"...wE mUst bE thE chAnGe wE wiSh tO sEE iN thE wOrld..." K.G.

11/09/2010

this is an addendum to the prior post. I now know WHY I’ve had the weepies. today is the anniversary of my father’s death. my mind didn’t clearly pick up on it right away, yet subconsciously I knew, my body knew, and it reacted.

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{mOm & dad & pregnant with me.. circa 1955}

it’s the same pain I felt when I was little and we would have plans to do something the next day that he promised as he put me to bed, but then he’d be gone when I woke up.. ma always said nasty things about him to us, and left it at that. never addressing how we might have felt.. specially me being the oldest and closest to him. this happened so many times and I never knew when or if I would ever see him again.

all of my life I lived with the fantasy that when I was good enough, he’d be back.. and a part of me believed we’d start over with me as a little girl and he the stay home daddy. in my fantasy, there’d be no absent father or leaving in the middle of the night or making promises he’d break each and every time. he would bring fun and love to our lives just like he did when he was around.

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{yours truly}

ma must have been devastated but she blamed us kids for his leaving, making us wonder what the hell we’d done wrong. I loved my dad more than anyone else.. he wasn’t mean like ma was. but then HE’S the one who left US all those times, and many times with no money or knowledge of where he went.

I always found it difficult in therapy to get really angry at him and make him accountable for his actions, or lack of… I now think it’s because I blamed myself for his absence so how could I be mad at him.. rather, I have had a lifetime of using food to punish myself.

I saw him get arrested one night.. I was sleeping and suddenly heard his voice.. it woke me up, and I ran to go down stairs to greet him but ma made me go back to bed, cept I watched from the top of the stairs as the 2 cops had him strip down to his undies and handcuffed him while he cried begging ma to let him stay… said he missed us and he was so sorry..

she said it had been too many times that he’d taken off and left her with no money to feed us, and he was going to jail for desertion. I was horrified and went flying down the stairs and clung to his leg begging for him to stay. it took all three of them to pull me off. and I don’t remember what happened after that cept he was gone and I hated ma for sending him away.

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{dad}

later in life I realized she had to have been devastated and she couldn’t take his lies, drug use, and cheating any more. I can only imagine how I would feel if it happened like that to me.. but back then I hated her yet felt so guilty because I depended on her and needed her and she was all I had.

I was so confused.. its not a good place for a kid to be in, torn between loyalty and love for two parents like that. specially when I didn’t put my anger and pain on the right one, but I was just a 6 year old, I didn’t understand anything..

my time with my father seemed to be magical to me. he made me laugh, kissed and held me and said nice things to me, so opposite from ma. I couldn’t hug her, she pushed me away.

he took me on chartered bus trips to the NYC world’s fair in 1964.. we had a wonderful time.. and when he began driving truck he took me with him many times. even though he had a girlfriend in every city and made me promise not to tell ma, it was an adventure every time.

sadly, ma questioned me so intrusively when I returned that she made me tell her much of it and he went away after that.. in fact when dad was late getting home, she’d be waiting in the dark, in MY room, rocking quietly and rhythmically, lightly tapping the leather belt in her hand…

the same one she used on us. when he finally arrived, she’d pounce on him like a tiger to prey and beat him till he cried. I layed in my bed sobbing, hearing and seeing all of this, seething with hatred for her for hurting my dad. I didn’t understand what was going on or why.

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{me and dad}

the good memories with my father all occurred in my early childhood, after that it was never the same. all of his living years I desperately needed to talk to him and tell him how much his absence hurt me, how much I longed for him and needed/loved him~

he didn’t even come to give me away at my wedding… said he was too busy. there are so many things I wanted to tell him, ask him, share with him.. and I was unable to do so the few times I had the chance.

as soon as he sensed I was going to discuss something that wasn’t superficial, he’d get antsy and change the subject or leave. we didn’t see him much growing up, specially once we’d moved to upstate N.Y. from Ct.

maybe every 5 years or so he’d come through on a truck run, bring us gifts that unbeknownst to us were bought by his third wife, take us for a ride in his truck, try to sleep with ma, and then he’d be gone.

