In February my paternal grandfather passed. He is the person I am named after and who represents the legacy I want to leave.
As a result of his passing I would have to go to his funeral which I did not want to partake in because of my bad relationship with my father.
I haven’t seen my father since 1995 and it was our last court proceedings for child support payment issues. At that time of my life I had a tremendous love for my father and I had high hopes that he and I would renew our relationship and have a bond. I will admit as a result of my father and I not having a relationship I have serious “daddy issues” and I think innately it is the cause why I have bonding issues with men socially, but I digress. Leading up to the funeral was an ordeal. I had only been in contact with my half-sister and to boot my younger half-brothers mother died within the same time so I had two funerals to go to in a week’s time. So I wasn’t in a really joyful mood because my stepmother’s death (now my father’s ex-wife) was so unexpected. My sister and I had been talking about the proceedings and my participation in them. I was asked if I would pall bearer my grandfather into the proceedings with my half-brothers and to stand with my siblings for a speech my sister (who is the eldest of my father’s children) would give.
I declined it all.
Only because my father was the one who suggested idea and was placing the suggestion to my sister to ask me. I was insulted because we had not spoken in almost two decades and he didn’t even have the courtesy to reach out to me personally to ask me. I was enraged, but I furthermore explained that I was not doing it because I did not want to give people the idea that we were one happy family and I did not want someone speaking on my behalf for the relationship that I had with my grandfather which my half siblings experience was very much different to mine and I know it could not equate at all to what I had to say.
I sat in that funeral conflicted the entire time just unnerved by my father. I was pissed, heartbroken, devastated, enraged, frustrated, upset, and invalidated. I felt everything at once so I walked out and stood in the hallway until it was done.
Before that I realized the man resting in the casket is the one I was named after. I always wonder if God knew before we knew that he was the man I was going to look up to, but the secondary half of my genetic code who sat front row, front seat had all the glory at that moment and was seen as the tragic victim.
I don’t hate my father, but it is simply disdain. I wished every day of my life until I was sixteen that he and I would have a relationship. That I would get a dad and that he would come looking for me. In the sixteenth year of my life I found out some more truths of my father and the crimes he committed against my family. I realized then that our relationship was no longer repairable. Not only that but when I finally met one of my half-brothers and saw another of whom I have not seen since he was three I was immediately rebuffed. So now my little brother hates me and it appears that my other half-brother wants nothing to do with me as well currently. So which brings me all the way back to the funeral and being in a room full of siblings and relatives who don’t care for me and have no interest in me because my father kept us separated and didn’t try to build our relationship. I never had brothers either so that eats at me too. The straw that broke the camel’s back which led to me walking out was a conversation I had with a third cousin.
My half-sister introduced us and she said “Oh you have the same name as my cousin resting up there.” I followed up and said; “I know I am named after him.” The look on her face was puzzled and confused. She clearly had realized that she had not gotten the memo on something. So she plainly asked who I was related to. In my mind I’m like; “Really bitch? If she is telling you that I am her brother and that she is the daughter of the son of my grandfather and I am named after him completely from first name to surname. Who in the fuck do you think I am?” So I kindly explained that I am Leonard’s son. She asks the most idiotic question. “Why haven’t I met you before?”
*As the gears, spokes, do-dads, and springs because to rust, completely stop, and then explode….
I said to her kindly, “Oh love no one has.” She got up for a speech shortly, I listened to her speak of my grandfather, and that’s when I hit to the lobby. Fuck my life though, my cell phone was dying, but luckily my niece came out to talk to me. I tried to explain my grievances, but I think no one understands how infuriated I was. No one understood how uncomfortable I was. I eventually just went outside grabbed some air. Still pissed, but I was masking better because my niece started to feel what I had been feeling for years. There is an unsurmountable tension between some of our relatives on my paternal side and it is thick. Eventually my brother in law and I got my niece calm and went inside. I decided well it’s time to go. I said goodbye to my brothers and gave my sister and niece a huge hug and began to walk to my car. Before I could cross the parking lot I hear….
“Why don’t you stay and eat son?”
I didn’t recognize the voice, because I haven’t heard it in years, but I knew no one had the right to call me son, but my dad. I politely declined and said no thank you and that I was ok. He asked if I was sure as I was still inching to my car, but I continued to decline.
He says; “Take care of yourself.”
I reply; “I always have been.”
I got in my car and left. I had my opportunity to give him my mind, but today was not about him it was my grandfather, the man I was named after, the man I would want to be one day.
I had so much I wanted to say while I bashed his skull into the brick wall.
“Why didn’t you come find me?”
“What did you say to make my brothers hate me?”
“Why did you let me go without a fight?”
“Why did you hurt my family?”
“Why didn’t you ever love me?”
I think it will be the last time I will see him. I can’t say now I will attend his funeral.
The lesson from this is that a child from a broken home always has hope that their parents will return and if you have left your kids I promise you that they are still looking for you through the window and standing in the door of their heart and mind waiting for you to show back up. There is still always a swallow of hope. Even with me there is still a very, very small piece of me that yearns for a dad. It is an emptiness that really can’t be filled, but each day I get better at dealing with it.
I will say in closing. As much as I have disdain for my father who provided genetically to my awesomeness I know the bible teaches us to honor thy mother and father, but the Ten Commandments said nothing about liking them.