died on August 1st, 2013. I accidentally found it on his birthday when I was facebook stalking him, ( as much as one can facebook stalk someone when they are not friends ) I noticed a strange post on his page. It said something like, “hope you are enjoying your birthday in heaven…” This post was confusing for a couple of reasons… Because, my father in heaven? Huh? Wait…
Is my father dead?
Google said yes, just seven days earlier
His obituary consists of one hundred and sixty five characters. Fourteen of them numbers, seventeen of them are used up in commas, periods, colons and semi-colons. The remaining one hundred and thirty two are made up of letters strung into words, none of which spell out my name. I was sort of mentioned if you count that I was named after my Aunt Kay, who was mentioned as a survivor, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. Other survivors listed include, “stepchildren, grands and greats.” My brother and sister didn’t rate a shout out either. Including us would have cost eleven more characters, and the author of my father’s obituary was clearly on a budget and we weren’t worth mentioning.
Which is confusing, considering we were the ones who survived being my father’s actual offspring. We survived being the children of a really bad man who had a dried up heart. Come to think of it, we actually did so much better than simply surviving him. We got the best of what he was, whatever it was that he wasn’t able to realize in his life, we are realizing. Goodness — Love — Truth — Peace — Friendship. His DNA is expressing this capacity in us.
I’m sad. Sad because now my delusional fantasies of my father’s heart unclenching and begging me to forgive him won’t turn into reality. I won’t be able to sit with him while he dies, holding his hand and stroking his hair while telling him, “it’s ok to go now, I forgive you.”
Do I forgive him? I want to, and I would have gone to be with him when he was sick…
I’m angry. No one informed us that he was dead. ( though my sister and I did receive a link to his obituary that was in our “other” mailbox on facebook, sent to us from … are you ready for this??? A different dead man’s facebook account, we are investigating as I write this … Still, I didn’t get it until the day after his birthday.) I found out while I was at work, I found out because maybe I have super-freaky intuition. I was the one to tell my siblings. We still don’t know how he died. My brother and sister suggested separately that it was most likely his heart. I would have to agree.
“It is where we do not live that the dying comes.” Eve Ensler ~ In The Body Of The World
My work now is to grieve and to forgive. To forgive my father and my mother and that horrible woman my father married and everyone else that I lock out of my heart. That’s it. I have to forgive. Because I survived. Because I want more than simple survival.
I want freedom.