Everyone pretty much knows by now that I have been having problems surrounding my family since my mother passed away. I haven’t talked to my Dad since before Thanksgiving (he stopped answering or returning my phone calls), I haven’t talked to most of the rest of my family since the days right around my mother’s death. (I lost all family support because of my Dad drinking and telling people things about me that weren’t true.)
Night before last, I received a text from our old roommate saying that a family member had tried to contact me through her and that it was about Dad. I don’t have a good number for this person, I managed to dig up an old number early this morning when I couldn’t sleep, but it’s not their number anymore, so I guess I wait and see if they attempt to contact me again. I’ve decided that I’m not going out of my way about it though since I have already decided that I don’t want to get involved again.
The thing is, this is one of those family members that I haven’t spoken to since the day Mom died. I don’t know if they’re aware of what has gone down between me and Dad or not. I don’t know if they know that because of the damage to my reputation (among other reasons), that I now live two and a half hours away from him and everyone else. I don’t know if they know we haven’t spoken in over a month (since the last time a family member contacted me saying something was “wrong” with Dad and he became hateful when I finally reached him after blowing his phones up for almost an entire day).
This person certainly hasn’t been around to deal with all the fall-out I’ve dealt with surrounding my Mom’s death and my Dad’s subsequent tumble back into alcoholism. They haven’t heard the things from some of Mom’s closest friends that I have. Haven’t heard the drunken retellings of marital problems I wasn’t even aware existed.
They weren’t there when I cried the day after my mother’s death as my father went and sold all her jewelry except the few pieces I managed to grab for me and my siblings, and was later accused of stealing. They weren’t there when I was forced to take all my Mom’s clothes out of the closet and drawers and go through them to be given away to Goodwill at my father’s demands before she’d even been cremated.
They don’t know how many times I picked him up out of the floor where he’d fallen because he was drunk. They don’t know he was drinking and driving. They don’t know that he called me a bitch to my face when I told him I couldn’t stay with him if he continued to drink. They weren’t there when I had to take away his checkbook and ATM card in an effort to keep him from drinking and driving after he popped the curb near his apartment and could have hit the children playing nearby. They weren’t there when he made it a point to remind me that he is not, in fact, my actual father and that I had no say-so in anything he did.
They don’t know what I’ve been through. What I’ve dealt with. The pain I have suffered in the months since Mom passed while I watched my entire family either slip away or walk away. They don’t know the shame I have suffered as the lies that have been told on me in an effort to gain sympathy have gotten back to me.
They don’t know what I’ve been through.
I honestly don’t know what they expect of me. I don’t know what he’s done (this time), but there really isn’t anything I can do. I tried. I did my part and I was run off carrying the burden of shame that was not mine, left to try to defend myself to people that know that before my Mom died, Dad didn’t lie, so they assume he’s telling the truth and that I’ve done these things. They haven’t been around to deal with any of it, to see what I was put through, to be supportive of me while I tried to care for him and wasn’t even able to grieve for my Mom until months later.
I don’t know what they expect of me now, but when they finally reach me, they are in for some surprises when I tell them what I have already been through in the last seven months and that I am just not willing to jump back in the fire with this one again. They are welcome to do whatever they think is necessary, but I’m not getting in it again.
For me, that part of my life is over.
I tried to be there for Dad, I tried to take care of him, tried to help him take care of himself. I tried to be the dutiful and loving daughter that I felt was expected of me and everyone left me alone to deal with it with no help and no support. All I got from him was belligerence and accusations and damage to my character and reputation with people I respected that I can’t fix without painting a very ugly picture of him.
I shouldn’t care about what people think of him because of what he’s put me through, but he’s my Dad and I do, so I chose to remove myself from the situation instead of either having to deal with shame for things I have not done or constantly defend myself and make him look worse than he’s managing to make himself look.
Maybe it’s selfish of me to not want to get involved again, but it was selfish of my “family” to leave me completely alone when I was going through it, too. They weren’t the only ones that lost something when we lost Mom. They weren’t the only ones that hurt and were confused and had their foundation ripped out from under them. All of those things were mine as well, except I dealt with it alone, not by choice, but because I had no choice.
So no, I don’t think I will be jumping through any hoops to get in touch with them as I originally tried to do. I have left them a message with my number where they can see it, if they ever bother to look, letting them know that I don’t have a number for them, so have no way to contact them. I contacted another family member yesterday (the only one that was there for me at all after Mom died) and asked if they had heard anything and they haven’t. If he had passed away or was in the hospital, I can’t imagine that this person would not have heard something by now, and they will tell me if they do.
I still love my Dad, and I still love the rest of my family, but they have never managed to be around when I needed someone to be there for me. I have never been able to count on any of them for anything, really, other than judgment for my life and choices.
I have finally begun the process of dealing with the reality of my childhood and my life where my family is concerned and I am trying to heal myself from the things I have gone through. Jumping back in the middle of it now to once again be the “family bitch” that deals with everything just isn’t in my plans. That role in the family is no longer mine. I was there through my Mom’s end and tried to be everything the family expected of me to my Dad and was reminded that he is not mine to care for, so now that burden falls to his real family.