I don’t know what I meant to my father.
That is a tragedy.
I should know what his hopes and dreams were for me. I should know how much he loved me and how much I meant to him. I should know, on some level, what I meant to him. Because as it stands, I am pretty certain that I just didn’t matter. I existed for him twice a year when he visited me and tried to catch up on an entire year of events and moments he missed. But this isn’t about my father’s presence or his lack there of. It is about what he felt it meant to be a father to me, and that I will never know.
I often asked him how he could spend so much time with his step son and none with me. His reply was always that I had a husband and his step son had nobody. I was married young and had a child young. I may not have still needed my father but I still wanted a father. Time and circumstance do not lessen a daughter’s want to have her father in her life. My mother in law is a prime example of that. At 60 years old she moved back in with her mother and father to help take care of her mother after a stroke. After her mother passed she stayed with her father to help take care of him. He was in his 90’s and still playing 18 holes of golf, but he was limited in his driving the car, and as her father, he wanted her there. They didnt’ necessarily need each other. They just chose each other. They wanted to be with each other. Father and daughter at 70 and 90. That is pretty telling of how he felt about his daughter. To be told that I had a husband which meant my father felt no obligation to me felt, just that, I was an obligation passed on to another man.
My father will tell you that he loved me. But people who live by words are often left very empty inside. His words meant nothing because his actions didn’t follow through. If love is not an action, then it is a love that matters not to me.
I let my father go 2 years ago when I knew he would never change. I knew he would just keep disappointing me and hurting my heart. The sad part is, I don’t think it even mattered to him. My father is burned in my mind as a coward. A happy go lucky, cheerful, flirty, everyone loves him, life of the party, coward. I never once saw emotion from him regarding me. I was an afterthought. I knew it. I ended it.
I don’t think of him very often. Rarely. Today I wondered, what did I really even mean to him. As a father he failed me. But why. Why did he choose that. And why does everyone else in his life give him a pass. Why does the facade matter more than the man? I will never know. And that is ok. Because my pondering over him has passed as it quickly does, every time. I don’t believe he truly wanted to be my father. It was apparent in his actions. His words were empty, always.