Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Think It Thursday: An Open Letter

This is something that is very personal, but was on my mind for quite a while so I felt it best to share with you all since it affected my blogging for a few days.

I recently learned through a facebook message from my cousin, that my "father" passed away. I haven't seen the man since I was about 2. He has never been a part of my life in the past 30 year. He was my "father", never a dad. Now I know that seems kind of cold to inform someone that way, but it was actually my other cousin (her sister) who had noticed the name in the paper & thought it might be the same. After a phone call to my aunt, who in turn called my mom, it was clear that it was. 

I started crying. But I was far from sad. This person had already been dead to me for practically my whole life, so it was no difference in that aspect. But I was furious that I never got to tell him what a sorry excuse for a father he was. I was a crying ball of rage. So I looked up the obituary online to see for myself. I knew the name, it was him. I noticed the date it said he passed. It was the week prior...on my youngest daughters birthday! This enraged me more. How dare he die on such a special day to me! I don't care if that sounds childish or not. That's exactly how I felt. By this point I was ready to go for a run, too bad it was pitch black, icy & freezing outside. 

The next morning I took it upon myself to call the funeral home like my cousin suggested to find out a cause of death. I have zero medical history for that side of the family & if there was anything genetic about his passing, I wanted to know. The woman was very understanding since apparently she gets these kinds of calls all the time (she thanked me afterwards for not yelling at her like most others in my situation). The cause of death was vague to say the least, hypoxia from a seizure disorder. 

I really didn't want to speak with my aunt or uncle, so I left an email address instead since I needed to know more about this "seizure disorder". But google got the best of me & after I plugged in my uncle's name & "firefighter", I found him. Well, I found an article about him that mentioned the family line of firefighters (this part skipped my "father" though & he was a 2 yr. Army vet turned professional alcoholic), so I knew it was him for sure. Ironically he is now a fire chief not too far away from me. 

But something sparked when I saw that & I called him. He was "unavailable" when I said I was his niece, but when I told the woman I was just trying to find out how my "father", his brother, had died - he was on the phone in no time. I got more actual information from the woman at the funeral home than from him since you could tell that he was beating around the bush. He said they tried to find me & OK, my nickname from when I was little & my maiden name would probably pull up a million different people. But to search my moms maiden name (my aunt on my "father"s side was in the same grade/classes as my uncle from my moms side - so they know the name), which is far from common, they would pull up someone I'm related to. Yes, it's one of those kind of names. So of course I had to tell him I found him in about 5 min.

I was told there was no estate, which I knew without asking. I informed him that I wasn't calling for money, I wouldn't have wanted it anyways coming from him. I just wanted answers. My children if anything deserved to know. But what I thought was the absolute funniest part, I was told that my aunt would probably share some of his ashes. I politely declined & told my uncle that I liked him & my aunt far better than my "father". And judging by the fact that I haven't spoken to them in probably 25 years says a lot!

I left my uncle with my number & he was supposedly going to have my aunt call me. It's been a week or two (my time perception is way off from Christmas) & I haven't heard anything. I don't suppose I ever will either. But if need be, I'll be making more phone calls myself just to get the answers that I need. 

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