Sorry I haven’t been around again. I’d love to just blame the absence on the looming deadline or chaoticness of motherhood, but, unfortunately, being an adult isn’t that simple. Last Sunday night I got a call that my biological father was in critical condition in the hospital and a half hour later he’d passed away. So I’d also love to tell you that I’ve been grieving his loss for the last week but it’s not quite that simple either although I sure wish it was. Again, tangled emotions and complicated situations make me long for the simplicity of being a child. Not that that was so damn easy either.
My father and I were never close. My parents divorced when I was four and my mother moved in with my father’s best friend six months later. Neither “father” was all that crazy about their situation and I ended up a girl without much fatherly influence in her life. I’ve dealt with that in past posts but maybe purposely avoided the whole “bio dad” bit. We didn’t have a whole lot of contact once the Sunday Dad visits dwindled to once or twice a year and then finally I moved away completely.
As I have definitely mentioned, things were pretty horrendous with my step-father so I secretly harbored a hope that although he’d never been interested before, perhaps one day my real father would turn out to be a great guy who just hadn’t been given the opportunity to be in my life.
I kept up with my father off and on -mostly off – but eventually I moved back to Los Angeles hoping to have a relationship with him. I found that the father I’d fantasized about was in reality about as screwed up as you can get. He was only interested in borrowing money and feeding a drug addiction I hadn’t known about but was soon to know too much about. I stayed in his life for as long as I was emotionally able but eventually, after years of struggling with the guilt of trying to help and the longing for some sort of normal relationship that wasn’t to be, I was drained of everything I had to give.
I hadn’t been in touch with my father at all for the past five years. He’s never met my daughter. My father, who has been married and divorced four times, sadly had not one intimate relationship in his life at the end which makes me incredibly sad. But as a comedian he had a remarkable genius and charm that influenced a great many people and in the end, left an indelible legacy.
The thing is, you never know how you’re going to feel about someone dying. There have been times where I was sure that all I’d feel was relief that there would be no more phone calls threatening suicide unless I paid his electric bill and no more guilt that somehow the way he lived was my fault. But I don’t feel relieved – just confused.
I do know this for sure: I will always look up to him for his incredible, subtle, dry sense of humor (my absolute favorite), his awe inspiring talent influenced me to follow in his stand-up comedy footsteps and eventually led me to my writing career. He gave me laughter and he gave me life -for that, he will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, dad.
Thank you for all the nice comments but I’m closing them now because, really, what can you say? If you have a story to share about your own parents you are always welcome to email me directly!