And then my dad died...

* EDIT * I posted this a while ago, left it up for a while, and then hid it because...well...it's not really my normal bloggy routine.  It's a bit raw and emotional and doesn't really fit here. But you know...screw it...It happened, I wrote about it, and I'm just going to leave it out there. So...um...here it is...out there..



You should know that the following blog post is unlike any of my other blog posts. I'm grieving and a bit drunk and I felt the need to verbally vomit all over the place, so...you know....you were warned...


Normally, I hate the "I'm going to share my whole life on the internet" mentality. I feel like some things should be kept private or at least not broadcast across the internet, for anyone who knows the basics of using Google to find. After all, aren't sad status updates put out there not so much to share information, but rather with the intention of eliciting sympathy? And if that's the case, shouldn't we just be honest and say, "Shit really sucks right now, and I'd like you to feel sorry for me?"

Also, at the end of the day, what on earth does " ((hugs))" really do to make you feel better?

I'm a bad person. I'm unsympathetic and judgmental and at some point in my life, I've looked at everyone's online life and had an “I can't believe you just shared that” moment. Because the internet is for the surface and shallow things in our life... for us to post pictures of ourselves making stupid faces, and invite each other to our band's performances and pimp our businesses and complain about our jobs and show pictures of our crafts and our Etsy store and answer quizzes about which one of our friends is the best looking and do you think Obama's birth certificate is real?

Facebook and blogs are not, however, a platform for me to tell you that my dad just died, and that I am a complete and total fucking wreck about it and I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing right now and I've actually already seen this episode of Chelsea Lately, and truth be told, I can't seem to focus on tv or this book or this article in the paper and while I appreciate the suggestion, I actually already sat on my porch and smoked cigarettes and had a couple of drinks and stared numbingly into space so I'm just going to write...because I really don't know what else to do.

My dad...

My dad broke my heart on a regular basis. I knew him for a little while when I was a kid, and then he was gone. I knew him again in my early twenties, and then he was gone. Then I knew him again and I really liked my dad. Like - I LOVED him. He was funny and smart and easy to talk to and I thought, "wow. I have a dad. For real... I have a DAD." And then I called him...and called him...and called him...I got worried, because that's what I do...and I called him...6 months later he called me back. He was sorry; he just got distracted and forgot about me.

Right. He forgot about me.

I can't really talk about my relationship with my dad without talking about my relationship with my mom...or rather, lack thereof. The nicest way to talk about it is to say that 21 is a very young age to have a child and mistakes were made. And while I agree that mistakes should be forgiven, some mistakes leave lasting scars. Actually, not so much scars, but deep and painful wounds that have a tendency to get the scabs ripped off anytime I'm near my family, leaving me bleeding all over the place. It's no one's fault really...it's just that the past can't be erased and for me, it just happens to hurt all of the time. I can't make that go away and when people try to re-write the past with fluffy bunnies and rainbows and Bradyesque scenarios of a not typical but still completely happy family...it hurts just a bit more. So it's difficult for me to relate to my mom...we remember things differently and it makes it hard to communicate. Unfortunately, there's also an age gap between my siblings and I, so their version of history doesn't necessarily match mine, either. For a while I started to think I was crazy...but as it happens, there are police and medical records to show that I'm not crazy, and that my memories are in fact, real.

For the record, proof doesn’t make communication any easier. Everything is still a gigantic mess and no one seems to want to talk to the girl who wipes the dust off of the family secrets and tries to make everyone acknowledge them.

Anyway, it was refreshing to talk to my dad because he admitted it. He said it.

Yes.

Things were really fucked up and yes.

Your mom and I had real problems and not “mommy and daddy don’t like each other very much” problems but REAL problems (now is not the place or the time) and then...the holy grail.

"I'm sorry."

And not just, "I'm sorry you feel that way" or "I don't remember what you remember, but I guess I'm sorry" or a bunch of other sorries that are really only designed to get past all of the emotional bullshit and on to "happy fake fluffy bunny Brady family" land....like...

...a real apology. An admission of really being a bad parent for a while, a recounting of what made him a bad parent, and a promise to try and do better...to really be my dad.

That was awesome. And here's the thing and it does need to be said....I wasn't a perfect kid. In my defense, I was just a kid, but I don't want to color my account with "everyone around me sucked and I was so perfect." I had some real problems and I’m sure I could have made life easier for everyone if I would have behaved a bit better…but…you know….fucked up families breed fucked up kids, and there I was…

I digress…

My dad was honest with me and that was like the sun shining through the clouds. It was the first honest parental interaction I could ever remember having and I needed it so much…I can’t even tell you how amazing that felt…my dad and I spent some real quality time after that, and that’s when I grew to love him…not only as my dad, but as a person that I genuinely liked.

