Old 09-09-2009, 03:29 PM   #1
leaper1
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Default Feeling weird and wicked [in Biblical sense]

Actually, despite supposedly being good with words, I canít express in words exactly how I am feeling.

Let me try to explain, and please donít judge me too harshly.

You see - I just heard my father died on Monday.

Problem is - I was more upset when I heard a while ago that Matt Searcey had died. I felt closer to Matt; an online friend from Alís Place whom Iíd never met and hadnít chatted to in ages, than to my own father, who I never knew at all.

He left my mother, my brother Steven and I when I was six years old, and I honestly donít have a single memory of him. No good times, no sitting on Daddyís knee, nothing.

Growing up, there was no child support, no birthday cards, no Christmas presents. Iíll confess that I thought of him as dead, because it was easier to bear than being abandoned by a father who seemed to have forgotten we existed.

I heard nothing at all from him Ďtil just before my 40th birthday. His sister Yvonne and my mum remained friends. He asked his sister to ask if Steve and I would be prepared to try to establish a relationship. Independently, we both said yes, but heíd have to make the first move.

His move was to send me a flowery, gushing birthday card from his home in Canada [for anyone who doesnít know, Iím British] saying ĎBirthday greetings across the milesí like he was away on a business trip. No letter, just Ďall my love, Dad.í

I sent a message thanking him for the card, but again said he should be the one to initiate a dialogue. Yvonne told us that his wife [2nd or 3rd, Iím not even sure] had died and he was feeling his own mortality. He admitted to her he wanted to come back to Britain, and was looking to Steve or I to help him in his advanced years.

I heard nothing Ďtil Christmas, when I got another card, all love and roses, and a very brief note on the inside cover. No apology, no regrets, no real explanations of his side of the story Ė just that there had been faults on both sides. No duh!

A lot of things had been going on in our lives at that time which I wonít go into here, but my family was feeling very vulnerable and fragile. An adult who professed to be a family friend but who broke promises and tried to come between us left my kids hurt and confused. I didnít want them to meet their grandfather only to have him do the same.

So I wrote the hardest letter of my life.

I told him if he wanted forgiveness for leaving us, he had it. I wished him well. If he wanted money or a place to live, sorry, but we had none to spare. He may be my biological father, but he was in effect a stranger. Iíd done okay without him for 35years, and I didnít need him now. I felt guilty for shutting him out, but I honestly couldnít handle it.

My brother told my mum that heíd done more or less the same. Iíve just learned he changed his mind and did establish contact, and my father visited Steve and his wife a few years back when she was ill with cancer. Steve now says he doesnít know why he bothered. He found Pete totally self-centered and not interested in Steve and his family at all beyond what they could do for him.

Still, now Iím feeling wicked, because I profess to be a Christian, and the third commandment states that I should ĎHonor my father and my motherí.

Trouble is, I never felt like I had a father. I know I should be distraught at the death of a parent, and yes, I am sad, but as I said, to me he effectively died when I was six. My eyes are moist writing this, but I canít cry for him. I cried for Matt.

What does that say about me?
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:14 PM   #2
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Oh, Helen, what a sad story. It doesn't say anything bad about you if you don't have any feelings for your "father." You don't have to be distraught at the death of someone you never knew. He didn't act as a father to you, and you don't have to feel bad about lacking the usual feelings of a daughter. It's quite natural to feel more strongly about someone you knew only online, because you knew more about him and perhaps had more of a relationship with him than with someone who happened to be biologically related to you.

You may have a lot of feelings about the situation that you don't even realize yet. Take the time to let them out and try not to be too hard on yourself for them. You must have an awful lot of negative thoughts about him, wishes, etc. Not to second-guess you, that will be for you to work through. I just don't think there's anything weird or wicked about your feelings.
Take care.
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish View Post
Oh, Helen, what a sad story. It doesn't say anything bad about you if you don't have any feelings for your "father." You don't have to be distraught at the death of someone you never knew. He didn't act as a father to you, and you don't have to feel bad about lacking the usual feelings of a daughter. It's quite natural to feel more strongly about someone you knew only online, because you knew more about him and perhaps had more of a relationship with him than with someone who happened to be biologically related to you.

You may have a lot of feelings about the situation that you don't even realize yet. Take the time to let them out and try not to be too hard on yourself for them. You must have an awful lot of negative thoughts about him, wishes, etc. Not to second-guess you, that will be for you to work through. I just don't think there's anything weird or wicked about your feelings.
Take care.
Thanks Snish.
I did have negative feelings about him when I was younger, but not any more.
The first thing I said to my mum when she passed on the request for us to make contact was that I wouldn't do it if it hurt her, because he'd hurt her already and I wasn't going to add to that. She had a tough time raising us with no support, and I love her. My loyalty is to the parent who was there for me. She said that if she had wanted to prevent it, she had only to keep quiet, but we were adult and deserved the chance to choose for ourselves.
I left all my anger and hurt behind when I wrote him that letter. I'm sure he had his reasons for what he did, and the choices he made. I meant it when I wished him well.
Had he not left, things would have been very different I'm sure - but that's not to say they would necessarily have been better. I had a great relationship with my mum, and with her parents who formed an extended family and helped raise us. I can't say that I feel I had a neglected or deprived childhood.
Since I wrote the post above, I have been a bit tearful, but I'm confused as to exactly what I'm feeling. It's a strange situation to be in.
As he was residing in Canada, there's no way I could have attended the funeral even if I wanted to, since I don't have a passport. I honestly can't say if I would have gone had it been over here. I just don't know.
Do I send flowers?
Not even sure where I would have to send them, or if it would be hypocritical of me if I did.
Not really sure of much at the moment.
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:18 PM   #4
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**Hugs** Please don't be too hard on yourself.

