PoeticaL
cluttering the net since 2001

Forgiveness

Sunday, Jun. 09, 2002
Lore mentioned my poem “I will” that I posted recently in memory of my Dad. This is a subject I haven’t delved into as of yet. It’s an extremely painful and beautiful thing in my past.

My parents kicked me out when I was 19. Wait let me reiterate that. My mother kicked me out. My father was an alcoholic who sat by while it happened. He didn’t object and he didn’t seem to be aware of it. He was there the whole time, but he wasn’t there. If you’ve ever been around an alcoholic you know what this statement means. I know I’ve read a few diary entries in my time about alcoholism that made me shudder at the mere understanding of alcoholism.

Well, 7 years passed by and I spent the last 5 of that living in my hometown within ten miles of my parents who never spoke to me, never saw my son, and never had any contact. One day I ran into my mother at a family garage sale event and she spoke to my Aunt who was sitting right beside me but never even acknowledged my presence. I grabbed my son, scooping him up quickly, and I left abruptly and in tears. I just couldn’t handle that she could stand within mere inches of me and totally ignore my presence.

I drove home in a fury and I picked up the phone and called my parents phone number and my father answered the phone and I said something along the lines of the following…

“How can you live with her? Why do you live with that monster? You realize she went to a family affair with her big fat ass fucking boyfriend in tow?” How? You’re nothing but a loser sitting there like a recluse in the basement putting up with that fucking bitches shit”

It was ugly.

It was a long time coming.

He said something like the following…

“Kristy, never mind her. Kristy? OMG Kristy where are you? Who cares about her? I don’t. Hey I have a customer let me call you back in 20 minutes.”

I said, “fine ok..” and I hung up. I tore into the empty space around me. I was screaming at the wind, telling the walls that I just couldn’t understand any of it. I was losing it for the first time in 7 years. It was all too much. My mother…my father….all in one day after 7 years of nothing.

I sat down, head in hands, trying to find a calm place so that I could breath again. I remember the silence pounding in my head and then…

The phone rang. My father. Saying “I want to come and see you right now before I chicken out, tell me where you are right now and I’ll be there” Regret regret regret…I didn’t want to regret never hearing what he had to say. I wanted to know. I wanted to know so badly and yet fear washed over me and then somehow I just said “yes….ok…yes….ok…yes…ok”

I called off work that night and I sat my then 5 year old son down and said, “my father is coming over…” He said, “ok”.

My dad called me up on the phone on his way saying where he was…it was the last leg of the trip and he was asking for specific directions. I saw the car he said he was driving coming down the highway and I told him where to turn. Told him where I lived. He pulled into my driveway still on the cell phone with me and said, “ok I have to hang up now I have to go hug my daughter and it’s important so I hope you don’t mind that I’m hanging up on you”.

He walked in the front door and we hugged and it was a scene off of a talk show and I remember imagining a break in my heart mending. A hole closing. And I thought to myself good lord what a cheesy thing to be thinking of.

“Bucky” looked at my dad and said, “You’re my Mommy’s Daddy so that makes you my other Pappy” (he always was a smart kid) My father looked at him and said, “technically yes, but it takes far more than that to be someone’s pappy…you can call me Rick”

That afternoon, my father and my son stood in the backyard shooting a bb gun my father brought for him from his sporting goods store. I stood in the doorway in disbelief. This simple scene was something I never thought I would have the privilege to see. I watched so intently that those images are engraved on my eyes.

I still had the note my mother left on the door and I showed it to him. 7 years I carried that note. (I still have it) I showed him and he knew beyond a shadow of any doubt that she had lied to him telling him I simply ran off to get married. She never admitted that she left a note telling me to come back the next day to get my things.

Two weeks later I was slated to move away. It was long ago planned. So we reconciled and cried and talked and spent every waking moment together for 2 weeks. The irony of it all. Unbelievable. He answered all of my questions, we rehashed everything. He apologized for things he did wrong….apologized for his addiction to the bottle. He never denied his wrong doings and that was the thing that made me able to forgive him.

I moved away as planned. My father came to help me move. I’ll never forget that day. Husband was loading the U-haul with me and he pinched my ass and said “get busy” and my father piped in “heyyy quit pinching my “daughters” ass.” I froze. I started to cry. Everyone said, “what’s wrong…did you hurt yourself.” I went right over to my father and hugged him saying “I am somebody’s daughter…I’m somebody’s daughter.” It was a whirlwind of emotions. Slowly person by person everyone began to say their goodbyes and dissapear. My father hung around…he was last to go…standing in that driveway waving towards the U-haul truck as we drove away. I was bawling my eyes out. Husband said, “But you couldn’t wait to get away from here.” I said, “that was 2 weeks ago.”

Over the next 2 ½ years I spoke to my father daily, mostly online. He was the reason I got a computer. We chatted everyday. I told him everything. We were so close. He and my mother divorced, he moved out, was starting over. But it was very apparent that he was ill. He had sclerosis of the liver. He never fully admitted it. But I knew. The signs were there. I worried about him, but during those two years, he got two dogs. TeddyBear and PandaBear. My mother never allowed dogs..he was having what he was denied for so long. He flew to Montreal and met up with an online friend. Flew to England to meet an online friend. He was traveling, living the life he always wanted but was trapped with her….

He was happy but ill. I flew back North and spent a weekend with him. We talked recipes, life, love, sex, men, women, television, porn, politics… We talked about my mother, about the past. I asked him about all of the horrid things in my childhood, all of which he corroborated. I found peace in the fact that he never denied my memories. Sometimes he said he couldn’t remember with all honesty but that my claims sounded feasible. Other times he sat down with furrowed brow and a pale reflection, cigarette in hand and did the retelling from the adult’s point of view. The memories from my childhood were given a clear light of honesty. I was so grateful to have long needed answers. To understand with my current capacities for understanding that I believe as a child we are not afforded for our own mental protections.

