“Today could be his last”?, is a truth I told myself since I was 19 years old. I first felt the sting of my father’s potential death when I embarked on a journey around the world in 104 days. He taken me home to Trinidad and Tobago where I felt connected to him and my family like never before.
While in Diamond Veil at my uncle’s house during the Christmas season I began to feel alienated. The conversation that cool evening was getting pretentious, religiously judgmental and boring. Unable to bare the boredom I left. To no one’s knowledge I walked home to the family house my father and grandfather built where my aunt, four of her five adult children and my younger uncle ewere living.
When I arrived I was greated warmly and soon berated for walking the streets of Trinidad alone. My father had called the house worried about my whereabouts and wellbeing. This came as an utter shock to me. Never in 19 years had I experienced my father’s concern for my health let alone my whereabouts. His entire anger driven words uttered in a fear drenched tone of voice threw me for a loop.
At the time of our Trinidad and Tobago trip I was no longer living with my parents in New York City. I’d moved to Philadelphia on the morning of my 18th birthday. I was nearly 23 months a free and independent person. I came and went all over Philadelphia as I pleased all hours of the day and night. I answered to no one when I made moves. I didn’t even check in with my parents.
Checking in wasn’t a thing we did. For 10 to 13 years my parents would take us away to our other homes of St. Martin or Florida and never require us to “check in”. Sure my mother complained about it but my father’s stance on the matter was straightforward, we’re busy and if something is wrong… you’ll hear it from the cops.
Given my upbringing, I was surprised by my father’s once in a lifetime concern. For a man who choose not to come home many nights during my childhood for whatever reasons he had as a divorced man, I didn’t care for his new found judgment and double standard treatment. I made my perspective clear. I was never shy about speaking frankly with my father.
Fours months after that trip while sailing the vast oceans of earth I was hit with somber emotions from the future related to my father passing. No longer a christian, I prayed for my father’s health, his life and more time with him. I wanted him at the wedding I would never have. I wanted him to meet the children I’d never have. I wanted adult vacations with my entire family once we worked out our differences.
Seventeen years later the relationship between my father and I no longer exists. In 17 years my father has gotten multiple heart stint surgeries, re-moved in with my mother, gotten prostate cancer, been in multiple car accidents including being pinned between 2 cars while not in a car and lost function of his left arm. He’s still alive torturing my mother in a fucked up cycle of divorced lover payback.
Eight months ago our rocky surviving relationship came to a natural end. For years I mattered less and less to my father. He’d become old man grumpy and nit-picking. After participating in my husband’s shotgun wedding and mannying my first born for 2 years he declared he was done with me, yet he continued to maintain a supportive parental relationship with my year younger brother.
The relationship’s nail in the coffin came while visiting my parents for nearly a month. I needed a break from the pandemic. I also was trying to avoid another burn out. The vacation ended early with the on set of my midlife crisis after my father called into question the very nature of me being his child.
My father and I had a fight over my sister. A child he’d fathered and not directly parented as he’d done myself brother and multiple cousins. The topic was her mother’s attempt to sex traffic my sister via a 2 year marriage for $20,000 payday for her mother. Just four hours south of my father’s two bedroom house that sat empty much of the year my sister has been struggling with codependency, financial abuse and emotional abuse. For the remainder of that trip my father said no words to me until we left his home in a storm to drive home through two freak of nature winter storms that barreled through Texas and Louisiana.
My parents disowned me during that trip. My father who never called or text to check up on me hit me up months later to see about staying at my house. Not to visit me but to attend the wedding of my husband’s brother. A kid I knew for 13 years, taught to drive, designed his tattoos and had a kid for because of his annoying begging for a niece or nephew. The same person who kept me out of his wedding because I was not a guy thus ultimately ending our friendship. I was still struggling with both my parents neglect and the loss of a brother when they all threw it in my face how insignificant I was to them.
Two emergency location notification texts later with zero explanation I get a text from my ex-mother aunt to call her, again no explanation as to why.
After all of that, my mind went back to the feeling of death seventeen years yearlier. I realized it was approximately seventeen years between feeling the future sensation of my grandmother’s death and her actual transition. It wasn’t new, shocking or alarming.
What if my father had died? I was already over it. Befor be died he’d disowned me. Made clear to me his thoughts about me being a sinner and his room enough for only love of my brother and his grandkids. In the split second it took me to get over thr possibility of my father’s transition I’d felt the memory of long ago. I’d also felt all the pain of rejection. I have no respect for my parents. They didn’t know what they were doing. They were forced to do much of what they did and they gave no thought to how I would be effected by their life’s experimentation on me. I grew up believing I was a bad person because my parents didn’t think it was important to pick me up on time from daycare. I was left for hours past closing being threatened to be handed over to the police.
The questions I now live with are was I turned in to the police. I was I adopted? What’s the big secret around my life? Why did my parents treat .e like a step child? None of which will ever be answered because those people don’t believe in honesty. My mother thinks honest talk is the devil. My father refuses to take anything seriously and admitted to purposefully pushing for negative outcomes to entertain himself.
With all of this on my heart, when the thought passed my mind “what if your father is dead or dying?” I thought “oh well nothing new to see here.” Then I thought about the things people say about regrets and I realized I have none. I tried. I did everything they asked of me even lead I life I would have personally chosen not to lead if not for their insisting. I have no regrets about my attempts to reach out until I hit critical and bottomed out. I live as an orphan now. I have no parents just memories of ghosts and wounds that have healed. Some wounds old and scarred others as fresh as this year. If my father is dead, he’s already been mourned. Same for his wife. I have no fucks to give related to the father I no longer have.
Harsh to say but as an orphan via neglect why down myself on the sins of others?