But then it was gone. My dad just…*poof*

…and then, months later, he was back. To tell me that his wife had died and that he was broken hearted and that he was also dying…of hepatitis C, of Crohn’s Disease, of diabetes and skin cancer and liver cancer and a broken heart…and that he really wanted to see me. I didn’t even know if any of that was true…I still don’t. I cried on the phone with him and didn’t bring up the past and invited him to stay with my husband and I…to MEET my husband and hung up the phone feeling so sad but excited to see my dad again.

And then nothing.

I called my mom and found out he had made the 8 hour trip from Minnesota to Illinois and was less than a half an hour away from me. I called my dad and we spoke for a couple of minutes and then he got distracted and said he would call me right back.

And nothing.

So I called the next day and we spoke briefly and he got distracted again and said he would call me right back…again.

And nothing.

Rinse and repeat…for 3 days. And then I called my mom and he had left…gone back to Minnesota without so much as a word.

I need to remind you that I still firmly believe that the internet is not for me to share these personal details of my life…not for me to tell you that I was hysterical and cried for hours because my father could make an 8 hour trip to be a half an hour away from me…but the extra half an hour to actually see his daughter was too much. A completed phone call was too much effort.

The internet is not the place for me to tell anyone who knows how to use Google that at that moment, I knew my father could care less about me, and that it broke my heart.

The internet is not the place for me to tell you that my father doesn’t love me, no matter how much I want him to, and that that feeling feels like my heart being ripped out of my chest….even now….even as a grown-up, with a family of my own, and surrounded by people who truly do love me and show me that they love me, every single day of my life.

My father still breaks my heart.

And today…last night, actually….my father has broken my heart for the last time.

Because he died.

My dad died and I have no idea how to process it…how to grieve…how to be angry…how to forgive him or love him or convince myself that he did indeed love me…

…because after that last trip…where he was going to call me back…and he was going to come and visit…and I guess he just forgot about me again…

We never spoke. Nothing. No letters. No calls. Nothing.

And my mother tells me that he loved me and that he was just damaged. Which, you know, ok…sure. We’re all fucked up and we all put our personal disasters on people in our own unique ways but…

Come on…

You forgot about me? You got distracted? You’re damaged?

I’m pretty confident. I spent a long time building myself into a person that I could be proud of and my self-esteem is, for the most part, pretty healthy.

But…

My father doesn’t have 10 minutes for me and I am of so little importance, that I can be forgotten…like the last item on your shopping list, that you really didn’t need anyway…

It’s hard not to feel small and worthless and really, just like garbage. Even if you can talk yourself out of it after a couple of minutes, and recognize your self-worth…for a couple of minutes….you’re garbage.

But I loved my dad. Like so many of us…I loved my fucked up father.

And after the last time I swore that that was it. I was never going to let him hurt me again and he could go to hell and I had enough love in my life without his stupid ass screwing me up every 6 months….

And here I am. My dad is dead and I’m so very sad. Because…you know….he won’t ever hurt me again. This is the very last time. No more opportunities for hurt…and no more opportunities to make it better, to make things right and be a family again.

I miss my dad. I’ve missed my dad for a really long time. He was smart and funny and handsome and good at a lot of things and not so good at being a father…but I loved him. I’ve missed him for a while and I’ve pretended like I didn’t because it’s painful to miss someone that you’re not sure even cares about you…but he’s gone now and screw it. I miss him. I wish things would have been different.

The internet is not the place to share your sordid family history or your daddy problems. The internet is already full of TMI…but I didn’t know what else to do. I am grief stricken and confused and panicked and freaked out and losing my mind and I just.don’t. know.what.to.do.

So I wrote…and I’m sorry it’s not funny or light hearted or my usual banter but…in my defense…

My dad died. It’s a bit weird in my head at the moment. Also…

Shit really sucks right now and I’d kind of like for you to feel sorry for me…

12 comments:

Ms. Clapper. May 25, 2011 at 1:20 AM  

I can say nothing but: I love you. And shit does suck right now. And I do feel sorry for you...and though ((hugs)) won't do anything, a real one will. Count on that happening. I'm glad you shared...you're really special. That sounds stupid but it comes from a good place, I promise.

Anonymous,  May 25, 2011 at 1:34 AM  

You are a fantastic and engaging writer and you're right...the internet is not a place to share your personal details, but hey...at least it's normal.

And I do feel sorry for you...you made me cry three times.

Erich May 25, 2011 at 1:44 AM  

I don't know if my comment actually got sent through (if so, if sorry for the double post). If not...

I am incredibly sorry to hear about your father. I can only hope that sharing everything helped you find a cathartic moment or two.

Katie Marsh May 25, 2011 at 2:33 AM  

I had a bit of a roller coaster through this post because

1. I clicked on it because my child is Lola, and stupid as it is, I knew a Lola post would be um, bad Ass.

2. I immediately turned on you by second paragraph, my only way of using blogging is to deal with all my emotional shit. I hate wasting time reading fake posts I can get at the Monkey Joes with all the moms wearing Gucci glasses. My blog got me deleted off facebook for God's sake making me wish I had thought of it sooner, you know posting.