Then 2 ½ years into my newfound relationship with my father a silence came. He wasn’t online. I tried desperately to get his neighbor to go and check on him to no avail. In retrospect I now know I was in denial. At 2.a.m. 2 years ago in June I got a phone call from my Uncle Floyd. (My father’s sister’s husband) informing me that he was gone. His words didn’t matter, He’d never called me before and now it was 2 a.m. and his voice on my phone only meant one thing to me. To describe to you my reaction would be impossible. I literally lost it. It was a breakdown in the biggest of ways. I was shaking, rocking forward and backward uttering words I can no longer remember. Husband kept trying to hug me, hold me, console me. I just kept screaming No, whispering no. My Uncle said, “they found him,….called us….” And that’s all I remember.

I Crumble

Why?
Why now?
How?
How could this be?
Where?
Tell me where is he?
You?
You didn’t know what you meant to me?
I Crumble.
Please someone crumble with me.

My father died on his floor, alone. There were then subsequent rumors that his dog Panda dismembered his fingers. Scratched out his eyes. Etc. He lived in a small town and the facts are clouded. The police and officials that came never spoke to me directly and to this day I have questions. He died of complications due to sclerosis and the death certificate stated that he died of heart failure. This is most likely what happened. He was deceased for approximately 2 weeks before he was found. This gives me nightmares to this day.

23 hours later, after an 18 hour drive, I walked into my fathers house for the first time. The house was so bad that we were forced to wear painters facemasks. It is an experience I would not wish on my worst enemy. My sister and brother started to rape and pillage his home for belongings.

I ran right back out the front door in shock and disbelief at how he had been living. Filled with guilt for not being there for him. I threw myself down on his front porch screaming “WHY WHY WHY like this…why is everything like this?”

Pieces of his false teeth encrusted on the rug.
Ashtrays overflowing with cigarette butts.
Stained underwear piled in the bathtub.
Doghair all over the kitchen table.
Soup cans empty, soup residue….spoons left shoved in.
Dead fish floating in fish tanks.
His long loved truck no longer operable.
Bed sheets dirty with months of grime.
Bottles of vodka speaking out loud to me
His words, “if a beer takes off a day, I’m drinking vodka now..”
He knew it was too late…..
I looked at that shell of a home that was never in my memory his home.
I looked.
I remember.
I will never be the same.

It was nightmares. Nightmares I have never imagined. Nightmares I never can forget. I know where he was lying. No one needed to paint a white outline. I know. Part of me wanted to place my hands there. Touch him… Part of me wanted to throw up. I never got to say goodbye to his face. The last time I saw him was in August 2 years prior. The neighbor told me he had been outside grilling a hamburger for the dogs 2 weeks before they found him. I sent him those barbeque tools…. She said he talked about me…I told her “I loved him”.

It was a cross of bone laid out in the woods, ash dancing in the breeze….I didn’t know a human being was so much volumne in ash. I didn’t know that I would ever plant flowers in the woods behind my childhood home while my mother just looked on from the front screen door disinterested at best. I never knew so many things.

When I walked into his bedroom. There was a stack of papers so high next to his pc. I picked up the first page. It was he and I,,,,and me and him and him and me and then him and then me….it was our chats. He was printing our chats, saving our chats. Saving me? Re-reading us? There was a page of white paper he was taking notes on. Turning the page around and around filling up all available spaces with websites, emails, phone number, information he deemed worth keeping. I picked it up. It looked like a thousand pieces of paper near my own computer that he never saw. He was like me, I was like him…we were so much the same…and we never got to know it. He would never know. I could never tell him that my pages were the same as his pages. In that room….alone I crumpled those pages in my hands and cried my eyes out.

Because I somehow gained the capacity to forgive, to accept my father for the man that he was, with faults as imperfect as my own. Because I let go of 7 years of feeling abandoned. Because I gave him the opportunity to speak his mind. Because I put my own pain aside to open myself up to his. It is because of these things that I got to truly know what it was to have a Daddy.

My father was so cool as a person. And by the time 7 years passed, I was an adult. We got to know each other truly on those terms. I could say the word “fuck” to him. I could speak about my sex life freely. I could tell him anything. I miss having that. He once told me “of all my children, you are the one I did nothing for and you are the one I am proudest of and yet I have no right to that pride.”

About a year later I went for a walk on the beach alone….and something happened. I found peace.

Surface of the Sky

I’m tired of just missing you.
Tired of blinking you in my eye.
I’m weak and I’m weary.
Though I’m trying to stay high.

Silent agony echoes.
Louder than any screams.
I am no one without you.
I’m dying in my bad dreams.

I walked out on the beach last night.
I swear I heard you say goodbye.
Your memory was a beautiful sight.
You were there at the surface of the sky.

I think that night I found and made peace with it all.

My father chatted to BraN once. He knew about BraN. He knew I had a friend on the other side of the world. My father had been to England. He told me once in a most serious voice, “don’t let too much time pass by, meet your friends..hug them….let the world be open to you.” I still remember that 3 way chat. My father told Bran not to cyber with his daughter…lol

When I remember my father the memory that comes to me the most is when I told him that I got my tongue pierced. He laughed with full acceptance and said, “why did you want a tie tack in your mouth?”

That’s the father I remember. The Daddy I miss.

If you read this far…thank you. Thank you for showing my relationship with my father that much respect by your show of time.

-PoeticaL


I have a memory page on my website for my father.

-special thanks to Lore for giving me the courage to write about this once and for all….
9:06 p.m. ::
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