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.