If you're uncertain about sending flowers what about a card?

Keep in mind what your father chose to do is his actions alone. It doesn't reflect on you or your family.

Give yourself a day or two to think things out and you can come back to it after you've had time to digest it.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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What does that say about me?
It says that you're a human being, nothing more, despite of your beliefs. Let me tell you that, if I had been in your shoes, I wouldn't have even made a response to him the first time, let alone written him a letter or accepted his "gifts." 35 years without him and you'd done okay, as you say, then what was the point? Sometimes you have to move on, and I'm sorry I'm going to be a bit harsh here, but it seems obvious to me that it was not that he wanted to establish a relationship with you or your family, but he needed you only to cover his own interests (feeling his own mortality, feeling guilty - sure, after 2 or 3 wives -, etc., etc.; I'm sorry but sometimes it is too late, and sometimes you can't change what's happened). It was not that he wanted you back, but he was feeling alone and old, and he didn't want to die alone. No one ever wants to, but none of us ever think about that until we're coming down to it. In the meantime, we keep hurting people and being ugly with each other.

You see him as a stranger because he is a stranger, and that's why you can't cry for him. I'm sorry but those were his decisions, like somebody said above, and he is not your cross to bear. He gave you your life, yes, but he didn't give you your happiness, or everything you have now. He brought you to this world, but you didn't need him to learn about it. If I were you, I wouldn't even bother with flowers (or with anything at all), but that's for you to decide. And I know the bible says many things, but you don't have to follow them to the core... but well, that will be your decision, too. After all, I'm telling you all these things, but, in many aspects, I don't see life like you do. I'm an atheist and a nihilist, so I don't believe in the bible, to begin with.
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:40 AM   #6
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I'm quite sorry to hear what happened to you.

I think that sending flowers might be a helpful action. I don't know, but there may be some form of closure in this. After all, you were being nice and receptive in the relationship up to now, so it might be a way to say goodbye. I think that you did "honor" your father. You forgave him, and remember "To err is human, to forgive is divine."

Good luck, and I wish the best for you!
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:32 AM   #7
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You want to know what's the right thing to do, Hellen, and you're looking for the social response to it, the social point of view on what is right and what is not, but let me tell you something, and I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but, when it comes to personal issues like this one (and this is a very delicate issue, especially for those of us who are reading and responding), the social POV is not enough. It's not for us to decide what is good or what is bad about your situation. Who are we to decide, anyway? Aren't we just imagining what we would do in your shoes? The truth is that we can tell you many things, we can imagine as many scenarios as we want, but it shouldn't be a scenario (and it's not like you're the host and we're the reacting audience). We're not living your life, after all. Maybe some of us (or all of us) have had some experiences like yours in life, but we're not going through what you are now, and even if we were, we're not doing it in the same way.

I know you want some input, but we're all strangers too. We can tell you that maybe you should do this or that, to send him flowers, to trust your feelings, etc., but in the end we're all just having an opinion on your situation and filling you with cliches (no matter how different the people in this forum are), and cliches are the last thing you need now. It doesn't even matter if we understand, it's not up to us. It's up to you and you alone. Personal business are personal business and it shouldn't go beyond that. These sort of problems are nothing to be fooling around with, and they shouldn't be taken lightly. You will decide what to do. We can't tell you what to do (or decide for you, even if what we're telling you is sounding beautiful or poetic or it is simply what you wanted to hear), and it's not for us to decide what is negative or what is positive, because the truth is that sometimes we don't know that ourselves, even if WE think we do. I don't want to sound harsh, but sometimes that's the way it is.
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:30 PM   #8
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First off, Helen, I'm sorry for your loss. Because it is a loss, even if it's just of opportunity. There's no one way to respond to death, no one way to grieve. You feel what you feel, and I imagine it includes regret and disappointment as well.
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Still, now I’m feeling wicked, because I profess to be a Christian, and the third commandment states that I should ‘Honor my father and my mother’.
Nothing I read above tells me that you dishonored your father. You reached out to him, offered him forgiveness for his failings, and moved on. Don't read into that commandment more than is required. We're also told to "Love your neighbor," but we realize that this has its limits, too, right?

To answer your question about flowers or a card, I would suggest this. Your father isn't going to smell any flowers or read any cards. But if there were people in his life, people close to him, they are hurting right now because he's gone, and a card to say that you are thinking about them seems appropriate to me. You might even acknowledge, if you're comfortable doing so, that you wish things had been different.

Whether you send something or not is your choice. Do whatever will bring you peace and closure on the situation.
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:12 PM   #9
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I believe the man who raises you (if he raises you well) is your father. Not the person who donates genetic material and is never heard from again. Making a woman pregnant is not exactly difficult. Otherwise there wouldn't be 6 billion of us on this rock. Nor is making a baby, in my opinion, an automatic entitlement to the word "Father". I think that title is earned.

But that's just my non-Christian full-Heathen point of view.
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