A year has come and gone since the separation, the divorce being finalized in October, and my outlook on life has improved. For a while, I thought that life wasn’t worth living anymore as the divorce made me feel as if my best friend had just died. Some days I felt depressed as I came home to an empty apartment, no sounds of children playing and fighting, no one welcoming me home after work. Fortunately I never reached a level of depression where I needed medication or refused to go out of the apartment. The main reason for that is my faith in God and I knew that, even though this change was now permanent, there were other things I could do besides sulk.
12 Years later, I return home.
2015 began on a very negative note as I received word that my mother had died. Although she was 82, her death came unexpectedly. Not only that, but my father was in the hospital as well having surgery done to prevent problems that he was experiencing.
My relationship with my family in Ohio was not good but, with her death, I wanted to return home and make things right. As the new year had begun, my intent was to make amends with my parents and sister and inform them that I was now divorced and living alone.
After I had talked with my sister, I began packing as I definitely wanted to go back to Ohio, not only for the funeral, but also to see my family and make things right. My sister had told me that the funeral had already been prepared for and even paid for by my mother. Said she even picked out the music to be played during the service. I told her with our luck, Mom would be standing off to the side making sure her funeral went as planned. I wasn’t trying to be morbid or disrespectful, but just using a little levity to lighten the mood. It worked on my sister as she knew how strict our mother could be sometimes.
I can honestly say that if there was ever anything wrong with my life, and the way I live it, it’ is my own fault and not of my parents. They raised me right and made sure I could make my own way in the world. If anything, they may have been too protective which is why I chose to travel to the other side of the country so I could screw up my life the way I wanted to. But they did give me the necessary things to do what’s right which is why I have a job, a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food on the table. Schools can only teach a child so much.
Later in the week I went shopping for warmer clothing as I knew the winters in Ohio can be brutal. I am, after all, a survivor of the Blizzard of ’78. Look it up online! I was not looking forward to travelling in the snow. I don’t mind looking at it, but to shovel it and drive through it, was something I could do without.
I spoke to my father that Saturday for the first time in about seven years or so. He was in very good spirits and, thankfully, the stroke didn’t affect his memory or motor skills. Although he did lose some muscle mass in his legs, therapy would help fix that problem.
I wanted to call Friday night but the sudden emotions welled up inside me when I realized how unfair it was that it took the death of a loved one for me to contact my family back east. I was a fool to allow such nonsense to get in the way of relations with them but I had to make things right.
After speaking to my father, I made sure that I told him that I loved him, something I don’t think I had said very much. Then again, I was a child of the 70s and men don’t express their feelings that way. But I said it to make sure he knew how much I cared despite the strained relationship.
Back on the Homestead.
For the 11 days that I was in my hometown, I lived in our house and slept in my old bedroom. It brought back a lot of good memories and also opened up my creative channel. As I stated in my previous article, I had planned on writing short stories in 2015 and try to reestablish myself as a writer. Being home all those days gave me the motivation to complete my story titled, Dream Girl, as well as the desire to write Fantasy again.
Since I wasn’t working, I got up when I wanted to, lazed around the house a bit, ate lunch, and then drove out to the hospital to spend the afternoon with my father and family. During those “lazy” mornings, I sat down at the dining room table and worked on my short story. Something inside me awoken that had been dormant all these years. It’s not that I lost my creative edge, but the channel from my creative well in my mind, to the fingers on the keyboard, opened up fully so that the desire to write fiction was strong. Maybe returning home and healing old wounds was just what I needed to do.
You’re not my Dad!
During one of those days at the hospital my youngest sent me two scathing text messages. It seems that that’s all she ever did since I left the family was sending me texts that verbally assaulted me. In these texts, she told me that she will acknowledge me as her biological father, but not her dad. She listed the reasons, which were valid, and then wrote me off altogether. As if dealing with my mother’s death wasn’t enough, now I had this thrown at me.
My relationship with my youngest was strained and I was labeled as the sole reason for her problems, hence the divorce. I was hoping that time away would help but it seemed to make matters worse.
She only sees the negative side of our relationship now and anything that I have done for her benefit is null and void. Yes, I’ve missed dance recitals and whatnot, but here are some of the things I have done for my children:
- I went to work every day, earned a paycheck, and kept up with the bills.
- I put food on the table, clothes on their back and a roof over their heads.
- I made sure immunizations were current and records were up-to-date as well.
- I made sure they went to school, got them there on time, and that they got a proper education.
- If they were sick, I took care of them at home or, if need be, drove them to the doctor.
- I never smoked, drank, did drugs, or go to bars or strip joints instead of going home.
In my mind, I’m sure, she assumes that these thing are what all parents do and therefore not worthy of being mentioned. But I know, growing up as a child myself, not every individual had one or more parents that did all of these things. For now, all I can do is pray that somewhere down the road in the future; she’ll want to make amends. Until then I will just have to wait.
My oldest is still in touch with me but, given that she’s a teenager, my presence doesn’t seem to be forefront in her mind. We spent a couple days together earlier this month, which is the first time since I stopped by their house in December to drop off Christmas gifts. The two of us went over to Fountain Hills to visit the park and generally hang out. She doesn’t have the same issues as the younger and she looks at me the same as she always has. At least, from my vantage point she does.
Father’s Day 2015
This year I was planning on ignoring Father’s Day altogether and all subsequent holidays in the future. If my children don’t want to be a part of my life, they why should I bother to celebrate it? I then realized that I’m still a father regardless of what my children think of me and I should be proud to be part of the process which brought them into the world.
As I do, in regards to my birthday, I plan on creating my own Father’s Day celebration with or without the girls. I’ll be watching two episodes of Doctor Who; 1) Father’s Day with Christopher Eccleston and 2) Dinosaurs on a Spaceship with Matt Smith and featuring Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) as Rory’s father. I recently purchased a collection of Western films (50 in all) and so I’ll be watching a couple of those as well. In addition, I’ll be going through old photos of the girls, back when they appreciated me as their father.
As I continue to live my life alone, I now have a new outlook on my future both as a Christian and author. Maybe all I really needed to do was go home.