My father lived and died an addict.
The last few years of his life he was alone without the family that he had worked to create. He had become so bad that I had shut him out of my wedding, banned him from any contact from my son and I had truly believed that if it came down to it I would rather him not be walking free in this world.
He walked by me once on the street about 6 months before he died…he didn’t even recognize me, his only daughter. I was pregnant with my second child, a daughter when he died. He never knew.
I naively believed that if I didn’t ever speak about my father to my now 6 year old son he would never think to question it. I was obviously wrong and my son has asked more and more about why I don’t have a Dad, what happened to him, what he was like. My son has forced me to remember.
There was this time for a while when I was younger, before I knew much about the world when I remember only good about my Dad. He was that guy who rode in on his Harley to school, cranking his pipes and waving at everyone. Who would spend hours in my classroom making all the kids feel like the most important kid in all the world. Reading story after story because everyone wanted him to and he had no where else in the world that he would rather be. And every time he would finish reading to my class he excused me from school and we would rip off on his Harley together as everyone watched. I don’t know how much of me being the girl everyone wanted to be friends with had to do with me or with him.
That is the Dad that I wish I had the chance to know, the Dad I wish I had every day of my life. That was the Dad I didn’t allow myself to remember through my hate of what he had become.
My Dad lost his lifelong battle with the demons that haunted him from a life long past. He left me with the lifelong battle of how to move on and how to understand that it’s okay to miss someone who messed up.
I hope you are somewhere ripping around on your Harley, I hope you found peace.
I am beginning to.