I keep trying to break through this fog. My biological father has been dead five months now and occasionally I look at what things must have been like from his side of the coin.
I went to B.C. in 1978 to meet my family after first sending them letters and photos. People are amazed by my story yet I am always blasé about the whole thing. It’s been my life, all I did was live it. Yet everyone says there was so much more.
I’m trying to accommodate this. I never considered what it was like for my family to be waiting and wondering about me. I never thought about what went through their minds when I finally contacted them. But, most importantly, I never allowed them the opportunity to make a decision about me. I just assumed.
My aunt and uncle automatically accepted me. But you know what? It’s always easy for extended family. They are impacted less than the biological nuclear family. It’s one more nephew, one more cousin. And this person isn’t in their primary family dynamic.
Yet for my dad and brother I did not allow for any time to take a deep breath and process what had just occurred when I barged into their life. I accepted them immediately and I assumed it was mutual. Even when it was obvious to me that it wasn’t mutual, I was not willing to accept it.
Perhaps I never gave them the breathing space because I didn’t want the rejection. Yet I got the rejection for decades. I had their answer, yet I was unwilling to accept it. I kept banging on their door and they had too much class to tell me to piss off. Eventually they accepted me out of exasperation. But is that really acceptance? Or is it just exasperation? Can you have both?
I was more cautious with the family in Italy because by then I understood the dynamic more. Too, I was middle-aged, pushing forty, not a teenager. Fortunately, I never had any problems with them–there’s that extended family dynamic again.
So things seem to have worked out. My brother and I have a good relationship. My father is dead and I’m still in the dark as to where I stood. Yet, I no longer grapple. I’ve let him go. It’s no use hungering for something that will never be had. The die is cast and I have to move on. I just hope that I’ve learned not to be so bloody needy.