You absolutely wretched woman, from an equally wretched family. Would it have been too awkward for you to have mentioned me also? Because it appears that you forgot an entire grandchild. Abandoned and forgotten … Wow, you must be very proud of the family you have.
I am incredibly proud of the family that I have, however, a family that has always been there for me. Like my mother who picked up the pieces, once again, when I learned that not only had an absent grandfather died, but also that no one even bothered to pick up the phone and contact me for an entire year. The same pattern as last time, huh? Spill the beans after the funeral, just to make sure the forgotten-about grandchild can’t cause any problems?
That’s what I wanted to send to my aunt this morning. I didn’t, but I really wanted to.
My biological father left when I was six months old. His sister, mother, and father have been in my life periodically since that date, but never in a substantial way. I’ve not seen any of them in the flesh since I was a toddler and despite repeated efforts to organise a meet with my so-called father, nothing ever materialised. I haven’t spoken to them for close to ten years. They’ve never attempted to contact me, and I’ve long since given up on trying to pull together any resemblance of a family with them. It was glaringly obvious that the biological father had his new family now – his wife and two kids. I no longer had a part to play. I hadn’t had a part to play since that day he first walked out, before the time I could even say his name, let alone recognise his face.
The aunt (his sister) friend-requested me a few months ago (the posts I shared above), and it’s played on my mind ever since. I tried to ignore it. I sent her a message back saying thanks, but no thanks. I blocked her. She mysteriously popped up on my Instagram a few times, so I blocked her there too. I desperately tried to remember the names of the two step-siblings I knew I had because I wanted to block them, but I couldn’t remember their names. I didn’t want ANY of them to contact me ever again, and I knew my two siblings would be getting close to an age where they would ask questions if they hadn’t already. I could think of nothing worse than receiving a message over Facebook from one of the children who “won” the daddy war.
Anyway, I didn’t look. That’s the point I’m trying to make here. I forgot about the aunt’s message, left her blocked and did nothing more.
Bear and I were talking. We’d seen something on This Morning, I think, about absent fathers. Before I knew it, I’d started tapping words into Google — a surname there, a town or county here … I found what I was looking for. I knew if I looked hard enough, I’d find it. The reason for her getting in touch – the horrid aunt.
My grandfather had died. The grandfather that had doted on me when I was a baby and tried to keep in contact after my dad walked out. I’m not sure where or how everyone lost touch, it was years before I knew what was going on, but I know that no one had a bad word to say about my grandfather. Everyone loved him. I loved him, apparently. It’s quite sad to think that when I have absolutely no clue what he even looks like.
He died over a year ago. I found an obituary. In fact, he died almost a year to the day that my aunt sent me that friend request. I cried. I called my mother. We cried together. We ranted over my wretched aunt and that wretched family, and she apologised to me, over and over again, for a family whose actions she couldn’t have controlled. No one knows why my dad walked out. No one has ever given me or my mother an answer or a reason. I wholeheartedly believe that my mother doesn’t know like she says. She’s still heartbroken by what he did to her when I was six months old, and I’m 31 now. That’s decades of heartbreak. I HATE him for that alone.
It gets worse. I read the obituary repeatedly. It was over an hour before I realised something else …
“… cherished grandfather of grandchild 1 and grandchild 2”
That’s two grandkids.
He has three grandkids.
I’m the third grandkid.
Not even a mention. Not a single mention for the granddaughter that this man had once apparently doted on. Well, that’s nice. I’d held it together pretty well up until that point, but that’s when I lost my shit. I broke down in Bear’s arms, crying solidly for about 15 minutes. There was an unbelievable amount of snot.
I wanted to message her – the aunt. Actually, what I really wanted to do was leave a scathing little message on the bottom of the obituary. That’s proper disrespectful though, and I’m not sure I wanted my anger to be quite that public … or on an obituary. I’m not that girl.
Then I wrote out a hundred and one messages to her – the wretched aunt – that I won’t ever send. She’s blocked. I don’t want to unblock her. I don’t want to talk to her at all. It’s her that I’m mad at the most. I’m relatively easy to find on social media once you know the right details, which she would have being family and all. She found me easily enough to send me a friend request a YEAR after my grandfather had died. She – they – the entire family – CHOSE not to get in contact with me. After my grandfather died. When I turned 30, 21, 18, 16 … When I got married. When I joined the Navy, following in my father’s footsteps. When I went to a war zone, something I feel my father would have been particularly proud of.
