October 15, 2012

My Dad

October 3, 2006.  I was a freshman in college. On this particular day, it was "Meet Your Neighbor" day where everyone got to go from room to room and meet the people on the floor and see how they decorated their rooms. My roommate and I were pretty excited about this because we had a pretty cute room to show off.

While I was 78 miles away from home, my brother and sister were on their way home from school.     They came home to see my Dad's car in the driveway, which is unusual since he is typically at work at this time.  As they opened the door, they noticed my Dad sitting in a half emptied house.  He proceeded to tell them he was moving out, leaving our family. My Dad left before my Mom got home from work.  My Mom walked in to her home with all of her furniture gone with no explanation, heartbroken.

Meanwhile, I was showing off my room and making conversation with my neighbors about my shirtless Justin Timberlake poster. I got a phone call from my Dad telling me he left.  While all of my neighbors were in my dorm room, I sat in the hallway and sobbed.  My Dad could not understand why I was so upset, thought I was "old enough" to handle it and that I need to "get over it".  I knew this day would eventually come, but I don't think someone can ever fully prepare for it.  And no matter how old you are, I think it will always hurt.  You are never "old enough" to completely handle it. Everything you once knew, holidays, your home, your family, everything instantly changes.

My Dad gathered some of our family members and close friends to help him blindside our family, rent a U-Haul and move out without any of us knowing. Not one of these people told us what he was planning. I will never understand how someone can know about this and actually participate in helping a father/husband leave his family. Did I mention it was also the day before their 20th anniversary? In the weeks after he left, I found out awful things about my Dad, about how he cheated on our family for over ten years. When you think of someone cheating, you think of it hurting their significant other.  But as a child, I felt the same betrayal.  He cheated on our entire family, not just my Mom.  I tried for a very long time to maintain a relationship with my Dad.  He got a new girlfriend soon after, a mother of one of the kids from my brothers soccer team.  I could go on for hours about why I don't like her, but if he is happy, then I am happy for him.  I will never understand why he chose to move out this way, how you could do that to your family.  If you want to leave, fine, go ahead and leave, but at least be man enough to tell us BEFORE you leave.

My brother and sister have had their rocky moments with  my Dad, but they forgive him and still keep in contact with him.  I, however, have not seen my Dad in over a year and a half. This, my friends, is a huge disappointment for me.  I tell people it doesn't bother me, I am happier this way.  But the truth is, it hurts so SO SO bad.  Maybe its because I am older, I know what happened and I know all of the awful things he did to our family.  He wanted to take us for everything we had, didn't care if we ended up homeless.  Every conversation, to this day, I have with my Dad ends with him telling me 1. He never wanted kids in the first place and 2. I will never find someone to love me because I am a B**** like my Mother.  Holy heck I wish I was lying about that last one.  Who, please tell me, WHO says that to their own daughter? I am no longer invited over to Christmas, Thanksgiving, Father's Day, you name it.  But, my other two siblings are. Ouch.

I get it. Divorce happens. It is never fun. I am thankful my parents are no longer together, everyone is better off. But I can't seem to get over the way my Dad treats me.  I have forgiven him time after time, yet each time, I get more and more bitter. I am to the point that even thinking about him makes my blood boil and I literally shake with anger.

Well, this weekend, my brother and his girlfriend threw a birthday party for his girlfriend's daughter.  Turns out, they invited my Dad too.  I don't know, maybe I am irrational, but I really wish they would have given me a heads up, just to prepare for it.  Thankfully, my Dad never showed up.

I talked to a friend about this, about how stressed I got just thinking about having to see my Dad.  Their response, "You are going to eventually have to get over it".  Get over it? The worst part is, they are totally right.  Eventually, I have to let this anger go. But my question is, HOW?! How do you get over it? In order to get over it, do I have to forget about it too? What am I supposed to say when he says these awful things to me? Sometimes I feel like if I get over it and forgive him, it is saying its ok.  I can't forget the names he has called me and the absolutely horrible things he has said to people about me.  I would be upset if ANYONE said these things about me, but to have it come from my own Dad is absolutely awful.

I don't know what the answer is.  I really hope I can find a way to let this go, get to the point where I can see him again and not get overwhelmed with anger.  The one thing I do know is, I need to solve this issue for my own sanity.  I cannot move on with my life and carry this with me, it is too painful.  Hoping and praying for some clarity soon.

Jess

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