Sunday, October 26, 2008

Once Upon a time - story of my dad - Part 4

Reflecting back, I have mixed feelings about my father and his women.

My sister once again moved out of my mother's house when I was off to college. She moved in with Jill - dad's ex-girlfriend. It was a roommate situation - Sister paid rent. Jill acted as a friend, but somewhat as a mother too. Jill opened up a bit to Sister about the abuse she had suffered while living with Dad. Sister talked a bit about the physical fights she and Dad would get into.

These discussions made the relationship between Dad and Rita more puzzling. In that relationship it seemed Rita was in control and wore the pants. Dad and Rita broke up in 2002 or 2003. I received a telephone call asking for me by my maiden name. It was dad. He explained that he and Rita had broken up. We talked some after that. I learned that the cards I sent yearly had not been received by him.

Dad and Sister met regularly and became close again. When Husband and I visited my sister, I got to see my dad. It was the first time in almost 10 years. I have to say that I did not like him. Dad was very material. He wanted to compare his wealth. He talked about his 50 acre horse farm, his job, his car, etc. He even asked where our vehicle was (we had it in the garage) because he wanted to know what we were driving. For every thing Sister or I said, he had to one-up us. Dad also cursed like a sailor. He had NEVER cursed when I was growing up. He talked negatively about Rita and about my mother. Sister had to remind him constantly not to talk like that in front of her children.

We learned that Rita was into some drug use. Dad had been into using marijuana in my infancy, but had given it up - or so I thought. Now I suspect he was using that and more. We also learned that Rita is bipolar and abuses her son's ADHD medication, especially his ritalin.

After six months or so, after having domestic violence orders taken out against him, after violating the orders and spending time in jail, Dad and Rita reconciled. Dad insisted that Sister and I welcome Rita with open arms. We told him that we were still adjusting to the idea of speaking with him. We didn't say that we would never want to speak with Rita - just asked for time. He refused. Dad said that it was "our job" to help Rita with her mental health issues - his reasoning was that since we (Sister, especially) had struggled with mental health issues, that we had an obligation to help Rita. When we refused, he cut off contact again, cursing and calling us names.

The next time I heard from Dad was a phone call at work to tell me his mother, my Nana, had died. My uncle had already called and so I just refused the phone call. I was five months pregnant. Sister and I flew up for the funeral. We saw Dad and Rita at the funeral home. Dad came over and awkwardly hugged me - I let him because I didn't want to make a scene. He was surprised to see that I was pregnant. Sister found an out and backed away from his hug. We ignored Rita. She started yelling and cussing and was taken outside. Then the service started. Most of the other sisters and brothers, and all my cousins sat together near the front. Some of us were on the floor or sharing seats because it was crowded. Anyone who wanted to speak could and several did. After the last prayer, my Dad walked up to the family - he had been sitting in the back, where a few other family members had ended up. He was bright red in the face and began yelling loudly about how he should have been saved a seat up front and he should have been the one to speak (as the oldest son there). It was embarrassing. He stormed out. Sister and I went back to my aunt's house where we were staying. There was a message on the machine from Dad calling Sister and I all sorts of names. "Bitch" being the main one. My aunt refused to let us hear all of it.

Thus ends the story of Dad. I've not had a real relationship with him in 16 years. I've not had any contact at all in 5 years. I suspect I may learn of his demise from my aunts/uncles (his sisters and brothers) but then again I might not.

I have some good memories of Dad - especially the early years. I loved the person he was at the lakehouse. We had great family times and spent lots of fun times together. Dad was a great planner of family fun times - it was just life in general that he sucked at.

I often wonder what happened to the children. I heard that the daughter had a child. I heard that the youngest was doing okay and was pretty sweet. My aunt (the one we stayed with during Nana's funeral) keeps in touch with Sister and I. My other aunt and uncle (Dad's youngest brother) doesn't speak with the rest of the family much anymore. It seems that Dad managed to split his siblings too. Which I find terribly sad.

This was not a hard series of posts to write. I used to miss my father, the person. Until our brief "reconciliation" - then I realized that he is not a very nice person and I don't really like him. That reunion, while painful, was healing. I have never felt the loss of a father figure as intensely as I did a mother figure. I do not know why - it's just the way it is. I have no desire to see him again or hear from him. The way I figure, he's had his chances and second chances. And so this is the END.


Rising Rainbow said...

It sounds like your father was really a self centered jerk. You're definitely better off without him.

That's kind of how I feel about my family. I miss having one but realize that the one that belongs to me I don't really like much so I am better off without them.

April_optimist said...

Wow. Your Dad was a real piece of work. And he found someone just as messed up as he was. How remarkable that you have managed to be YOU in spite of him. Good for you! One can acknowledge whatever good memories there may be and the love one has felt for a person and at the same time recognize--as you do--that they are toxic to be around and seriously screwed up in their thinking!

DM said...

I just read this 4 part series on your dad (back to back)...and all I have to say is...WOW.

You've turned out to be an amazing young woman. Your friend and fellow Blogger. DM

mssc54 said...

How sad... for everyone really.

I wonder who you would be if you had not had this difficult journey.

My dad was a bit of a piece of work too. I feel very fortunate that we were able to mend our fences before he stepped into eternity.

You can read about here if you want.

lawyerchik said...

I am so sorry, Enola. It's amazing that you are as together as you are, given what you experienced - I would chalk it up to God's grace that you survived at all! It still makes me sad, though - the finality of your writing about your father - but I understand a little better why and how it is. Thank you for sharing that part of your life.

Tamara said...


I just read all four posts and have to say that you have turned out to be such a beautiful person in the face of some real crappy childhood stuff. I am glad that you are at peace with your estrangement from your father. He does not sound worthy of your love or attention.

Hats off to you for taking all of the trauma and turning it around so that you can be such a loving, nurturing mother to your children.