She admits that she often searched the obituaries for records of his death. Was it concern or curiosity? Perhaps it was simply a quest for closure. It was too late to change the inevitable. Notice of her father’s death came from an unassuming stranger. The kind missive declared that her father “left this earthly planet quietly, peacefully, and eagerly anticipating his next great adventure.” A remembrance was planned in his honor. She wondered how his life story would be celebrated.
She would not be there for the simple service of remembrance. She remained unnamed in his obituary, as did his other two surviving children. He never met his four biological grandchildren. Her memories of him were scarce. As a young child, she recalled accidentally poking him in the eye as he helped her change into pajamas. His reprimand was fierce enough to last beyond fifty years. It seemed so trifle that it was her one childhood recollection. After her parents divorced, her contact with him was limited. Ultimately, he signed her over to adoption to her mother’s new husband. He did not bother to discuss it. What excuse could make it acceptable?
It was no surprise that she idolized her mother. It was no wonder that she worried what made her so intolerable that he could abandon her. She could not help but feel desperation. She felt rejected. She lived her life trying to please others, so they would not push her to the side.
When she was in college, she saw him seated at the university pub. He was there to take night classes. She bravely approached him. He looked at her with less than fatherly concern. He did not recognize her. She was devastated.
She did not speak to him for many years. Her sister died without making contact with him. Enter social media. She received a message from another daughter, who did not know of her existence. They became friends and shared similar tales. He was not in her life either. Her brother wanted nothing to do with him. His offspring all elected to stay away from the man who hurt them and did not take responsibility for his actions.
This was not completely the end for her. He contacted her and shared stories of family history. She explained her feelings of rejection. He tried to justify them. She could not handle his failure to apologize. Nevertheless, she forgave him with a simple thought. After all, he had no father. How could she expect him to be one?
He began to dabble in genealogy research. He had reason to believe that he had no biological connection to the dad whose surname he bore. He implored his mother for answers and used them as the basis to search for his true father. His project included DNA testing and led him to discovery of probable relatives. One woman came up close enough to be at least a cousin, or even a half-sister.
It was this woman who was with him when he took his final breathes. Their shared biological connection brought them together at the very end. How sad that he could not make peace with the children who once needed his love.
I understand he left us a letter. I am only glad that I forgave him before he died. I love writing life stories. Sadly, I know too little to contribute to this one. May he revel in his next great adventure.