How Can I Ever Say Good-Bye?
This post shall remain anonymous, at the request of its author
My father and I were never close. We went years without ever speaking at all. Not because we didn’t live in the same house… we did. Not because we were angry or upset… there was simple nothing to say.
I used to lie to my friends about the kind of relationship I had with my father. I wanted us to be close. I wanted the kind of father who was over bearing and protective, the kind who cleaned a gun when my first boyfriend came over. I wanted him to love me more than anything else and I wanted to be Daddy’s little girl, and that’s exactly what I told everyone I was. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.
When I was young I exhausted every possibility I could think of, to get him to love me the way I wanted him to. I brought home A’s, I didn’t get in trouble and I kept to myself so as not to be blamed for having the wrong sort of friends. I’d truly like to tell you that my father loves me and is just unsure of how to show it. But, I can’t tell you if he does or doesn’t… so I won’t.
My mother was no better. She is a master of manipulation. She will do whatever it takes to ensure she gets what she wants. She has always claimed to have my brother and me’s best interest at heart. But, when I became a mother I learned that it no longer matter’s what YOU want, or what YOU need. You no longer live for yourself, you live for your babies. This is a lesson, she never retained.
I was raised to believe I was better than everyone else, and for 25 years I truly thought that I was. I literally believed that anyone I came in contact with, was no better than the ground I walked on. I was raised to behave perfectly in every situation and look perfect no matter where I was going or what I would be doing when I got there. I will not lay all the blame on my parents for this utterly horrific behavior, because when I became an adult I should have known better.
We were never an affectionate family. There weren’t bed time stories and kisses good night, there weren’t hugs before school, no holding when you were sad or laughing together when you were happy. My parents didn’t have time for that. I tried really hard to be different for my baby brother. Him being nine years my junior, I never wanted him to feel unwanted or like nobody loved him. I read to him and hugged him as much as I could. But this type of physical contact made me so uncomfortable because I’d never had it, so I’m not sure I succeeded in having made any sort of significant difference in this aspect of his life.
Even now I have an extremely difficult time showing any kind of affection, I have a horrible sense of what it takes to form an emotional attachment to someone. I battle this every day, because if I can be anything or DO anything for my daughters- I want them to know that is it okay to love and I never ever want them to fear being rejected emotionally.
When I got married I hated my in-laws. Not for the general reasons that most new wives hate their in-laws, but because I thought they were below me. I thought I deserved a higher class of family, people who had more than their teensy little house in a crap part of town. I thought as I had always thought… They were trash because they weren’t my family.
Little did I know, that little house would become more of a home to me than the cold and heartless place I considered ‘home’ for so many years. My in laws weren’t the type of people to write you off, they were determined to know me whether I wanted them to or not. I will not even go into how badly I treated them before I decided to let them love me and accept that it was okay.
Pops and JJ (my in-laws) showed me what a family was supposed to be. They showed me that it was okay to cry if you were sad, to yell if you were mad, to sing or dance and play no matter how old you are. They taught me that I didn’t have to be a picture of perfection just to go nowhere, it didn’t matter what I wore or what my hair looked like… They loved me anyway, just for being me. Nobody else ever has.
Where Pops and JJ were concerned there were always endless hugs and kisses… Never enough happiness and laughter… You never had to watch what you said or worry about doing something wrong. You could just be. We made dinner together every Sunday, and laughed all afternoon, watched the girls play all evening in the wonderland Pops built in their backyard.
Pops hugged me every time he saw me, even when it was just bumping into him around a corner! Next thing you know there’s this big bear in overalls ready to scoop you up. He would elbow me at dinner and make fun of me constantly. He never hesitated to tell me he was proud of me, even when it was for something as stupid as getting in the sand with the girls. I’d never get dirty before they told me over and over and over that it WAS OKAY… everything washes. Some habits are settled in to you so far, they are hard to break. I don’t think my father’s ever said he was proud of me, if he did I don’t remember it. Maybe Pop’s just knew I needed to hear it.
The last time I saw Pops he was waving and yelling that he loved us from the front porch of his little house full of love and laughter. We had just had Sunday dinner and he was so happy all day. He kept going on about how summer was coming and we could start going outside again, and he was going to be able to finish the girls tree house and then they could help him paint it as soon as he hammered in the last nail. He had so many plans…
Monday morning he had a massive heart attack while he was at work, just sitting in his chair… They say he was gone before he hit the floor. A part of me died with him that day. I’d never known anybody that died before and the first person I had to lose was Pops, someone who meant so much to me. And knowing I wasted so much time hating him for nothing… Just because I was a stupid, selfish little bitch makes it all the worse.
I miss Pops every day. We buried him in his bibs; he would’ve wanted it that way…
This is my favorite picture of Pops… A woman from his work had drawn it a few months before he died. This is what Pops did at work… He started his machine, then sat in his chair and fell asleep…. See his bibs????