Guilt

June 3, 2008

A few weeks ago, I posted an entry called Paternal Affections. In part, this entry dealt with my role as a father and the lack of a father I experienced as a child. I mentioned near the end that

Guilt.

Should I give him another chance? This question is plaguing me. I am bitter. Yet, I believe bitterness is wrong. I fear what his on again off again relationship will do to the emotions of my children. Yet, what will they learn if I encourage them to ignore their flesh and blood.

Guilt.

Should I write? Should I encourage him? Can there be healing?

As soon as I know, I guess I’ll write about it. Until then, if you know – how about some help?

As it turns out, someone that emailed me about my blogging knows my father and decided to forward a link to this blog post. My father felt that I was misinformed. As I asked for help, in a way, he responded to that. He replied on the back of a printout of the post, but not all of the post was there. So I wonder if he read the passage I have now quoted.

But for now, since he did not enter a post in the comments of the blog, let me post his comments and concerns now. He felt that I was unfair in some things, so let’s take a look.

Bill, That old goat roper e-mailed a link to your site into my mailbox. Hope you don’t mind.

You do have some of it right and some are misconceptions and some completely false.

Deadbeat dad? Yes failed to pay child support until forced? – Yes – proud of it? NO

Your mother and myself were married for about 18 months or so, not 6 years. Your mother was never beaten or abused by me in any way.

I was never angry that you went to Alaska, just hurt knowing that you would have gone and I wouldn’t have known if I had not called before you left.

I never knew you were sick or in the hospital until I read it here.

As far as no one wanting to speak to me, that was the people in your mothers family only.

Believe me or not – it matters little as I think this is the last communication between us.

John [full name with held by the blogger]

on further reflection we were married less than a year

[squiggle, perhaps initialed]

So, let me respond concerning a few things. My father is correct about my mistaken years married. I meant to type the numeral 2 and must have just flexed my fingers wrong. I do think it was closer to 18 months than the “less than a year”, but overall, that is less important than my typo. I have corrected it in the original post.

In other things, I do not have a phone number, nor an email address for my father. So, I responded to the “old goat roper”, the person that originally contacted me and forwarded to my father. Among other things in my reply was a request to have my email forwarded to John and the following:

As to the other things, well – I have never had the benefit of hearing much of your side of the story. You have not been around much to tell it. If you are willing. I want to hear it now. Please forgive me if I have hurt your feelings. I hope you can fathom the degree of hurt I feel. I am willing to talk this through. I want to do what is right, regardless of personal hurt.

Now, I personally hope this is not the end of any contact between us, but I believe that is his decision to make given the ending of his note. But I do want to mention a few things in the hope that he will read this and fashion a response.

First, I do not believe that the burden is on me to stay in touch with my biological father if he has determined to leave me in my mother’s sole care and did not take care of child support until forced. That said, I understand that mistakes are made and cannot be undone, even though an individual is truly sorry and wishes to make some amends.

Second, I am placed in a hard place concerning the alleged abuse of my mother. On one hand I have the person who did remain in my life telling me that she was physically abused (some) and mentally abused (much). On the other I have a man that I know less well than I would prefer essentially telling me that my mother is mistaken at best or a liar at worst. Still, one might make the assertion that after the divorce she felt a need for vengeance of some kind. I can allow for that, as I make myself available to hear another side of the story. I cannot promise to be completely unbiased, but will strive to be as much as I am personally capable.

Third, I am placed in a harder spot concerning my illness. On one hand I have my wife telling me that she contacted my father concerning my hospitalization. On the other, I have John telling me that he did not know. Perhaps the severity of my health was not perfectly clear and as such, he did not focus on it, nor remember it. Or, I am left with my wife being mistaken at best or a liar at worst.

Fourth, I am left with the a personal knowledge that my father has only tried to communicate with me a handful of times since the summer I turned 14. I have no personal recollection of earlier attempts, but I have certain mementoes that my mother assures me that John sent me when I was a small child.

Part of the guilt I have been trying to work through is what responsibility I have to communicate with my father. Should I have tried harder to communicate with him? I have agonized over this for many years. I believe that as the one who left, he has the greater responsibility, but that I have perhaps shirked in some way.

Here is the bottom line for me. I wish to do that which my heavenly Father will approve. I am concerned for John’s feelings as I have obviously hurt him. But I am also concerned for my own and my children’s. Yet, I do not wish to be guilty of sin as regards my Father and my father.

So, I post this after asking the goat roper to ask John to look at an article titled “Guilt”. Again, I am trying to work through this and am open to help and advice. Perhaps John will respond to this article here in the comments section. Perhaps he will email me. Perhaps, I will receive yet another snail mail response.

I do hope that he was mistaken and the letter he sent was not

the last communication between us.

So, John, is it?

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