It seems strange to think about losing someone that you really only spent a handful of years with, but the pain is the same…from my perspective anyway.
A little background: My mom and dad split up before I was born and my father was somewhat in my life until I was three (or so I’ve been told). He tried to get to know me when I was 11, but I was scared and after a period of time, I stopped seeing him and his wife, Bobbie, and kids. I was an emotional kid and I think too much time had passed for that to be an easy transition. After Noah was born, my aunt came across my father’s father’s obituary in the local newspaper and I decided to go see him at the funeral. I was young and bold and gave no fucks apparently. That began a year or so of healing. I realized that I would never get the childhood with my dad that my heart longed for and for whatever reason (likely his drinking) we didn’t fully connect. I was glad to meet him again and spend time with his wife and kids and catch-up. Shortly after that, my life blew up with the divorce and major changes and we didn’t speak until recently. Bobbie tracked down my mom and friended her on fb and eventually spoke with her on the phone. Bobbie informed my mother that my father was dying and likely wouldn’t make it to Christmas.
Over the last few years I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and work digging out and shining light on the deep dark stuff and taking responsibility for my choices and ignorance. Learning that my father was dying was heartbreaking. It did not matter that I barely knew him. He was a beacon in my life. We weren’t close, but I knew he cared for me. I decided to go see him as soon as I was able. I don’t think I hesitated, there was no question that I wanted to see him one last time and say goodbye. I wanted him to know too, that I didn’t hate him or hold a grudge for how life worked out.
I took a trip to Florida the following week and I’m so glad I did. When I went to him after Noah was born, I was still a child. I was needy in every way and took whatever he would give me and left without caring about their feelings. Now, I’m grown, standing on my own two feet as healthy as I can be and wanting only to tell him I loved him face to face. I spent as much time with him as I could. He was in and out mentally, but we had a few good conversations and I met some of his siblings and got to talk with Bobbie and Lucas (my step-brother) again. It dawned on me after talking with Bobbie, that I had a stepmom. It gave me some new perspective on how the kids relate to Heather, their stepmom. They are a healing balm, for sure.
He passed away on New Year’s Eve, surrounded by family and hopefully at peace.
Grief is not logical. I’m so thankful that Bobbie reached out and did the work to find me, to give me time to see him again. It was precious.
I really don’t have any pictures of him, but my mom had an old photo album with a few from their time together many years ago. I like to think I was conceived in love, just as my children were, and life happened the way it was meant.