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{dad & me in Montreal at my aunt’s}

she used to instruct me to not leave her alone with him because he wanted sex and she didn’t want to deal with it. yeah, that was TMI and NOT my place to be taking care of her. it’s par for the course, though… there were too many things I being the oldest had to do via her commands..

one example is when the women he slept with in different cities when he was on the road, would call our home when I was young and we still lived in Ct. wanting to know where he was.. and she made me talk with them, say obscenities to them and threaten them to not call again. I know now how hurt she must have been but for fuck’s sake I was just a kid.

I was 11 when we moved to Malone (NY). we only saw him about every 5 years as I already said… the 4 of us kids were starved for our dad and each of us had a need for him… to sit on his lap, kiss and hug him… tell him things, show him our stuffs.. ya know, all of that.

so when she blamed us for his leaving, of course I believed the needs I had for my dad were bad and wrong. I’m sure we were overwhelming to him, the 4 of us pulling at him like that, but it wasn’t our fault.

she would often accuse me of loving him more than her, when she saw me cry for him.. then I would feel guilty as she yelled at me. many times she’d say she wished we’d never been born, that she should have placed us all in an orphanage when dad left so she could have a good life.

that was always pleasant to hear.. how many nights I layed in bed with fear of being thrown away like that, I can’t tell you. if my dad could be gone when I woke up, maybe ma could drop us off in the orphanage as well. all I knew was the fear was always in the back of my mind, haunting and threatening.

eventually, after I married, my dad stopped coming around all together. Dave and I lived in Alabama for 4 years and probably 3 times he came through Ozark with his truck and stopped for a few hours to take us out to dinner. I never knew when he’d come by, it would be completely out of the blue and short notice, which left me emotionally unprepared for his visit.

one of those times I happened to be making spaghetti and invited him over to eat. he came, made a few not-so-nice comments about my weight, and said the spaghetti was alright, he wasn’t really hungry. it was his favorite, same recipe ma always made for him just the way he liked it. then after he ate, he was gone. I felt so let down and at the same time like I was such a disappointment..

I was devastated by his remarks and every fucking time I saw him and he left, he took my heart with him and left me with the same emotional pain and abandonment feelings I’d had as a girl. that never went away for me until the day he died. even so, it still lurks deep in my soul, because I don’t believe not even for a moment that I have ever “gotten over” not having my father.

and die, he did. he was 56. it was his third heart attack and he was on the road in his truck up in Grand Rapids, Michigan when he pulled off to the side with chest pain, called for help on his CB radio, but was dead when the help arrived.

he died alone. he died without my having any chance to make amends with him. it hurts that he died alone.. how scared and panicked he must have been. it’s hard to put my head around that.

I was in shock. and the first thoughts I remember having are of the bubble in which I kept the fantasy about us starting over, bursting. poof, it was gone… just like that. it would never be now. for certain. a definite. the loss of that dream, that need or hope… is what hurt me the most. I felt like he really left that time and will never be back. it was so final, so out of my control… for so many reasons.

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{my whole family, and dad’s sister Clara, the nun… just before moving to Malone, NY. what I like to call part 1 of my life, part 2 being when we moved to Malone. don’t we look like such a happy family? trust me, that was so far from the truth. }

growing up, I adjusted to living without him in my life. I don’t know if I just got used to it or if I shut myself down to avoid the sadness or maybe both.. but I could always justify it in my mind that he was still SOMEWHERE and just a phone call away.

cept that wasn’t true. he wasn’t available when I did call and he certainly didn’t want me to go visit him in his new life, let alone live with him instead of ma. he told me flat out, no- there is no room for me in his life.

Dave and I went to visit him in Daytona beach where he lived with his 3rd wife and 2 sons when we passed through Florida in 1975.. we went twice. he didn’t offer us to stay there even though he had the room. one time he gave me 20 dollars and shushed me off like I was an intruder.

the second time, we stayed for a dinner. they had the house we never did. they had the toys we never did… and worst of all they had him, home most every night… and we never did. I didn’t want money or a fucking dinner, all I wanted was to be with him and that, he couldn’t give me.

yes, today is the anniversary of the day my bubble burst… and that’s what I think of in remembrance along with all this crap I just wrote out, and way more than I dared to say. no wonder I have been in pain and weepie… who wouldn’t?

