On January 10th at 6:35 in the evening, as I was relaxing from my birthday celebration the night before, I got a text from my father’s son.
“Just letting you know dad passed away this morning at 1130..I stood with him till the end. Stay safe”
This is how I found out that my father’s life with Parkinson’s disease was finally over. A major chapter in my life closed on that day.
I will no longer be waiting for my father to apologize for not being there for me during the important times in my life. I could name every one of them but now it’s only a blur.
He won’t ever apologize for excluding his three daughters from his summer family vacations. All those vacations he took to Colombia and Disneyland in California with his other family but never having enough money to come to Miami to visit his three daughters. Never!
There are many statements I will never hear come out of my father’s voice like “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you” or “I’m sorry I cried a poor mouth when it wasn’t true” or “I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to get to know you and your sisters.” Anything like that would have been a comfort even years after the wrongdoings.
So badly did I want to hear my father say he was sorry for letting his second wife kick me out of his home because I wanted to buy something for my sisters back in Miami. There’s nothing I can do about that now. I will never hear that come out of his mouth.
While each family member will have a different version of why and how the relationships between my father and his three daughters deteriorated, it is a fact that the only reality we have is our perception of the events.
Daddy Taught Me Many Lessons
I learned many lessons from this absent relationship.
I learned that being a father means more than sending the rent check on time.
I learned that a father or lack of a father had an enormous impact in my life.
I learned that my father loved me and my sisters but it wasn’t enough to give him the courage to stand up for us.
I learned that sometimes one strong parent is enough to raise three strong independent women. Thanks mom!
I learned that being able to say I am sorry makes everything less painful in the end.
My father and my disability.
A long time ago, my mom used to say that my disability came from my father. My father would adamantly deny it. It was the biggest insult for him. But as my mom enjoys reiterating, time will tell.
Lo and behold, several years after their divorce, they each had a son and the proof was in their teeth!
My mom’s son didn’t have the well known OI teeth and my father’s son was smiling OI teeth.
Luckily, he never showed any of the other OI characteristics.
Luckily, my father loved his son to no end. His son was the pride and joy of his life.
Luckily for my father, his son was with him during a time in his life that was filled with pain and frustration.
You see, my father and I spoke on the phone often and he hated the idea of using a cane and then graduating to a wheelchair.
My father and his disability.
Parkinson’s was taking away his “manliness.” It left him feeling vulnerable and weak. He would complain to me about how life was so bad. When I asked him why. He said because he couldn’t walk.
I would get upset and remind him that I couldn’t walk either but I didn’t think life was bad.
He said, it was different for me.
He was right. It was different.
Perhaps his absence in my life was a blessing in disguise. While I was raised by my mom never being allowed to wallow in self pity, my father had about 60 good healthy years and was drowning in a cup of sorrow.
As people with physical disabilities, we must endure more than the average person and though attitude is everything, we must remember that it was nurtured, fostered or taught to us by someone.
Fortunately for me, my mom had more of an influence in that area of my life than my father.
So now my father is gone. He will never admit how he chose his second wife over his three daughters but some would say that he left us a little stronger, a little wiser, and a little more realistic about men.
Some would say that.
Some would deny that.
Some will have to live with that.
I write this because many readers have expressed an interest into more of my personal experiences. What can be more personal than getting a text message stating my father’s death?
I would love to know about your relationship with your father. It’s something that always grabs my attention. How did your father deal with your disability?
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