Sunday, June 21, 2015

*Obligatory Father's Day Post*

Today was a rather rough day.

Before I get going on this post, I want to write a disclaimer: I am writing this post in an attempt to explore my feelings and work my way through them. I think my father was an amazing person. He did many things really well. My experience with him throughout my life was distinct and different from your experience, whoever you are. I experienced some hurt that will never be fully resolved. If you can't leave a thoughtful, un-judgemental comment, then I'd rather you didn't comment at all.

Ok, back to today. 

It was rough.

Father's Day was omnipresent in my church meetings. I was on the verge of tears several times. The thought that kept coming back around was, "Happy Father's Day. My mother passed away a year ago and, as far as my father is concerned, I don't exist."

Let me explain. I don't exist to my father because he, quite honestly, does not remember my birth. When I visit him, I can tell that he knows he should know who I am, but he doesn't. This is due to a sequence of events. 1. Dad had a couple micro-strokes that affected him in many ways, one of which was triggering the onset of his Alzheimer's. 2. Shortly after Dad started having memory issues, Mom was in a car accident and didn't see Dad for several months. 3. Dad got it in his head that he had had three wives: His first, with whom he had six children (this is true), his second, who died in a car accident (Mom was his second wife, did not die), and his third (Mom). 

In Dad's memory I just kind of faded away, like Michael J Fox in Back to the Future

At least, that's what happened as near as I can figure. 

In my memory, which admittedly could be faulty, Dad would frequently give precedence to his church callings over some of the activities I participated in. During high school he would go to choir and band concerts and the plays I was in. I remember him going to a couple choir performances while I was in college. 

One that he missed sticks out. 

The choir I was in had a big Spring Variety Show. In this particular show I had a solo and a couple featured parts in small ensembles. It was a big performance for me, and I wanted my parents to be there.  They were serving as workers in the St. George Temple at the time. They said they weren't sure they could make it. I begged and pleaded. 

The performance was recorded. On the recording, just after my solo performance and the last of my small ensembles, you can see Mom walk in front of the camera. Just Mom. I was glad she was there, but so disappointed she missed my big solo. And I was crushed that Dad didn't come.

Several years later I received a letter from Dad. I had since stopped going to church because I wasn't sure that was where I wanted to be. Dad's letter was six pages long, detailing how I was a bad son because I wasn't going to church. I can't remember exactly what he wrote, but it was damaging. I can't even refer to the letter. I was so upset that I burned it.

It was shortly after that letter that dad had his strokes. And now those bad feelings won't be resolved because Dad doesn't remember me, and he certainly won't remember writing that letter.

Don't get me wrong. I'm working on letting the bad feelings go. I don't want to have negative feelings about my father. The truth is, however, that that's how I feel.

It makes Father's Day a tough day.

I hope next year will be better.

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