3. I write about my own father, the stalking, the dead roses, the way he ripped me to shreds in divorcing my mom after 34 years and a man who called five times a day actually left me for a Lexus, and then, his mistress fucking found me and dared call me selfish, on the blog.

4. I felt guilty for telling the world he stalked and hurt me, but then I remembered the texts from the ambulance hoping we didn't regret his death, or his speedy recovery of Krystal's, cigars, and the recent new surgery he got from a Larry King grant he lied for.

5. I love my dad. Am I sick?

6. Then, I saw you like me, maybe not ducking while he circled the window hoping to throw 22 pages of filth about your mother being in a parking lot with a football team when you were pretty sure you watched Dance with the Stars that night with her.

7. Then, I realized, I was actually congratulating people who were sharing being abandoned as a child, seriously. "Oh, wow. How wonderful. I wish I hadn't had to go through it at 32." The looks made me feel like a microscope was on me, all the time, like I had said something strange.

8. I once thought maybe it would be easier if he had died, before he left and the other family and fraud and scams and IRS threats showed me all those years he threw me in the air, played tennis, took me to college, walked me down the aisle would still be true, so instead of waking up to not being wanted, I could rely on at least being loved.

And now, I am strangely weirded out to any sympathy, tough and perfectly FINE FINE FINE not needing anything, dealing with it all alone, for of COURSE, I'm better off.....

But, by the last line, I fold.
You are beautiful, courageous, vulnerable in your invincibility, are the winner for the longest blog comment in Guiness, and I can love and follow a chick named Lola, sigh of relief.

Thanks, and weird to say, but I think I know how you feel. Is that possible? Nah. But, I want you to know the wound was created to heal it, not be responsible for it. The day I figure it out I will sell it to the masses for millions and give it to you free...:)

http://themissobvious.com

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy May 25, 2011 at 5:52 AM  

Love you, Jessica. And I'm sorry for what are having to go through right now.........

Anonymous,  May 25, 2011 at 8:26 AM  

I somehow stumbled upon your blog this morning and cried when I read the story of your dad. I beleive your father loved you. If he didn't he would not have tried to
see you. He was incapeable of loving you because of his own problems...

The best thing to do is to forgive him in your own heart. It is very sad he missed out on a closer relationship with such a loving daughter like you. I am so sorry.

Cozy May 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM  

In the age of TMI your post is okay. As a member of another messed up family you have my sympathy.

Steam Me Up, Kid May 25, 2011 at 2:14 PM  

Oh God, girl. This sucks, all of it. I'm so sorry.

So much bullshit and wrongness here, from the family who doesn't want to talk to the girl who brings up the unpleasant facts, to your dad not making that half-hour drive. I hope you're doing alright. You deserve weeks of solid cry time over this one.

Redd May 26, 2011 at 3:05 AM  

I am so sorry darling.

This doesn't come off as TMI at all. Just someone sharing what's in their heart.

I wish I knew all the right words but I don't. Try and stay strong. You're awesome. You'll make it through this.

Rebecca Grace May 28, 2011 at 9:21 PM  

Hmmm... When it's not okay to get real about what's going on in your own family, maybe the Internet is the only place where you CAN spill your heart and dump your baggage and have the relief of dropping the Cleaver Family Charade. Anyway, your blog is so much more than someone's TMI Facebook status. You're a talented writer, writing is art, and art is all about self-expression and exploration of what is personal, painful, and intimate. You can write about whatever you want and it isn't TMI because you do it so well that strangers like me (and I'm REALLY strange, trust me!) read your words and feel like we know you, recognize parts of ourselves in the pain you write about, and we love you.

I'm sorry that you have had to struggle so much from your messed up childhood, and I'm sorry that your dad passed away. You're grieving your real dad, as well as the fantasy of what your dad COULD have been in your life if things had been different, if he only could have been the dad you deserved.

Internet hugs from some girl you don't know won't help here, so I offer you this instead:

May a thousand furry little puppy dogs with wagging tails lick your face until are your tears are wiped away and your heart is filled once more with the joy of just being alive, bullshit and all. Hang in there, girl!

SkitzoLeezra May 30, 2011 at 6:14 PM  

Dang.
That sucks.
Like shit through a straw.
Maybe your dad sucked at fatherhood because he wasn't taught how to be a good dad or a good man. And maybe you'll be a better person because you have something to compare it to.
I am sorry for your loss. All of them.

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Everything in this blog is copyright Jessica Benassi AKA Hey Lola except where I give credit to other people because obviously, that's their stuff. Don't steal my stuff. I mean, I'm not sure why you would want to, anyway, but if you're thinking about it...don't. Also, all of this nonsense is my opininion and is not supported or endorsed by Blogger or anyone ese. I mean, maybe it is, but if something I say just infuriates you, I take sole responsibility.

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