I miss my dad. I have been missing him ever since he day he climbed into a bottle. What emerge was not the father I knew and even after 30 years of recovery he was not the same man.

I was a "Daddy's girl" the apple of my father's eye.

I came to be his daughter when I was two and a half years old. It was a cool September day, he and my mother had me on what was suppose to be a visit or rather introduction.

As the story goes, my parents had taken me to meet family friends and were running late on returning me to Family Services. Father phoned telling them he was going to be late but they were on their way. The Family services representative asked if he wanted to keep me. He replied to the positive and was told I was his and he could drop by the office in the morning to finish the paperwork. Father dented our friends refrigerator door when he punched it and exclaimed " I'm a Dad".

I remember that first night. I cried for hours laying in my father's arms, my cheek against the cotton shirt he was wearing. He held me all night as we napped in his green recliner.

I have memories of our going off into the winter woods, slogging through the snow dragging my toboggan to collect a Christmas tree. We decorated that tree with soft bubbling lights and glass ornaments that seemed to shine like the stars in the night sky. I remember the presents and can to this day see the smile he had at my squeals of delight.

I had what I thought was a memory of him striking me while my mother stood arms crossed in the doorway. And a male voice telling me "if you are going to cry I'll give you something to cry for". It was only after therapy that I came to understand this memory was not of my Father but one that had occurred prior to my being placed with them.

I was a happy child safe in the love of my dad.

Then life changed. I was not yet five years old, we had moved to a larger house close to schools and other children my age. Father was away for longer periods of time, although he wrote me often it wasn't quite the same. Then the adoption of my first brother and the loan of my Father to HRM Naval forces in England. That is when Father started drinking in earnest.

For two years I would sit on the curb outside our far to large home at twilight and wait to see Dad walking down the Dale, I would run to greet him and we would skip down the street. Funny to still see in my mind a full grown man skipping like a child.

By my seventh birthday, mom was pregnant with her first child, my second brother. Father returned later and later every night and I stopped waiting to see him.

We moved twice after my youngest brother was born, prior to coming to Canada. My father seemed oblivious to me. We had our moments but they were marred by some drama. He always seemed angry.

In the years that followed I never seemed to be able to please him or find his acceptance. Nothing I did was correct, even eating dinner I would get yelled at for eating to fast. Dad couldn't know I ate fast to get as far away from the family as quickly as I could. Even late at night when I would wander to the kitchen to get a glass of water I would see the glow of his cigarette in the darkness, his voice would be harsh, " go to bed".

There is an incident in this period of time where my safety came into question. I recall seeing my Father molest my grandmother, calling her Dorothy. My mother sent me to my room and she slept sitting at the end of my bed between me and the door. I remember sleeping with my hand under my mattress firmly gripping a bayonet. ( even under hypnosis this incident remains so I know it is not a fabrication, my grandmother, before she died, confirmed the night. )

Father was no longer just verbally abusive, I witnessed him literally kicking my brothers up the stairs. I had seen him slap my mother and threaten physical harm to my friends.

Prior to my fourteenth birthday, I cannot remember if I was twelve or thirteen, (this is one of the many periods of time I cannot grasp, a black hole where all memory is lost.) My father was once again screaming at my mother, and she was tossing it back at him. Mother and I were making dinner. Somewhere inside myself courage surfaced and I turned to both of them telling, not asking them to stop. This brought the full brunt of my father's anger into my face. The verbal barrage was so intense he spat on my face as he yelled into it. I would not and did not back down, I gave my anger back to him. I told him if he did not leave that I would as soon as I was old enough. That he had become a tyrant and I no longer loved him.( I had added that I pretty much had no use for my mother either but that is another story.)

I do not remember dinner that night or even if I ate. I recall him yelling into the night how I was going to become a slut and the older of my two brothers would be a pansy. I remember the following morning and finding my mother crying because he had left and it was all my fault. A lot of blame for a kid to shoulder. (I find myself crying now because that child still shoulders that blame and absolution was not received from my mother.)

Life then began without Dad, but always revolved around him. Mother moved us to be closer to him. Father was clear that he wanted no contact with any of us. Then he went into recovery.

I studied the "blue book" from cover to cover and anything else I could find to better understand the twelve step program he had finally chosen. I remember calling him after his second ( or was it third) wife left him asking him to please not return to the bottle but get to meetings.

I tried for years to find some ground back to my father, but was never successful. Never mentioning the bad years for they were the past and I wanted a future. I went into therapy to try and understand the dynamic, to deal with my hurt and that despite his being an alcoholic ass I was still angry that he had left me with "her".

One day, when I moved into my present home, I went to hug him and thank him for assisting in my move. Dad had helped me after my second husband passed away, assisting in getting me back to Canada and reminded me of it often. Dad helped me move here, I thought we were making inroads. But that day as I reached to hug him, he stepped away. He physically stepped away.

In the few years that followed Father and I seldom saw one another, although he lived forty-five minutes from me. Dad controlled the visits and it was never just the two of us alone.

Father's now widow called on Christmas Day 2011 to tell me Dad had been admitted to hospital. She had come home to find him on the floor pulling back the carpets to try and pick up all the candies that had fallen. There were no candies. My father had crossed into the fog and was delusional.

Any hope I had of finding some path back to him was gone.

Father passed away in September 2012, nine months after admission, never regaining his mind that had memories of me in it.

I am thankful that every time I spoke to him or saw him I told him I loved him.

I sit back now and realize that I have smoke half a package of cigarettes in writing this. I feel such sadness and grief pours into me. I know I must deal with the feelings, give them names and own them. I must permit the child who lost her beloved one to cry. I have long since forgiven my father for abandoning me, how could he know how his actions would affect those around him.

I cry for what was lost and can never be found. At long last I can release the grief and still hold tight to the love that keeps my Father alive in my heart.

I can feel the physical pain of grief and attempt to be clinical in how I am affected. To use the tools I have learned over the years to move beyond the pain. But for this moment I will cry and release.

1 Comment
  1. ancientgeekcrone 9 years ago

    You wrote a heart rendering sad blog. I hope it was a real carthesis for you.

    Mine isn't as horrendous, but I was Daddy's little girl and lost that status, but the similarity ends there. Still, feeling like I was no longer Daddy's little girl, hurt. If I also suffered the rest of it (your story), I may not have been able to forgive and let it go to move on with my life.

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