My parents both had their own demons to deal with while raising four kids. I was always a daddy’s girl and it took me thirty years to understand a lot of things, but I think I found the answers I needed.
In my earlier blog, I shared some of my best memories. I touched on a hurtful one, but wanted to give a little more to that here. I thought this would be the easiest way to share, without going on too long.
My dad is my hero. His life hasn’t been the easiest, or happiest, but he tried really hard to hide it. He has found so much love and understanding since he married his second wife, my stepmother Sandra. She loves us all, despite the bumpy beginning. And I am grateful for that.
An atheist, an artist. A hard worker.
At the tender age of nine
I would sit with him at the kitchen table
A bottle of Johnny Walker Red between us
I would watch him drink
While he explained to me why there was no God.
Once I asked, “If you don’t believe in God, then why are you afraid of the dark?
I mean, if there is no God then there is no devil, right?”
I was just a little kid then and I didn’t understand.
Not all demons are that obvious, running around
in red suits,
Carrying pitch forks.
Some (my grandfather) hid behind alcohol and suicide.
Years later my daddy divorced my mother.
Is even a deacon at his church
(whatever the hell that means)
Now he ends all our calls with, “Come to church on Sunday—God loves you!”
It’s all I can do to keep from screaming.
I’m mean to my step-mother.
Call her “cow-pie face” behind her back.
Stare directly into her eyes until she turns away.
I refuse to give her a chance
Listen to rumors about her before she met my daddy, but who am I to judge?
I left home before I turned sixteen.
I’m forty years old now
I have a wonderful son and many reasons to be thankful
I remind myself every day.
But when I see the old man my daddy has become
I’m overcome with a sadness so heavy
It’s almost too much to carry.
We are so much alike—this Bible thumping stranger and me.
It has nothing to do with our brown eyes or high cheekbones
Our artistic abilities or the need to make something with our hands.
We are both just two lost children searching for our fathers.
Powerful because it is . . . honest. That “h” word that so many would-be writers just can’t get the hang of. Thanks, Mandy, for the honesty.
The stories of our own lives can be the most captivating. I suppose that is why snippets turn up in our stories – to lend them the credibility that imagination alone lacks. I’m glad you have bridged the distance with your father…