My parents split when I think I was 3 but we’ll say that cause it’s close enough. We saw my dad a few times but not much. He took us fishing once (if my baby memory is correct), road us in the truck he drove to pick up milk once or twice, took us to the lake with my mom once because she convinced him she’d take him back if he paid for the divorce she needed from the man she cheated on him with (the man that kicked me down the hallway if I got in his way), and he bought us twin (but boy/girl versions) bikes for Christmas. Oh, and we went and stayed a few times with him at Granny and Granddaddy’s. That is what I remember about him before we moved to Tennessee from Georgia with my other Granddaddy and Grandmother when I was five. We maybe went back to Georgia to stay with him at our grandparents house a few times after that, but it wasn’t much.
It was decided that we would spend half the summer with him the year I turned 9 and Joey turned 10. This plan was to continue every summer, that would give us a way to see him every year. So, the year I turned 10 we decided the day, packed our bags and waited for his arrival. I feel like we took our suitcases to the porch and back in a few dozen times that day. I remember sitting by mine on the porch and then taking it back in to check the time multiple times. We tried calling many times that day but thought he wasn’t answering because he was on his way. Late in the afternoon my stepmom Jean finally answered, and she said Daddy had changed his mind, they weren’t coming, and he didn’t feel like talking to us.
I did not speak to my Dad again until I was graduating high school. He would not come to the phone if we called and he did not call us. I didn’t care that he’d missed everything. I didn’t care that he left me with a mother that allowed my stepfather to come into the bathroom to watch me bathe after I had grown breast and had to tell my grandparents to get it stopped. I didn’t care that he left me with this man that spanked me every day before I went to bed the years I was 10 and 11. I didn’t care that he left me to have to worry everyday while I was at school about what I would accidentally do that would get me those spankings. I didn’t care that he left me with the man that kicked me down the hall. I didn’t care that he left me with the mother that wished so hard that we were all grown up and gone so she could finally be happy. I just knew that there was a daddy out there somewhere that probably didn’t love me because I wasn’t lovable. I wished that he knew how awesome I’d become despite the spankings, kicks and pervy bathroom viewings. I just needed to show this to this superhuman that I knew had to be the most awesome person on earth because that is the way I dreamed him in my head during the years he was gone.
I sent him an invitation to my graduation. He called my grandparents and got our number and made plans to be at my graduation. The evening of the graduation, moments before I was about to leave, he called to tell me he wouldn’t be coming. I told him it was fine that he couldn’t make it the night of because I’d be with my friends after it was over and if he came a few days later we’d have time together then. Then the m-effer flipped the script on me. He said, “so you were going to let me drive all that way and you didn’t have any intention of seeing me when it was over.” I learned over the years that this was how he handled everything. He was good at turning everything into “look what you did to me.” I cried my eyes out over this and I’d probably would have never stopped the whole ceremony if it hadn’t been for Sharon Billingsley who woke me up to realize that I hadn’t done anything wrong when she said, “that son of a bitch.” It allowed me to finally catch my breath. Until she made me understand who the bad guy was, I thought it was me. Super Daddy would love me if I wasn’t so unlovable right? Let’s retrace shall we. I had not laid eyes on this man or heard his voice until I graduated high school since I was 9 years old but now, he was mad at me because I was going to spend the night with my school friends after my graduation. He hadn’t seen or spoke to me in 8 years but now spending one evening with me was the most important thing on his list, well, that is, if he was actually going to show up but he wasn’t. So do the math on that. Man mad at 17-year-old child for doing what 17-year-old kids do when they graduate from high school because she would be blowing him off if he hadn’t decided he wasn’t coming. So, he is mad at me for not going straight to see him even though he isn’t going to be at the place I was suppose to go straight to see him. I know it’s complicated, but it comes much easier to understand once you’ve been through it a time or two.
We finally had a relationship after I had my first son. We went to live with him for 7 months the year Lance turned 2 (he is 33 now). It was hard to live with someone so controlling but I think I might have stayed if I didn’t miss my family so much (especially Granddaddy). I worried about who was taking care of Trista and I think I had an emotional breakdown worrying over her while I was there. There were good things about it and bad. I’m going to tell you the good things.
He did love me. He was so proud of me. He even learned to squeak out an I love you sometimes. He loved the shit out of Lance and Lance loved him too. I watched him so hard, always studying him to see what of me was also of him every time I was around and could. Even after I moved back to Tennessee and went back to visit, I studied him like he was a cell under a microscope. I had his broad shoulders. The man was a vitamin taker just like me. He loved to walk, and I loved to hike. He wanted to be healthy and did what a man could do that grew up like he grew up at the time he grew up to be that way. He loved babies. He was so good with them. I got such a charge out of watching that part of him. He was stinking funny. It was subtle. The kind of humor that must be followed by, “that was a joke.” The same humor I have. He was brutal with his honesty. I cannot even imagine him telling a lie. He wouldn’t be nice just to spare your feelings because that would be pretending he was something other than who he was. I’m the same way. I don’t know how you get that through DNA, but I did. I could see it so perfectly in him because it was in me like a clone or carbon copy. I understood this part of him and loved it so much.