They didn’t EVER try to contact me.
I DID contact them. Repeatedly. My father, my grandmother (before she died), my aunt, all of them. There were letters exchanged when I was 13 years old when my grandmother refused to tell me where my father was, and we fell out because of it. That was the last time we spoke, and then she died of cancer. That’s when my grandfather stopped talking to me.
There were text messages when I was 14-16 years old between the aunt and I. These texts continued periodically into my late teens, but like the rest, they eventually stopped.
There were phone calls between me and my biological father, starting at 16, then stopping, then starting again at 18, then stopping, then again when I got married, but they soon stopped too.
Why? Because I was the one doing all the work. I kept chasing. I kept asking. I kept begging for this meeting that never happened. They were always too busy. Or the time wasn’t right. Or things still needed to be explained to this person or that person.
I was being fobbed off with excuses, time and time again. How many times was I meant to smash my head against a brick wall? How many times did my mother need to find me in a crumpled heap on the floor of my bedroom, crying my eyes out, begging for answers to the one big question:
“Why doesn’t my family love me?”
When I left my abusive husband and went to the war zone, I realised that I needed to leave a lot of stuff behind me. Admittedly, I’m still working on that, but I accepted that my father’s side of the family would never be in my life. That’s one of the things that I knew I needed to let go of — to leave behind.
Years of therapy have taught me that I have the biggest daddy complex, and I hold my hands up to that. I was abandoned. Repeatedly. Not just by my father, but by almost every man I’ve ever met. Even my Bestie did, although abandoned is probably not quite the right word. I have tortured myself trying to find the answers, even ending up in the hospital as a kid because of it (among other things). I have put myself through enough, constantly asking the questions.
Why didn’t he love me?
Why did he leave me?
What was wrong with me?
What could I have done better?
First, a father. Then, a boyfriend. A husband. A lover. A friend. At least my father did one thing for me, all those years ago: he set me up for rejection.
Well done, daddy. Great fucking job.
And, what makes things worse, it wasn’t even him – “daddy” – who got in touch; he left it to his sister. And even then she hardly bothered, did she? She sent a friend request. That’s all she did. Just a friend request. When I sent her an angry message telling her to stay away, she didn’t respond. She read the message and ignored it. She didn’t tell me that my grandfather had died. I had to find that out via Google.
I could be 14 years old again right now, crying into my knees in my bedroom, wondering why daddy and his family never loved me. But I’m not. I’m 31 years old and I know better. I should know better.
To the grandfather I’ll never get to say goodbye to, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for whatever happened between us to stop us from talking. I’m sorry for whatever happened to make him walk away – my biological father. Because he stopped me from knowing you, and you from knowing me, and from the sounds of it we would have gotten along just fine.
I’m sorry “Nan” never let us talk when I was a teen and got back in touch. I will never, ever understand why she kept me away from everyone, why she wouldn’t let me talk to you. And that’s exactly what she did do, and why the two of us fell out. Just like I never got the chance to say I’m sorry to her, or goodbye, I’ll never get the chance to say those things to you. And what makes it all worse is that I have no clue why. Nobody knows. And I’m sure those secrets will now be taken to the grave. I certainly won’t try to open Pandora’s box again.
I don’t remember your face, but I am constantly reminded by my mother how much you loved me and how much you would enjoy me lying across your belly. I won’t ever remember those moments, but I wish I could.
I loved you once. I wish I’d gotten the chance to love you again.
To the aunt I’ll never talk to again, I hope you’re happy with yourself. You won’t ever get the chance to know me now and that really is your loss. I’m a damn fabulous person. We don’t all get to be complete and utter cunts like you, treating people like they’re shit and disposable. I’m not shit and disposable. I’m not a toy you can pick up and put down whenever you feel like playing the cool aunt. Family isn’t part-time, and I certainly don’t class you as any family of mine.
Deliberately not mentioning my name in that obituary was an awful thing to do. You wanted me conveniently forgotten, now you’ve got it. You’re dead to me now.