I’ve never been good with goodbyes and for most of my life have in fact avoided them as much as possible. The exceptions have been with my husband and those that I love – after losing so many people in my short life, it has become incredibly important to me to say what is in my heart so that if this is the end, I will have no words left unsaid and no love that hasn’t been shared.
I think that is what makes what just happened even harder than it strictly by nature is. After finally being ready to face either a welcome or a rejection, I began the process of reaching out to friends and family that I had been estranged from for many years.
Of biggest concern were two people; my father and my friend Karen. I posted my profile on Classmates.com and found Karen was already registered so sent off an email thinking this process was going to be much easier than I had thought. The next morning I received notification from the site saying I had an email. Much to my surprise it was from my old next door neighbor – whom I also went to school with. It was a pleasant surprise until about half way through his email I read the words “I was really sorry to hear about your father. I have some really good memories of him.”
My heart stopped in that moment but luckily enough my fingers found the keyboard and typed a response “are you saying my father is dead?” I don’t think I quite realized how that would make the sender feel – that he was telling me of my fathers’ demise in an email. He replied in an email and we were on the phone within minutes sharing details and getting caught up. Very surreal, but probably the result of shock. Complete and utter shock, but still I didn’t believe it. That is not to say I thought he lied, but I told myself until I heard it from my step mother, I would not believe it to be true. He said he would get a message to her and provide my number etc., to her and she would contact me.
If you have learned anything about me by now, it is that patience isn’t my best virtue. My first phone call was to my husband who agreed with me not to react until I had the information confirmed. My next call was to my birth mother – who I hadn’t spoken to for the past three and a half years. She was surprised but didn’t seem to think it was true and together we both searched the internet looking for his obituary.
Several hours later, having run out of patience I started calling funeral homes in the area where he lived, until I found the one that gave me a date. Other than that, he would give me no information. Not being able to wait any longer I picked up the phone and called every listing until I heard her voice.
I was a bit surprised at the anger in her voice as she told me she seriously didn’t believe I didn’t know my father had died eighteen months earlier. I barely managed to stop sobbing long enough to tell her I had found out that morning.
I cannot believe that after finally being ready to reconnect with my father – a man I love very much and so wanted a relationship with, that it is too late. It honestly never dawned on me that he would die before we had a chance to heal our relationship.
There is no such thing as a simple goodbye.