Tonight has been the hardest night I have ever had in my whole life. A little more than an hour ago, I got a call from my father’s new wife, Darlene. They met a little more than a year ago, and got Married this past Thanksgiving. It took a very confusing call to get it out of her, but she finally told me that my father had a heart attack and was now with my Grandparents.
I have often wondered how I would deal with this first person that was really a part of my life died. Well, this is it, and I am wrecked. It is a bag of mixed emotions, I haven’t always had the best relationship with my father… Growing up, he tried, but failed over and over at truly understanding me, and I failed to understand him. For much of my life, I resented him for being that absent father, to being the one that left when I was just starting to struggle with my teenage years when my parents got divorced.
He tried, when I was young, to bond with me – taking me on a fishing trip to Canada… But he hurt his ankle the first day, and the rest of the week, I had to spend with the people we went with, not really knowing them. He tried getting me to be interested in his life… taking me to the dunes when I was a kid and getting me to ride the big wheel motorcycle… I hated it, and even more, hated falling in the sand and getting it in every crack.
When my parents got divorced, it only separated him and I more. I really came to resent him at that point, not wanting to go over to his place, but having to because of visitation. All through college, he was not there for me. I don’t know if he resented that I didn’t want to follow in his interests or wether he didn’t care at that point, but we didn’t talk but at holidays at that point.
It wasn’t until about 6 years ago, that he started trying to make amends for earlier by helping me get financially back on my feet, and trying to get together for a once a month dinner. It was an effort on his part, but I struggled to get past the past. It wasn’t until I had been with Dan for a year, that I finally decided it was time to have the conversation with my dad that I was gay, and it went way better than I could have imagined.
Since that point, my father and I had been in close contact and talked more often, and I felt like we were really getting to know one another. Then his health prevented him from being able to stay in Colorado, and had to move to a lower altitude. It was there, that he met Darlene. Obviously a good influence on him, it really seemed like things were better. He had a hard time visiting here with his condition, but seemed like things were getting better for him down there with a little exercise.
He and Darlene decided that they were going to take a trip up to Alaska to get away from the heat of Yuma, AZ. They were to go up for a few weeks, meet up with my aunt and uncle and godparents. Tonight, he was enjoying dinner with some of Darlene’s friends and after having some ice cream, sat down on the couch, and the rest we know already.
While we may not have always had the best relationship growing up, we had made amends, and I finally felt like I could let the anger go. I am thankful that he and I had that opportunity before he left this earth, and I hope that wherever he is now, that he is finally at peace. I haven’t always said it Dad, but I Love You, and I will miss what we had been able to start.