I’m watching old reruns of M*A*S*H right now. The very sound of “Suicide is Painless” channels memories of my childhood and how we’d watch it at night while eating dinner  when we were all home from work, from school – tucked in downstairs in the family room in front of a roaring (and I do mean roaring) fire. Something so familiar, so comforting. We were still a family back then – Mom, Dad, my brother and me. Still all together. Not without our issues, of course, but together nonetheless. A family. My family.

Monday afternoon, I happened across a recent mug shot of my father online. I won’t go into the details as to what it is all about and no I wasn’t surprised because I knew about the circumstances. But still. Nothing prepares a child – or at least nothing prepared me, for seeing my parent’s mug shot. He looked dreadful. He looked dead in the eyes. But it is his own undoing. Completely his own undoing for which I have no sympathy. None at all. He made his bed. It’s his turn to sleep in it. I know that sounds harsh. It is but that’s just how it has to be. He should have known better. When you wallow with the trash you can’t help but get dirty.

And despite the fact that I’ve lost all/any sort of feeling for him as my father. He is but a stranger to me now.

Still. It stings.

As I stare at the mug shot. I want to cry. My already  broken heart cracks a bit more. Is that even possible?  I start thinking back to my childhood and all the fun things we did when he was in good humor. Images flash through my mind of happier times when I once thought I had the perfect family. I truly did. We had it all. And I’m not talking materialistically. I had a relatively happy childhood. I didn’t know any different. I think of the things he built me – the merry-go-round, the log cabin playhouse, the swing, the tee-pee…all the things he taught me and how he was when he was happy. I think about all the wonderful stories he used to tell me when I was a kid – stories he made up – about the Whiskered Brush Rasp and the Three-Toed Lasorange. I think about his nickname for me which was Cecie since I was a baby – because I couldn’t say my name so I referred to myself as “Cecie”.  No one calls me that. Only him. Now, no one has a special nickname for me. I’m just Tracy. An uncle on my dad’s side used to call me Snoopy – after my favorite beagle. But because of the mess with my parents’ divorce, basically all ties were cut. I lost an entire family. In fact I’ve lost two entire families in my lifetime. One related and one not but the pain is still the same. It hurts like hell. I try to remember more but the happy memories end before I hit middle-school/high school. Then it all just fades to black where my dad is concerned.

In no way do I mean to suggest that I’ve had it all that bad – especially when I know there are others out there who have had it much worse and really I have no room to complain. I can only live in my own shoes though and this is my life, my pain, my hurt that I share hoping that in some small way it will prove cathartic. Maybe. But for today, I’m just plain sad for the father I never really had – nor ever will have. He’s just a man with whom I share DNA. That’s all.

0 thoughts on “Life

  1. Tracy, I lost my father when I was still a girl and I get hit by pangs of grief, nostalgia and profound injustice without any warning at all. I do not think anything prepares us for loss — be it through a mug shot or a sudden heart attack. I think sometimes people confound strength with lack of emotion… and I think the real strength lies in recognizing, even when it makes no sense, even when it hurts most, that we miss someone beyond all reason. I love you.

    • I’m sorry you lost your father, Roxanne. I know that couldn’t have been easy. I got what you meant. And I agree. I do mourn the man who could be good and fun. I don’t miss him in whole though. There is that void though – where a father – a dad should be that I will forever miss and yearn for. Sadly. Thank you Roxanne – much love back to you as always and one HUGE hug. 🙂

  2. And just to clarify — I know you mean you miss a father, not necessarily this particular one, but who is to say we cannot miss a version of things we never quite had? Journeys we did not take and relationships that we did not form?

  3. Oh Tracy. This broke my heart. Knowing how utterly bound to my dad I am, I can’t even imagine what this must feel like for you – distant as you might have been, seeing that must have been a shock that, as you said, added another dent to what is an already battered heart. I’m so sorry, love. I truly am. As always, you know I am here to talk if you need it. Love you, lady ♥

    • Thank you Onyi. It does my heart good when I hear your stories of your relationship with your parents – especially your dad. It gives me hope. When I see how my own husband is with our daughter, it warms my heart. We both have “father” issues so we are determined to be good parents to our child. I so appreciate your love and your thoughts. I do. And I love you too. Thank you. 🙂

  4. I lost my dad as a wee one and this post, and the comments, are hitting me straight in the heart. Breakdowns in our primary family are hard… even if we “get over” them (no matter what that phrase might really mean), we never stop seeing the world without that particular lens.

    The good thing is that every adjustment to our lens is part of what makes us unique. Why no one will write a story the way that you do. Why you will understand that look in a mug shot better than I can, and why you can describe it with an emotion that I can’t access in quite the same way.

    It makes you the writer that you are. And that is a very good thing. And I will happily be told that I’m looking on the bright side of this, but in the face of pain of this magnitude, I think the bright side is a fine place to look.

    Love you much.

    • Yes Kim, the bright side is how I have to look at things. I guess it forced me to remember some of the better times and maybe make peace with the fact that the past is just that, the past and there’s no going back. Thank you for the compliment and for the support – as always. Love you much too. 🙂

  5. I am so so sorry you are feeling this pain. I know you say you shouldn’t complain, but of course you should -and really, you are not complaining – you are hurting. And sharing. Love to you.

  6. Tracy, I am so so so sorry for your loss and the pain that sneaks up on you. It’s funny how someone can chose a path in life that we wouldn’t have chosen for them and we think that’s it, maybe we’re done now, and then something comes up from behind and unexpectedly smacks us in the face. I find this kind of loss so perplexing because the person you loved and knew is gone, yet someone else is walking around in his or her body. I hope this post did prove cathartic to you and brings you a little closer to peace. Thanks for sharing.

  7. PS I can selfishly say that it brought me comfort … I have some people I’ve lost to darker paths as well. It gives me comfort to know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

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