Sunday, March 20, 2011


I don't think I've talked about my father too often on my blog. That's probably because I have only been writing since Miss A was a few months old and we really haven't seen him much in that time. I really haven't seen him much since I was thirteen actually. That is when he and my mother separated and we moved here.

My father is one of those men who would likely forget their own birthday without their wife to remind them. He failed to remember mine every year since we left and missed many other important events over the years. Dealing with his absence and my perception that he didn't care led me through several emotions over the years. Sadness, Anger, Indifference and finally, in the past few years, a kind of understanding.

It's taken me over 20 years to realize that although he may not show he loves me (and now my children, his grandchildren) in the ways I think he should, he really does love me/us. I have learned to accept the way he is and the way that he loves us. It still makes me sad sometimes that we see him so rarely but when we do it's obvious how much he cares for us all.

I've learned a lot from Miss A loves him so unconditionally.(Miss B is still kind of oblivious.) She loves him in spite of how little she sees him, in spite of the fact that she's seen him only a handful of times in her 5 years of life. She remembers and cherishes and talks about those times to me because they mean so much to her. My instinct is to feel angry about that. I feel like he hasn't earned her love and adoration and to be honest, I don't understand it. I have worked hard to ignore my anger and be happy that she loves him and hasn't felt disappointed by him the way I have. I will also try my damnedest to make sure she never does.

I called him the other night because I had heard from my sister that he'd been here at the hospital to have a test. It was another of many tests he's been having lately. I had a feeling that something was up but of course he hasn't said anything. When I got him on the phone I asked him how his test went. He said he didn't know the results yet. I asked him what was going on and why he was having so many tests done. He told me he had prostate cancer. He seemed very calm about it, telling me that the doctors don't think he'll need surgery, that he'll simply have to take some medication. I'm not certain that he's really clear about what the treatment will be but I know he'll find out in the next while.

After getting off the phone with him I wasn't sure how to feel. I didn't feel as upset as I thought I should. Maybe it was because he seemed so calm about it. Maybe it's because it doesn't seem real to me yet. I thought about how I would feel if I got similar news about my mom. Regardless of how calm she might be (however she WOULD NOT be calm) I would be FREAKING OUT. So then I felt guilty.

My Grandfather on my mother's side died when I was about 19. My father had attended the funeral. I remember sitting there looking at both of my parents. I thought about how I was sure that my mother was saying goodbye to her father that day with very few regrets. I looked at my own father and wondered, when I was sitting at his funeral one day how many would I have? Would I wish that I hadn't been so stubborn, waiting for him to call me, and call him first? Would I wish I'd made more of an effort with our relationship regardless of how little effort he put in? I decided that day that I didn't want to have any regrets.

Unfortunately, I didn't really stick to my decision. I didn't call as often as I planned. I soon grew tired of being the only one making an effort. I learned to settle for the relationship that we had. Appreciate the times we did speak and see each other. Perhaps his current medical condition is indeed, not so serious. We may have many more years with him, I hope we do.

If we don't I'd have to say goodbye. I'd have regrets but most of them wouldn't be about the things I didn't do. They would be about the things I couldn't change.


elizasmom said...

Damn, girl, that last sentence — this reflection on your relationship with your dad makes me sad for all the reasons you enumerate, but your wisdom, there, at the end — I hope that you can be OK with whatever happens knowing that you did what you could and you can't do more.

That aside, though, I hope that you have lots of time (prostate cancer is one of those that can be a very slow-developing disease and indeed give you many more years).

this single spark said...

I know exactly how you feel, although I don't think our dad's could be more different. I think I've had the opposite reaction to you, though, in that I do the absolute bare minimum when it comes to my dad. And my sis has cut him off entirely.

But I've often wondered if I would regret my stance (or whatever you want to call it). Dunno. I don't think I will.

And elizasmom is right.... prostate cancer is one of those things that is often not treated. They do "watchful waiting" instead because the cancer in some cases grows so slowly.

*sigh* Big hug!

mamadari said...

Reading this I can hear myself saying all the same things. My relationship (lack of) with my dad is almost identical. Tired of being the only one reaching out I often wonder when something does happen what I will feel then...regrets, guilt..It is comforting to hear I am not the only one with this issue. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Very touching. And mature. And wise. And, last but not least, admirable. Making peace with the realization that you did what you could and gave your best - that takes a lot of painful soul searching.