Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Open Letter to my Daddy

Hi Dad,

I sure do miss you.

I really wasn't completely aware how much I would miss you. It's been 3 1/2 years now and sometimes, I just want to sit with you and have a good conversation. A "keep it real" conversation with no bull shit, ya know?

I've been working on our family tree on Ancestry.com the past several days. You remember it was something I always wanted to do but since your grandfather's last name wasn't recorded correctly off the boat from Italy, well, I've always hit a road block.

Then add to that the whole confusion about who your real parents were anyway...

I've had some help from Papa and all that he remembers in his 94 years of life. I'm still amazed at the story as I'm tracing it through census, immigration records and the like. I'm hoping to find others along our tree that know more.

Last  night, I sent all of this historic information to my siblings. Sister reminded me of her own confusion about who her real parents are anyway...

****

Daddy, I never understood how you went through life owning your victimhood, angry at the world.

Was it you who decided you were a victim and life followed through on your thought? Or was it the other way around? In my spiritual studies, it is said that 'action follows thought'. After all, you decided to believe the world was against you, didn't you? And I couldn't stand that about you.

Yet here I am. Face-to-face with rectangles and lines all connected together to build for me some semblance of "my family". The way our family truly is, I'm not sure I can get the flow chart to work that way.

Looking at it, trying to go back, trying to decide what was really happening in the lives of my ancestors, I wonder: what was the truth?

Reading over the email from my sister, I have to do the same thing... and ask the same question.

Then there's you. Somehow stuck in the middle of it, indignant as ever.

***

Well, I don't know what to think about any of it. All I know is that I grew up with a daddy, a mommy, a sister and a brother. I had a grandmother and grandfather who lived down the road. That was my FAMILY.

Knowing all the other stuff doesn't change much, does it?

Ok, admittedly, it does change one thing, for me.

It allows me to see the choices that were made by you. The choice to BE a daddy, despite what life handed to you. And you know what? YOUR daddy made that same choice.

Maybe neither of you were the best daddies in the world but you did your best. You gave what you could give, victim or not. Anger at the world... or not.

All of this time, I've wondered about the stability of relationships with men. I've, ironically, made myself a victim of YOU and how YOU were raised. Now I see the beauty, the strength, and the love of the men of my heritage.

For that, I thank you.

I'm also sorry.

I'm sorry I never got to tell you this while you were alive. I'm sorry that I can't sit with you and share all that has come to light. I'm sorry that I can't feel the security of my daddy's arms.

I love you. More than likely, I love you more now than I ever did. 

I hate I can't tell you that.

Thank you for being my Daddy. And thank you for being my teacher.

Love always,

Me #1

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