How is it you can cry over the death of someone you never knew and had never even met? You can if you’re me and you’ve just found out through a little Google digging that the biological father you never met passed away six months ago.
Well, it’s not entirely accurate to say I “never met” him. He and my mother were only married six months. I was born after they divorced. According to mom, he came around to visit the first year, year and a half or so of my life but after she starting seeing and then eventually married the man who I always have and always will call my “real dad”, he stopped coming around, lost touch, and basically dropped off the face of the Earth.
I didn’t find out until just before I turned 13 that my dad wasn’t my biological father. I was numb for a little bit but strangely not sad, because I loved my dad, still do, always will – he and mom have joked for years that I was one of the main reasons they got married in the first place (mom said he was really good with me, and he thought I was adorable, etc). He is the only dad I have ever known and even after I found out the truth about things he was the only dad I wanted to know and that has never changed throughout the decades. He is the one who has always been there for me and mom and my family. He supported and raised me as if I were his own daughter, adopting me when he and my mom were married so I would have his name. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
The last 3 decades or so I was never really curious to find my biological father; even finding out through the grapevine that he had children with the woman he married later in life – which meant I had half-siblings – didn’t make me any more curious. Part of it was due to suppressed anger and hurt that he had never reached out to me (as far as I know – and I know my mom would not have kept him from me), but the bigger part of it was wanting to leave old wounds unopened. I didn’t want to hurt my mom and dad even though they told me they would have understood completely if I had wanted to try and locate my biological father. I figured it was something best left alone.
I’d like to think maybe he felt the same way and that’s why he didn’t reach out to me, but I’ll never know now. I’ll never know what he looked like, either. The one picture my mom had of him she tore up out of resentment and hurt, something she has since told me she deeply regrets doing.
The short obit I read about him didn’t list a cause of death, so I assume it was due to old age.
When I found out the news today after I did my Google searches, I cried. Not because I “miss” him – I never knew him. I cried over what could have been, the questions that could have been answered, had just one of us reached out to find the other. I will have to learn over time to forgive myself for being too selfish in my own life to do that. But I’d also like to let him know that I forgive him, too. Writing is an emotional outlet for me, so this is the best way I know to do this.
So, sir, if you’re in that good place upstairs where you can read this, please know that I forgive you for your absence from my life. Even now, I can’t bring myself to call you “dad” – I only have one of those – but I can bring bring myself to let go of that anger and hurt deep inside me. I have to let it go. I’m sure you had your reasons for not finding me, just as I had mine for not seeking you out. If God blesses me enough to let me into heaven when the time comes, and you’re there, too, I’ll make sure to ask.
Your daughter S.