My brother and I were crammed into the bank’s private room, going through papers in Mother’s safety deposit box. With her knowledge and permission, of course. I picked up a thick folded document on legal paper. Stunned into silence when I discovered what it was.
Mother always told us our Dad abandoned us when I was 3. Took off and never looked back. She was the one stuck with us “ungrateful bastards.” Her life destroyed by having children. The catch phrase as long as I could remember was, “I rue the day I ever had you.”
The legal document was a judge’s decision on my father’s request for full custody in their divorce. It’s not surprising the judge ruled against Dad and gave him no visitation rights. It was the 1960s. At the time, courts usually decided in favour of children staying with their mother. Little did the judge know she was mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive.
Almost everything I’d been told about my Father was lies. I rarely saw him over the years. When I did, our visits always had an undercurrent of sadness and pain. Stemming from my broken heart that my Dad didn’t want me. No Father’s Day card applied, since I wasn’t the apple of his eye and we had no history of shared quality time.
It’s too late now that he’s dead.
Sometimes I imagine the conversations we could have had. Or the relationship we might have enjoyed if the truth had been spoken.
My heart hurts more this Father’s Day than any before. Now that I know what might have been.