One of the biggest hurdles I've had to clear in my life was my fathers death - and everything that came along with that.
I was six years old when he died in 1988.
I remember being in kindergarten at 36th Street elementary school in room K-12 and that particular year, right near the end of the school year we made these father's day cards. They were shaped like vests. We cut out felt to glue on the front of the cards, and mine was a teal color. I remember telling my teacher that my dad lived out of state and i couldn't give him the card. And when she said "You can mail it" in the most lovingly gentle way, I thought it was the best idea in the world. I remember being excited to ask my mom if i could mail it to him...and I did that.
I remember during the last conversation that he and I had, which I still vividly remember to this day, which happened to be the day he died, he told me that he had gotten it - and I could tell that he was happy about that. Looking back, i think he's the reason why I liked talking on the phone. That is how he and I maintained our relationship.
For years I have felt incomplete, because I hadn't know much about the person who was responsible for creating me. I only knew basic things, where he was born, who his family was and the name we shared.
I didn't know his favorite song, his favorite color, his favorite food, the things gave a little more detail into someones personality. I wanted to hear stories, I wanted to hear about the things he said or did...good or bad. But I've realized there was more bad than good.
Whenever I ask about him, people always get quiet and a bit put off, almost a bit annoyed - and probably without even realizing it. But I always get the question "What do you want to know about him?" And my mental response is, what the fuck do you think i want to know? He's my father, tell me everything so I can know him, since he's not here to tell me himself. I've always felt people were evading the topic. While I understand it's difficult to talk about someone who was dead, i feel like that's where they wanted him - dead. It was almost as if my father was a big secret, the secret that no one wanted to talk about. It's as if I was meddling when I questioned others about him.
To this day there has only been one person who I feel has been completely honest about my father, that wasn't on some surface "you would have liked him" type of crap I've been sold all these years. That is my uncle Herb. He was the first and only to tell me stories about my father, he's the only one that i feel has been honest in painting a picture on who my father really was. And I thank him for that.
I've carried around the baggage of now knowing who my father was for 22 years. Feeling incomplete because people were too selfish to tell me the truth. As an adult, I realized that telling the truth would reveal their irresponsibility and character flaws and the part they played in his life. It's amazing how far people will go to save face to make a grieving child think they are perfect and they can do no wrong.
I have a young sister - and I always think if her father or mother died, how would I handle it. What would I say? What would I do? I would make sure she knew the truth, whatever it was. I would be descriptive and vocal enough to tell her so she could feel like she had known them all of her life - not be left in the dark and treated like her parents were some big mystery.
My entire life I was left in the dark about a person who I should have know for exactly who he was - not some picture that wasn't even close to who he was. Or even pieces of who he was.
This particular issue has been the root of my depression most of my life. For the last 15 years, every summer commencing on June 19th exactly, I get depressed. I get suicidal and my life is out of orbit...ever wondered why I've always hated summer and stayed in the house and avoided people? There is your answer.
For the first time since I can remember, I can say that I'm not depressed and I'm not allowing this issue to keep festering in my body. I've come to some terms with something that has taken a toll on me mentally, physically and emotionally. Not knowing my father has definitely had a direct effect on my weight and my drug and alcohol dependency over the years.
Today is the day I put all of these issues to rest, something that my father never got a chance to do himself.
I broke the chain for him.
Happy fathers day.