Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sometimes Dead Is Better

Though most of the time I try to pretend that my dad doesn’t exist anymore or that he is dead, sometimes curiosity gets the better of me. The house that I have been helping Mom move from is the last one she and my father lived together in. The address to that house is the only connection that he has to any of his children. Because I have a habit of getting nightmares anytime I get news of my father’s whereabouts and happenings in his life, my siblings, Mom and I made a pact not to discuss our father with each other any more, or at least not with me. But Big and Kiki were working in the front yard of Mom’s house when a truck pulling yard-work equipment drove slowly by. Both of them swore it was my father. Big didn’t mean to tell me. It slipped out. He started to say it, but tried to take it back. And like anyone does when someone tries to hide almost-revealed information, I worked him till he told me, though he warned I would regret it. My reaction was one of dismay, but relief that my mother was moving.

So, though I haven’t thought of him for a while, my father has been at the forefront of my mind. I was surprised that I didn’t get any nightmares after the news of my father, but then I actually talked about the sighting with Cy. Talking about it resulted in a nightmare. I thought that it would help. Guess not.

When I first moved back to Seattle, I visited him and his new wife with hopes of starting a healthy relationship with him. I had a husband and a baby. I thought that it would be great for my daughter to have a grandfather, her other was dead; my father was her only chance. But stream of nightmares hit me after the visit, and I ceased all contact with him. I couldn’t do it. The next thing I heard he moved to Wyoming. Then I heard that he was divorced and back in Seattle. Then my mom spots him working in the bus tunnel in downtown Seattle. Then he disappears and reappears driving by her home.

It is weird knowing I have a parent out there that I choose not to contact, though now I have no choice since I have no idea where he is, which was his intent, as he told me in his last e-mail before he ceased trying. At times I feel bad, but then I realize that he deserves it. He had every opportunity to change, to seek help, but he made this all about him. He turned himself into the victim rather than acknowledging that privilege belongs to the members of the family he had such a profoundly negative effect upon (not that any of us are dwelling on “being the victim;” it is just sickening for us to see him try to be, when he just doesn’t deserve the status). This isn’t even a matter of forgiveness. I forgave my father a long time ago, and I thought that would be enough. But forgiveness doesn’t blur memories.

So yesterday, I couldn’t help wondering about my father. What is he doing? What does he tell people about his missing family? Is he able to garner support and pity? I looked him up, but was only able to find his Issaquah address from before the move to Wyoming.

I have always wished that my father had just died. Things would be so much simpler. There would be closure. He would just be gone, and not just out there, somewhere (beneath the deep blue sky, just kiddin’).
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