Last night my sister Janet called me to tell me that our father had just died. I knew that someday I would hear it and I wondered how I would react to it. I didn't react other than to console my sister who was and still is obviously hurting.
This morning I woke up around 8 am. I watched a bit of television; took a shower; and then ate breakfast. It wasn't until my mom called a while later that I even remembered about my father.
So who exactly was my father? To be honest I really don't know all that much about him. If you were to ask me I wouldn't be able to tell you his age or birthday. While on my way to the store, I tried to think of how many times I have ever even seen him. It can't be any more than 5 times in the past 30 years. Before that, too few times to even count. Every once in a while us kids would stay with him for the weekend or go to his company picnics. If you could dare to call them pleasant then I suppose those were the pleasant times.
What I remember of him before he fled the country was that he was an alcoholic who became more violent with each beer. I have vivid memories of his violence. I remember going to sleep in my own home and waking up somewhere else because my mother had to flee from him in the middle of the night. I remember screams, broken doors and him holding the knife while my mother bled. He is the reason I don't drink alcohol.
Decades later when he finally returned to America, the violence seemed to be gone but the alcohol was still there.
Since I can't remember ever seeing him sober, I can't know who he was or what he was really like. I don't mourn his loss. I'm not even sorry that I had to say that. I barely knew him.
I hurt for my sister Janet. Despite the terrible things my father did, and then his ultimate total abandonment of us, she still found a place in her heart to take him in and give him a home within her home. She gave away some of her peace and security to give him comfort, and then had even more taken away when she had to ask him to leave because he was trying to cause the collapse of her family. I hurt for her because she had to face his bitterness afterward and also the bitterness of my cousin who called to tell her he was dead.
I even hurt for my Cousin Laura and Aunt Margie. They too had enough love in their heart to take in a very flawed man and be with him as he died. I also hurt for them because while doing so they also took in some of his bitterness, so much so that neither of them let us know of his cancer and chemotherapy. I hope they can rid themselves of the bitterness because it deserves no place in anyone's heart.
To those who knew him and still loved him, I genuinely offer you my condolences for your loss. I hope that you can have the peace that he never found