it hurts to write this and claim that it’s how my life was. I’m ashamed of it, but I’m also proud that I survived. It has been a catalyst to be a better parent to my kids, far from perfect, but better than what I had. shrugs..

when I think of my jujube going through anything like this right now as he turns 5 Thursday… It helps me to put things in perspective of what my childhood had to have done to me and my siblings… and to even think of Julian being treated the way I was, rage flares up so strongly inside me that I would kill the person who dared do this to him or my kids or any other child.

this is where my pain turns into anger.. the irony is.. I lived through the same fucking painful shit when David left the kids and i. I tried my damnedest but couldn’t protect my own kids from the same kind of pain.. abandonment cuts just as deep for a child, no matter if the situation is different.

after my divorce, for my own well being I used to frequent the batting cages several times a week.. I would bring a pile of quarters and hit those balls with certain imaginary chosen faces on them to release my anger. I hit those lil bastards with all of my might- and I would do this until I was spent both emotionally and physically…

many times I’d be sobbing during and after but I didn’t care.. it helped me tremendously. the problem is, today I can’t do that because of my back and my gimpy arm. I don’t really have an outlet such as that and I need one. I have all these feelings and anger… I must find a way to deal with them.

actually, now after having written and re-read this and had a good cry- I DO feel relief. yes, I do.

well if that ain’t the horse callin the chickens little pluckers, I don’t know what is..

thanks for listening.

you ARE good people.

C

8 comments:

greg said...

I'm glad you were able to discover the true reason for your sadness and that you were able to articulate it so well here. Thank you for sharing such painful memories of your past. I know it wasn't easy but it's so healthy to let it out like this. ((hugs))

Jason, as himself said...

I think your writing can be your new batting cages. I'm so glad you put this all down. So much pain...too much to handle alone and keep inside. Why do people have to be so messed up? I wonder what demons caused your dad to be the way he was. The same ones that caused his sister to become a nun? Perhaps.

I'm glad you're working through this.

Clippy Mat said...

Chris: {{{{{{{ hugs }}}}}}}}}} to you. I wanted to say something helpful but I can't find the right words. I will echo what Jason said, your writing is your new batting cages. this explains your feelings up to this point when you were feeling weepy and down. It's understandable when you write it all down in such an open and honest way. Your feelings are so raw and obviously you need to deal with them. I could never be that brave........
If your dad had survived you might have made amends with him who knows?
Keep on working out your thoughts. I am sure it will help in the long run.
:-)

Tracey Axnick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracey Axnick said...

Oh, honey... wish I could give you a big hug. You had such a crappy, unfair childhood. No kid should have to endure what you had to... and have it leave the emotional scars I know it did. I'm so sorry this happened to you.

It's good to let it out and write it down... I'm glad you're doing that.

Pray about it too.... think of God as a Father (the BEST father).. but with a Mother's heart (and the BEST Mother, as well...) He can give you the love that your parents did not. Ask him to fill up the empty and broken places... he will do so.

Peace and love to you, my friend...

jo.irish.rose said...

yup, tracy is right, you may not have had a real dad here, but God can be your father and daddy too. he will take all the pain away.

and i know something that will help...im doing the family history/genealogy....if you wanted to, you could help. im doing the roy and higgins and also the tardif side. it goes way back to the 1600's right now. it is such a good outlet. and a sense of accomplishment to leave this legacy for our kids. i have been doing it for over 20 years now. you should try it. since your on the puter anyway, most of it is done there. some in libraries. it would be fun doing it together. k? let me know.

i know this was tres painful pour vous. but now that it is all out...don't you feel a bit better? me too....lol. i love you and miss you...your my big sissy....smoochies...xxxxoooooo!

ChiTown Girl said...

Oh, honey, what a post! (I have no idea why I'm just seeing. How did I miss this?) I'm glad you were able to have this epiphany and figure out the cause of your weepies. I cry for the child you were, and the unbelievable life you had to live. But, I smile when I think of the woman you've become. You know where I am if you need to purge things somewhere other than here. :) Love you!

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are the best. You can really dig deep and clear some stuff up in your heart and your head.
I love the photos. So cute. Such history.
((hugs))