Over the years we had exchanges that left me the bad guy and always seemed to make him take the position that he was being used. The kids said Grandpa Joe always took them to buy a toy when he came and that meant they only cared about him for that one thing. I stopped to see him (at Bryan’s urging) on the way to the beach one time and he said I didn’t come to see him; I just needed a place to stay. It’s exactly what I told Bryan would happen and he said he would just be so glad to see me he wouldn’t care we would be leaving the next morning. Bryan told me he’d never ask me to go back there again after that. My sister’s kids were living with him and he gave her daughter to foster care to punish her and when I found out about it, it left me feeling abandoned all over again just as if his abandonment of her happened to me. It’s what finally made me give up on him. I did not know how to make him see that a baseball bat to the head would not make me stop loving him. I just decided to love him from my house and my state. I was just tired of the game he played were I ended up hurting him without doing a single thing but try to love him in whatever way he would let me. I don’t know what year it was the last time I looked at his face. It was at least a decade ago.
My Dad’s sister started corresponding with my brother recently telling him that he was sick. I thought about going but I could see how my stepmom would try to make me feel guilty and wrong if I did show up. I could see him getting upset and telling me that I just showed up when he was on his deathbed, so I could inherit whatever there is. I also thought about writing the story of it all like I’m doing here so he might see that I love him and that I could have shown him if he’d allow me to do it my way without him blaming me like he’d always done. I thought telling our story from my perspective might finally help him see his part in the ending of our relationship. I thought I’d send it through Facebook to my nephew Zach or stepmom Jean and see if they would give it to him and it could be our start to mend. The day (9-17-19) I was going two write to him I pulled an oracle card for guidance and it said to “forgive those people and situations you’ve been dragging around a while.” It asked, “What or whom do you need to release?” I took this as a sign that the forgiveness and the releasing this situation was on me and I told myself that letter was not supposed to be. What if he was so sick it crushed him to know the life he left me in for all those years and I also wondered if asking another family member to deliver it was fair to them. Do you tell someone you’d know how much I love you if it you didn’t make it so hard for me to show you while they are in the middle of dying?
My brother gave up on him probably a decade before I did, and they had not spoken in years. Joey would avoid him if he came to visit when he still tried because he was hurt. You can read my story here but Joey has his own story and his own complicated feelings. I can tell you my story but not his because while I was cowering in my corner growing up trying to protect my own self, he was living his story that I did not have time to always pay attention to. We don't always get along, so I finally realized that including my dad when he didn’t, did not win me any points with him. I decided to follow his lead and if he changed his mind about him, I’d do what he wanted to do about our sick father. It's not Joey's fault I didn't go. It was my choice and this is how I decided to deal with it. Joey didn’t have 7 months of living under his roof at the age of 22. He didn’t get to see all the things that were our dad that are him too. There is so much. Joey never changed his mind. Daddy died this morning without us.
I know you probably think I’m tormented over that but I'm not. Joey might be but he shouldn’t be. Here’s why:
You won’t believe this because you did not grow up in a culture that supports this belief even though there are so many cultures that do. When we are born, we have a plan. We have a team. We’ve always been on that team. We determine what lessons we need to learn, how best to make that happen and what parts we will play in each other’s life to support it all. Maybe I’ll be your sister in this lifetime and next life I’ll be your father. Sometimes your life will be filled with pain and sickness to learn that lesson you chose before birth, sometimes it will all be happy and sometimes your job Is to help advance someone else on your team. You choose. Even when you seem like the bad guy you have made a choice to live in a way you may be hated or unloved just to advance yourself, some other soul or the souls of the whole team. Being the bad one may be the biggest sacrifice of anyone on your team.
Reincarnation cases have been studied by the thousands and hold up to scrutiny. People sometimes remember every detail of a past life and can remember details that can be traced back to their origin. It happens with children but if not given prompt attention over time they will forget. Sometimes they even remember their team and deciding on who will be their parent. Daddy was on my team and so is Joey.
I’ve learned when I cannot fix a relationship in the flesh, to do it through soul. This week I realized that my Dad might try to wait for me to finally show up for him and it hurt my heart thinking that he might. I talked to him through spirit Tuesday morning on my way to work in Lafayette drowning in tears. I told him, “Don’t wait on us. We aren’t coming.” I said, “When you go back to spirit you will finally realize how much I love you; you’ll see me, and you will feel it too.” I told him we will convene there and if he wanted to talk to me, I’d hear it. I told him if he wanted me to tell Joey anything, I’d hear that too and I’d convey the message. I can do that. It’s not the first thing I tell people I’m meeting the first time. It first happened when my Granddaddy (George) died and it’s happened a few times since. I cannot control it. I wish I could. I wish I was one of those people you could ask about your dead aunt and I’d get you answers but I cannot do it. It happens when it happens. He hasn’t spoke to me yet, but I can tell you this. He knows that I always loved him. I never expected him to be something he wasn’t. I let that go. I can accept he wasn’t the dad I thought I needed. We are good on this. No hard feelings.
Joey you are good with him too. Don’t ever feel bad. He loved you and he knows you love him too even if it was lost during this life. It was part of the plan that it would turn out this way. He taught our souls not to neglect the babes we brought into this world. He taught us to always be there for them. It was his job and he did it by showing us how it would feel to not have someone there for you and it ended with him learning that lesson for his self when at the end, we weren’t there for him.
He played his part, we played ours and I am thankful for this. I love him and cannot wait to team up with him again. Maybe next time we won’t have to be at odds with each other. Thank you, Daddy. Our love surpasses all time and dimensions.