Not For Those Who Wait Too Late
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this," my Aunt said over the telephone, "But your Dad died last year. . ."
I hadn't spoken to my Mom or Dad --or any of the rest of my family-- in over ten years.
They couldn't accept me being gay, and I was determined that I was going to live my life the way I wanted, on my own terms, with no apologies or excuses. If they couldn't handle it, they didn't have to be a part of my life.
I loved them, but it's my life, and I wouldn't compromise.
I won't lie, it hurt me a great deal. But the more time passed, the less it bothered me. Except around the holidays. Holidays always sucked because the holidays are the times for family, and the only family I had were my circle of friends. Comforting, yes --but not the same.
Every year that went by also made it more difficult to contact them. So much time had went by. What would I say to them? How would they react?
So I put it off 'til later. And later took longer and longer to get here.
Yesterday, I finally decided to bite the bullet and call them. And if it turned out that they still wanted no part of me, well, I could at least say that I tried.
The number I had for my parents was seven years old, and was an invalid number. The numbers for my grandmother and great aunt were just as old, and just as invalid. A computer search turned up nothing.
It's ironic that now that I was trying to get a hold of them, I was getting nowhere.
I finally tracked down my Aunt Helene. Technically, she wasn't my Aunt anymore, since my Uncle Paul and she divorced years ago, but she'll always be my Aunt to me.
When I envisioned it in my mind, I guess I expected that my Aunt would give me my parents new number. I'd call and they'd be so glad to hear from me. In my little fantasy world, they'd been trying to contact me, but didn't know how. Things would be a little awkward at first, but then we'd laugh and we'd cry and eventually bygones would be bygones. Fade to a happy family beside the Christmas tree.
Real life isn't a storybook or a movie on the Hallmark Network.
So I called.
The reality of the situation is this:
My father is dead. He's been dead for almost a year. There will be no reconciliation, no happy ending.
I waited too long. All the bitterness, and unkind words, and bad feeling can't be taken back now. I can't make it right.
Part of me is still stunned, but most of me is filled with regret. There's a lump in my throat that hasn't gone away since I got the news.
My mom is living with my Aunt in North Carolina. I can't get her number until next week when my Uncle returns from his vacation.
I don't know what I'm going to say to her. It'll happen the way it happens.
All I know is this time I won't hesitate.
I'll post more on this topic later when there's more to tell.