I ignore phone calls from numbers I don't recognize. Nothing personal, it's just that my exchange, 513, is also an area code for southwest Ohio. I get at least one phone call a week from someone who forgets to dial "1" for long distance, and dials my phone number because it's the first 7 numbers for their aunt Mildred in Cincinnati.
Anyway, the caller was persistent and eventually left a message that started with "My name is John [Something]
Yeah, one of those calls.
It gets worse.
"... Roy [what used to be my last name]
This is when Doug's jaw hits the floor.
I hardly knew the man. Seriously. He and my mom split when I was around 2. Sometime shortly after that he moved away to North Carolina. I have no memory of him from when I was a kid.
He occasionally sent Christmas presents. I don't remember getting a birthday present. Aside from one very uncomfortable conversation when I was 10, I don't remember ever talking to him on the phone as I was growing up.
When I was 12 or so, I spent most of a week with him when my mom and step-dad were married. That was... awkward.
I didn't see him again until his mom's funeral, when I was over 30. That was really awkward.
After that, we talked on the phone once. Exchanged a couple emails. And that was it.
Over the last few years he did send my kids gifts at Christmas and from his trips to China. And that, well it was great, actually. They always appreciated whatever he sent and it gave me a chance to drop him a note.
But that was it... nothing between Christmases and trips.
I didn't hear from him at all last Christmas. Thought that I should drop him a note to make sure he was ok. But I was in the middle of my own turmoil, and days passed, and it never happened.
He died January 22nd.
I heard about it on March 15th.
Like I said, we weren't close.
I've been a little off ever since that call. What should I feel? Do you grieve for someone you didn't really know? Not really. But you sure as heck grieve for your father, right? I'm stuck in limbo. My heart is telling me I should be devastated, but my mind asks "Why?".
I definitely feel something, just not sure what.
The best guess I have to this point is that I feel the loss of what could have been. What should have been.
And I have a sense of abandonment... again. The man who was never there, was gone, for good.
Part of what I'm feeling is bewilderment. Who has no contact with their son? Who could move away from, and not call and not visit such a, let's face it, adorable little boy?
And there are the questions that will go unanswered... What happened with you and my mom? What is the deal with your health? (He was a frail, withered man at age 50) What was Grandpa like? (I don't remember my Grandpa, he died when I was very young, but I do remember adoring him.)
I imagine that his answers would be about as unsatisfying as when I asked my mom those questions. But it would have been nice to have asked them.
What do you say to yourself when someone who should have meant the world to you, but didn't, dies?
Yeah, I've got nothin', either.
But I have some cogent thoughts...
My take aways after 36 hours of contemplation:
- Don't put off touching base with family and friends.
- Don't let time passed be a reason not to reconnect.
- Some people just can't maintain a relationship, even the most important relationships.
- I was wicked cute as a 5 year old.
Numbers: 2.5 miles, kinda hard on grass because all access to the trails was flooded like a mofo. That bummed me out. I really wanted to run on the trails today.