Thank you so much for all your lovely thoughts and wishes after the passing of my father. I have chosen to keep them private for now – I hope you understand. They have all touched me greatly and I appreciate the time and thought you took to write. Thank you.
It has been an interesting week. I’m very tired and emotional and for a change there’s not a hormone excuse in sight.
I attended the funeral accompanied by a very good friend who decided in all her wisdom that I really shouldn’t attend on my own (she’s good!). It was strange to be confronted by pictures of the man I didn’t know, and even stranger to hear the stories of how wonderful a father and grandfather he was. To hear that he remained with the woman he left my mother for all these years was comforting I guess, in the same way that my mother remarried and is still with that man too, it just wasn’t ‘right’ for either of them at that time.
I didn’t go to the viewing, and I am not sure I could have done that. To see his coffin there was heart-wrenching and I wasn’t prepared for that at all. I wasn’t prepared at all for the level of pain I felt. It hurt way more than I really expected and I can’t make out if the pain is from knowing that he is now gone, or from the guilt I feel.
To hear his grandson deliver the eulogy and see how overcome the grandchildren were to have lost their Poppa gives me some indication of how he might have been in life, loving and devoted to his family, seven children, 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren too. But I was also sad because I know there are 9 children, and 24 grandchildren.
Everyone knew who I was. This in itself was unsettling, to be amongst a group of people I’d never met, but who all knew all the important stuff about me. It’s not that I didn’t feel ‘welcome’, but I felt like I really didn’t have a right to be there, grieving for someone I didn’t know. I felt like I didn’t have the right to cry, I had finished grieving for him years ago, I cried every night for years, wondering why he didn’t want to know me, why he didn’t come to see me, wondering why I wasn’t good enough, and then when I had my son, I went to see his mother (am so glad I did) and took him to see her. She asked me to come back the next day. I learnt that my father went there and waited all day just in case I came back. But I didn’t go – I was too scared, I didn’t know what to say to him, so I stayed away. This will now be the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life and I will regret it forever.
I visited briefly with the family after the service and was made very welcome. I heard from family members how he remembered me and my brother on every birthday and Christmas, had pictures of me from the newspapers, etc (his mother collected them). He told everyone how beautiful and clever I was. I can understand how it might have hurt the other children for me to be there, but I am so glad I went.
My step father found out he had a sister in his fifties…I remember how weirded out about that he was…she wasa hairdressing client of mine for years before we knew….funny I always felt an affintiy with her – we were more friends than client’ hairdresser. But he doesn’t see her now – not since the first time they met.
I’m not sure whether I want to, or even can forge a relationship with these people who are my family, or what the niceties of figuring that out are?
What if they do and I don’t – or vice versa – what is the etiquette?
It’s like walking up to a complete stranger on the street and saying “Hi – you don’t know me but I want to be your family”.
Most people would say (or think) “F*&^ off idiot!”
BTW I started getting a cold last Wednesday (the same day I learnt of his death) and I slowly slipped further and further into it’s clutches as I missed more and more sleep.
I’ll return to normal soon.