About this blog
My relationship with my father is so confusing – I still struggle with who he really was and what our relationship was. My father died 5 years ago today – and I miss him. As I write this tears are slowing rolling down my face.
I idolized my father for so many years. I was told I was lucky to have him, that I was his favorite, that he spoiled me, and he would never hurt me. And I believed all of it. I never questioned anything he did – I really believed he was a great father. I repressed all the memories of abuse; this made it a lot easier to believe the things I was told.
I was seeing a therapist for about 2 years when she said that I was neglected as a child. I became angry and defended my father – I didn’t understand how she could believe that I was neglected. The fact that I went to church and school dirty – my face wasn’t washed – my hair wasn’t brushed, I only had 2 or 3 pair of pants, I had to wear them several times before my stepmother would wash them, I was left at home alone when I was 8 or 9 years old – none of these things seemed out of the ordinary to me. It was my life- I thought it was how everyone lived. I was depressed and confused after my mother died – no one provided any support – I was 6 years old and was left to make sense of my mother’s death by myself.
I was finally able to see that I was neglected when I was asked if I would ever treat my children the way I was treated.
I was asked to provide examples of my father being a caring and loving father – I couldn’t come up with much. He gave me two cars but both times he was trying to manipulate someone else. I really can’t remember anything else – I don’t know if there were instances or not – when I try to come up with examples my mind goes blank and I’m unable to think.
Several months later I started to remember my repressed memories of sexual abuse. I still struggle to accept that my father abused me. It is hard to reconcile the father I believed he was with the memories of abuse and torture. It is hard to reconcile the father I saw everyday and the angry man who violated me in so many ways. It’s hard to believe he is the same man who got off on my pain and fear as much as or more than he did from raping me.
I had back surgery May 01, 2015. I was unable to visit my father for several weeks. I received a call on May 30th – I was told that I should come see him; he wasn’t expected to live through the night. I went to the nursing home, there were about 4 or 5 other relatives in the room. My father was lying there with his eyes closed. I was told he hadn’t opened his eyes all day, my sister told him I was there, he opened his eyes, he looked directly at me and smiled. I told him I loved him and that it was ok for him to go. He closed his eyes and didn’t open them again. He waited to see me before he died. He wasn’t intimidating – he was a sick old man. Would he have waited to say goodbye to me if he didn’t love me? If he loved me would he be able to hurt me the way that he did?
I went home and received a call at 6:30 the next morning. I went directly to the nursing home; his body was still warm when we arrived. I held his hand until it grew cold, I move my hand up his arm, and against his side until all the warmth left his body. My husband wanted me to leave before his body was picked up. I didn’t want to leave him – he seemed so vulnerable. Hospice was there with us, they agreed to stay with him until the funeral home picked him up. This was one of the most intimate interactions I have every had with my father. It was the closest I had every been to him and felt safe. I was able to say goodbye. Would I be so close to a man who hurt me so badly?
If he didn’t hurt me than why is he in the memories of abuse? Why did being with him trigger me after I started remembering the abuse?
It is difficult to reconcile the 2 – the father I remember, the father I miss, the father I mourn does not seem to fit with the man who hurt me.
Who was he really? Have I blamed him for things he didn’t do? Wouldn’t my feelings change if he abused me as badly as I remember?