I know a lot of people are critical of how public i make my emotions, but to me it makes sense. Being able to express them means that i can share what i'm going through, and maybe hear things that some of you have gone through in exchange. I'd like to thank those of you who shared your similar-but-different experiences with me, and my guild members who talked to me about it.
I at least was able to identify a lot of what i'm feeling about the death of my father. Let me give you some background.
My father was a heroin dealer and a common thief. He had some truly sterling qualities, according to my mother (or he wouldn't have taken up with him) but i never got to know what they were. He ruined a lot of people's lives through his addictions, and spent a large part of my childhood in jail and detox.
One new emotion that i'm feeling is compassion for him. Now that i know, with certainty, that he is beyond a doubt unable to hurt anyone ever again, and stopped hurting people BEFORE he died, i can feel some compassion for the years he spent lost in his addiction. I can understand why he wouldn't contact his children- who might not have wanted to hear from him.
I can't, as one of my siblings has chosen to do, simply gloss over it to justify my having loved him when he was my dad. I did love him, of course i did, it's what kids do. Under the proper circumstances, children are little affection engines, churning out enough hope and love and family happiness to justify all of the mess and heartache and tough choices they bring. Yes, he was a dishonest and harmful man at the time, and i'm going to have some tough moments reconciling what i remember of him with the possibility of a whole and hurting person under all of that. Like i said, compassion and forgiveness are not feelings that i have had in respect to my father. It may be unfair that i only begin to feel them after he's dead, but it's the first time in my life i've known him to be anything other than actively harmful to other people. My hope was always that he was in jail, where he could be forced out of the drugs. I still don't know whether he did that there or of his own accord. Either way, I know it's not an easy thing.
I am sad. I am so very sad. I'm still a little angry, i still feel cheated not to have gotten to know him, i regret not looking him up. Gods know i googled him enough times just to see if i could find what he was up to, and never found anything. I know my brother and sister have looked for him, too- i wouldn't know any of this had it not been for my sister's sleuthing. I owe her for that (if she were on speaking terms with me, i'd thank her, but she refuses to hear from me.)
At the same time that i'm sad, i feel like i can start closing some of the open wounds left from his time in my life by laying him to rest, mentally. It's a gift i don't have in regards to my other parents. A poor exchange for knowing he's dead, but i'll take what comfort i can. I'm glad my other parents (yes, plural) are alive but i will need a lot more time to sort out the tangled webs between us. This one is easier; i only have to sort out my side of it. There will never be any feedback from his. That's the heavy loss part. I found my father again and lost him, in the same breath of news.
I will skip telling you about the tough memories. There were a lot. Let me tell you one of the positive ones... when i was a child, he would take us sailboating. We couldn't swim, so we had to wear life jackets (and to this day, i fear swimming in the ocean because he decided we needed convincing that giant turtles would eat our toes.) I remember the sea and the salt air and the motion of the boat- back then, i never got seasick, and my memories of my father, the good ones at least, are irrevocably tied up with white sails in the sunlight and the gentle ripple of waves as we managed the sails. I haven't been sailboating since; i never could bear it. I might go now, i think i can stand it now.