It's a frustrating fact that I've known for some time, but the desire to be sad about it became even more intense two days ago when I called to check in on him and his hospice nurse told me that he was so deeply drugged with Morphine that at this point, he has about a couple of days to live.
If it were my Mother, I would've hung up the phone, packed up the kids and the car, and got on the road to Texas. But it's my Dad, and there are obstacle -- really ridiculous, frustrating, hateful obstacles that should not be in my way. . This has just gone too far.
Most Recent History of The Obstacle:
My Dad got really sick just before Thanksgiving. All indications were pointing to eminent death. He was delirious. He weighed in at 85 lbs. He had a crazy high fever. And he could not get out of bed. So, I went to my hometown, Port Arthur Texas, four days before Thanksgiving to be with him. I needed to say goodbye before anything happened to the man that it took me half a lifetime to finally get an audience with. The man I'd day dreamed about as a child, but did not get to know until adulthood.
Going to my Dad's bedside turned out to be a horrible mistake. It killed a lot of childhood fantasies that I'd concocted and held onto into adulthood to hold on to the sense I'd made of my life. For example, while I was at my Dad's home over the Thanksgiving break I learned the following:
- My Dad had acknowledged me to several members of his family (including his late wife), but never to his only son.
- My Dad's son has known of my existence and resented me to the extreme.
- My Dad's son is powerful and mean.
- My Dad's son hates me.
As a child, I envisioned a day when I'd be reunited with my Dad, the proud Reverend, and he would bring me into his big, beautiful home to live with his beautiful wife and their son. In this fantasy, my Dad's new family would love me the way I loved them. Why wouldn't they? We all had the same last name, and I look just like him. To a small child, this fantasy made a whole lot of sense.
Of course, in reality, I saw my Dad about 6 times my entire childhood. By the time I turned 18, I had abandoned all hope of him ever wanting to have anything to do with me. That's just the way it was.
Then, a small miracle happened. One that I'd prayed for from as early as I can remember: As I packed the car up to move to Arkansas after graduation, my Dad pulled up in front of my Momma's house and told me that he wanted us to have a relationship. It was a true indication of the goodness of God to a woman with the heart of a girl and the never-ending desire to have her father in her life.
From that day on, me and my Dad have had a really amazing relationship.
- Me and my Dad have talked 4 or 5 times a week on the phone.
- I've spent countless nights with my Dad in his home.
- My Dad has been an incredible grandfather to my children; especially my sons who love him dearly.
- My teenager daughter has spent the summer with him.
- I attended his50th class reunion with him and my two uncles; which is one of the highlights of my life (pic of my Dad and his brothers at a reunion event I attended with them)
Fast forward to today. My Dad is dying and I've decided not to go home and be with him because if I do I'd face a very angry half-brother that will do whatever he can to make sure I feel like the outsider he's determined that I am.
When I was there for Thanksgiving, he said, "I will not spend one moment under the same roof with this woman. I do not know her, and I do not want to know her. She is not my family." Daggers to my heart.
I'm stuck now. I'm hurting because we are in the last days of my Dad's life, and I'm too afraid to return to Port Arthur to tell him goodbye. It would mean that I'd have to face my Dad's son and his look of disgust, and just don't have the strength. I will not let anyone take away the memories we've built over the last 15 years. These wonderful memories that I cling to that warm my heart every time I think of my old man. These wonderful memories that are just not strong enough to erase the childhood of disappointment and grief I suffered as a result of not having my Dad in my life. I just can't let him take the good memories away from me. There are not enough of them to shield me from the bad that wait just underneath.