Now before you say, ‘I’m sorry,’ or ‘My condolences,’ please be aware that I’m not really sorry. Yes, that makes me sound like a horrible person. But I’m not sad for his passing. He had a fairly good life but he was a misogynistic man who was so self-centered, brilliant, but with no common sense. I’m not sure he hadn’t ‘died’ for me many years ago.
This was a man who should never have pro-created. Yes, I realize by saying that, had he not had any children, I wouldn’t be here in this mortal form. However, someone who didn’t want children, especially ‘girl’ children, whom he had no use for, really shouldn’t have them. He made my mother miserable with his behaviors, he made his children miserable with then as well. His friends he couldn’t do enough for. They never turned out to be lasting friends, because, they used him shamelessly.
I have a few good memories of the man. One, we shared a liking of science-fiction and saw the Star Trek and Star Wars movies together. But I often felt I was using him to see a movie I liked, not going with him to spend time with a father. He wasn’t much of one. He ignored me because I was a girl. In fact I am certain I was called by my brother or sisters names or ‘hey you’ until I was about eleven when I stopped answering to that. Two, we both shared a liking for nature. He took a swamp that the local farmer sold to that city boy and turned it into a trout farm. We kept them as pets for the most part. We also had about thirty tanks in our basement. That was fascinating.
My father was a falconer and for many years before and for a few years during his marriage he banded hawks, falcons, and even eagles for the state. It helped in research to determine flight patterns, propagation of the species, etc. We had at one time a Great Horned Owl in our home (Ozzie), a Red Tailed Hawk (Peanut), and a Sparrow Hawk (Birdo) that were raised there. It’s kinda cool to remember watching cartoons and the bird would hop down off of their perch and come watch them with you. They were in black and white in the 70’s in those days and fascinated the birds.
My father was brilliant. He went to school for many years, could have been a teacher or a professor with all the courses he took. I even heard he was only a few courses shy of being a zoologist. He was also a dreamer. Always one to say how he missed out on some chance to make millions. Always my mother’s fault because she just wouldn’t ‘let’ him spend the money.
With five living children to his credit, being the youngest gives me a different perspective. When Dad went through his mid-life crisis and bought a brand new firebird, I was sixteen and got to drive it, much to my sibling’s dismay. After all, Dad didn’t let them drive it…they had moved on and out by then. Being the youngest though, and a girl, I was frequently ignored. I didn’t mind. I lived a good childhood. As a tom-boy he frequently disparaged me. I became invisible to him if I could as he was also abusive, both mentally and physically. I didn’t know any better though; he was, after all, the only father I knew. Mom intervened as much as she possibly could and I soon learned to emulate her and her ignoring of slights.
Mom tried to divorce Dad once when I was six years old. He went to all the neighbors to get them to agree that she was a ‘bad’ mother, not because he wanted custody, but so he could put us in foster care. Mom soon realized that she could never afford to raise the five of us on her own financially so she reconciled with him until I was seventeen and graduating early from high school. For Christmas that year she had him served with divorce papers, he couldn’t do anything about it. I found it kind of amusing, my mother’s timing, but then she had a wonderful sense of humor.
I didn’t talk to my father for many years after I left college for California. I had nothing to say to him really. We had nothing common. He never gave me a compliment that I recall. Never praised me for buying a house at nineteen, starting a business at twenty-two, having two children, etc. I was a non-entity as far as he was concerned, mainly because I was female. Women were only good for a few things in his world. Sad really because so many people found him to be charming, and at home he wasn’t, only to ‘his’ public friends.
I’m certain my brothers have a different perspective of the man we all call Dad. It’s sad really as it became a girls against the boys type of household. Mom tried, she really did to make it fair, but with my Dad causing strife and favoritism, she tried to compensate with her girls.
For years I didn’t discuss my father but I didn’t want to hate him either. I did for a while. I grew up and got over it though. I don’t remember a lot of the abuse or the reasons why I hated him. Instead I learned to forget, to ignore, and to try to be an adult about the situation. Visiting him I realized what a sad man he really was, pathetic, and alone. All due to his own personality quirks. I would never be someone he would be ‘proud’ of so I quit trying. When visiting I was treated badly, subjected to his misogynistic behavior, and when I saw he began to share things with my sons who were too young to experience those things, I stopped visiting. One should not talk about or share porn with pre-teen young men; sorry I do draw a line at that. I was incredulous that he would even have to be told not to do that.
So, for a charming man, who everyone though was so grand, I’m not sorry to say good-bye. He has been gone for a long time. At least for me. He was never there. I am sorry for the human condition, the dementia, the Alzheimer’s that robbed him of his mind, but I have to believe that part of that was fate, perhaps karma. I don’t hate him anymore, I haven’t in years. The indifference though says it all.
Good Bye Dad, it’s too bad you will never know what an AWESOME kid I was, and what a WONDERFUL woman I became. It’s too bad in your self-indulgence you couldn’t have seen what you were doing wrong, the attempts that were made to bridge the gap, the adult relationship I tried to forge. I don’t ‘forgive’ you for your behavior, instead, I just feel nothing and that is even more sad.