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Friday, December 18, 2009

Broken Hearts Club

I come from a very dysfunctional family. Dysfunctional with a capital bold D. Something happened today to make me see that dysfunctionality so clearly but before I tell you what that was, I feel I should give a little intro...

I am 32 years old. I have not seen my father since I was 6 years old. In short, he abandoned me.

I spoke to him once on the phone from the time I was 6 until I was 19 and only then because I happened to answer the phone for his call to my mom to tell her that his mother (my Grammie) had died.

When I was 19 and Princess Ivi was a tiny baby who suffered from severe asthma attacks, I decided it was time to talk to my father to get some health info. I spoke to him once on the phone and he and I each exchanged one letter apiece before he pushed me away with his cruel words. I never did discover any health information.

I went through a genealogy phase in my mid-20s and set out to answer the burning question of "who am I" by researching my father's side of the family. I was pretty successful with the genealogy aspect, tracing the family back from Massachusetts to Quebec to France in the 1400s. However, all the research and names never answered that "who am I" question.

My sister attempted to mend fences with him even though her memories were solid memories of hurt rather than some wispy tendrils like those rolling around in my head. She is 6 years older than me so she was a real "person" when we last saw him. After some months, my sister abandoned those attempts when it became apparent that in the mending of the relationship, the past would have to be rewritten to ease the conscience of our father. Given the fact that my sister was in her early 30s by then, it seemed unfair for her to have to pretend that life didn't happen the way it had.

My brother has not spoken to our father or seen him in 26 years. Neither my brother or father ever took steps to mend their relationship.

Dysfunctional? Oh yes!

Brought to light today by the email I received from ancestry.com advising me that there was a social security death index match to someone in my tree. Imagine my surprise when I opened the email to see that the match was to my father. After some research, I was able to discover that my father died on April 13, 2009, forty-eight days before his 70th birthday. No one, not my step-mother, my half-sister or my half-brothers, bothered to tell me or my sister or brother about his death.

It is hard to think that he is dead. In my head, I always knew that he wasn't going to wake up one day and realize he missed his kids and commit to doing whatever it took to make a relationship with them. But it didn't stop the little girl's heart that lives in me, that small and fragile heart, from hoping that one day he would realize that he wanted me and loved me. Now that little heart is broken and sad.

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