June 23 — A Distant Death

The day before my whole family was due to board a plane to Florida for my husband’s family reunion cruise, I got a call from my uncle Phil, who was a complete stranger to me.

My father left at my birth and we didn’t meet until I was fifteen.  I was apprised of his life by phone calls from his mother, as he went through six wives and became a Navy retiree.  However, Paul and I had not spoken personally for ages.  Grandma said he had a contract job in Saudi Arabia for the previous few years, and consequently I thought nothing of the lack of communication.

Ours was always a distant relationship.  He was a ghost who drifted in and out through the stories of others or the pangs I got when watching my husband being a fabulous father to our girls.

Paul showed no interest in me, and only once appeared in person when he mistakenly thought my mother was signing my custody away.  I realized even at fifteen, that though he was the sperm donor and a source of my genealogy, he was no father to me.  He never even expressed any interest in his granddaughters as they joined our lives, and I suppose that is when I finally truly wrote him off as a loss.

They say little girls grow up to marry their fathers, but I must say that was not my experience.  Instead, I had the freedom to make up the “wish list” for the man I would one day marry, and I think it worked out much better that way.  My father was the most emotionally remote person I have ever met, and I think I would have spent my life trying to please someone who could not be pleased.  It would have made me a far different person than I am today.

So, back to the call and that unusual day; Uncle Phil was calling to say that my father had committed suicide in prison.  I was shocked and actually thought for a moment that he was pulling some kind of cruel joke, but no, it was true.  Paul had not been in Saudi Arabia for two years…he had been in prison and met his end there that day.  I don’t know if this was the result of many years of mental illness or whether he was just tired of being alone.  Based on the crime that sent him to prison, I would assume the former, but I will never know.  It is mildly ironic that my work now is in mentoring programs for children of the incarcerated, for I never dreamed I would eventually be one.

He will never know me or what I have done in my life.  He will never know his beautiful, intelligent granddaughters who are achieving so much in theirs, and of course, they will never know him.

Not even in my stories, for I have none that would cause them to care.

I am a wife, mother, performer, businesswoman, philanthropist, genealogist and lover of life and a fan of the free will which God has given me to choose what I will do and just how happy I will be doing it!  http://kalipr.wordpress.com

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3 responses to “June 23 — A Distant Death

  1. “It is mildly ironic that my work now is in mentoring programs for children of the incarcerated, for I never dreamed I would eventually be one.”

    This is more than “mildly ironic.” If there is such a thing as fate, it is working here.

    I am sorry that you were deprived of the loving father that every child deserves. How fortunate that you were blessed with a husband who is a wonderful father to your children!

  2. Jinni Turkelson

    This struck a chord with me because my father died when I was two. I grew up wondering how my life would have been different if he had lived. It would be so much worse to know he had not lived well and made bad choices. On the other hand, you have made good choices and have the family to show for it. I’m happy for you that you can count your blessings.

  3. This was very powerful to me: pain, realization that the pain was for the best, pain in the wishful dreaming of what could have been. This pain and the understanding of it would make a good memoir that could help countless other children. So glad to hear you have a happy life.

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