The day I found on the internet that my estranged father died

“The wounds you can’t see are the hardest to heal.” ~Astrid Arauda

Relaxing in bed on a laid-back Sunday morning, I picked up my cell phone and scrolled through the Facebook news feed to google for my parents’ names.

I’m away from my parents and haven’t had much to do with them for over 15 years. But there are some of me who always care about them.

I first googled my mother’s name and found her name on regular articles about her dance classes and on church and community bulletin boards. From what I found, she seemed to be doing well.

Then I went to Google for my dad’s name. The first thing I encountered was an obituary posted on the website of a company that provides cremation and burial services. However, there were no actual obituaries, only a few photos of a much younger man and a few profiles of a much older man.

Was this an obituary of my father? Isn’t it possible? In shock, I was convinced it wasn’t his obituary, but I couldn’t shake the persistent feeling it was.

Last month I felt something was wrong, something terrible happened or would happen. At that time, I attributed these feelings to work stress and a pandemic.

I attributed these feelings to this experience when I learned of the death of one of the mentors who was like a father to me. Am I wrong?

Later that morning, I decided to search for my father’s name in the obituary section of the local newspaper online. His name quickly emerged, and my horrifying thing was how I learned about his death.

As I was reading the obituary, a shock struck me. He was dead for a month when I began to feel those intense and uneasy premonitions, as if something terrible had happened. It all makes sense.

My full name, which I legally changed a few years ago, was mentioned in an obituary under his surviving relatives, which immediately raged my shock. Did my family think I didn’t care about him? Did they think I had no right to know about his death?

I contacted a member of the estranged support group and found that many others knew of their parents’ death in the same way.

A few years ago, I was afraid that one of my parents might find out that they were going through Google. But I dismissed the horror and made me believe that someone in my family would tell me if one of my parents died.

For the next few days and weeks, I continued to google for my dad’s name. As I read the compliments written by my friends and family, I realized that I didn’t know who they were drawing.

He was described as “a simple religious person who was a welcoming neighbor, a devoted friend, a family member, and a good father.” But to me he wasn’t like that, and as I continued to read the compliments, sadness and anger struck me, forcing me to look back on my painful relationship with him.

I remember him telling me over and over again in kindergarten. Then, after going to see his father, he repeated his painful words. “You have wild hair and you will have a sad end.”

He continued to repeat these words on a regular basis throughout our relationship. All the mistakes I made faced harsh judgments such as “You are never good at it, you are just wasting your time, you will never be anything”.

He rubbed my failure on my face when I failed, and to this day failure is one of my greatest fears despite becoming a somewhat successful expert and scholar.

Over and over again, he told me:

“If you study well, it will be much easier to care about you.”

“You are illiterate, delinquent, inferior, and embarrassed.”

“You never intend to do anything. You will end up doing a minimum wage job with angry and stupid people.”

“You’re fat, lazy, unfocused, and wasting your time on that stupid piano. You’ll never do anything with that mallet.”

After I broke up with my first serious boyfriend, my dad told me: People like you naturally have problems with relationships. I fully hope that your marriage will also have serious problems. “

When I was preparing to go to college, he said to me, “Don’t expect to come back here when you run away, just find a minimum wage job and support yourself. give me.”

It took years to realize that such comments were verbal abuse.

Verbal abuse can be disguised as a parent insulting a child to do better, make himself stronger, lose weight, or enter a particular field. It can be disguised as caring for someone or wanting to push someone to a better version of themselves. Regardless of parental motives, insults and slander are actually verbal abuse, and the number of justifications cannot change this.

Verbal abuse can have devastating effects on a child’s life, and these effects are common in adulthood.

From my childhood to teenagers, due to the abusive comments of my parents, I believed that no one wanted me and I wasn’t enough for everyone. This limited belief hampered my ability to form friendships. As a result, I spent most of my childhood and teenage years alone, playing the piano and with my pets.

My friendship did The shape was often one-sided, as it made me accessible to people because I believed that I had to give and give to be worthy of friendship.

Above all, I was afraid of failure and became very anxious in an environment where I could fail. As a result, I couldn’t try new things and could only do what I was good at.

It was in my mid-teens that I met a mentor who not only saw my work, but also loved me and raised me like my daughter. Apart from my grandmother and grandfather, adults supported me for the first time in my life. My grandmother believed in me and reminded me of my values ​​and abilities every day.

“You’re good, you’re smart and very intelligent, you can do whatever you set your goals,” he tells me. I didn’t believe him at first, but then I slowly began to look at myself through his eyes.

He spoke to me like a loving parent. He wasn’t kidding me when I failed. Instead, he encouraged me to think about what I learned from that experience and how I could do better in the future.

He distilled me an unstable foundation of self-confidence, which gave me the courage to apply for college. Without this relationship, I wouldn’t be in place today because I wouldn’t have the courage to break out of or challenge this verbal abusive story that my parents taught me to believe.

When I was reading my dad’s attributes in tribute to someone who knew him, I was full of admiration. If my dad was the one explained in those compliments, we could have had a healthy relationship, and I make a painful decision to separate him from my life. I wouldn’t have needed it.

At the same time, we had to admit that these compliments are a lot for different people. For some people we are great friends, kind neighbors and loving parents, but for others we are rude jerks, selfish people and words Abusive or negligent parents. Each of us has the right to remember when we experience the dead and to respect their memory as we consider it appropriate.

A few years after separating my parents from my life, I silently forgave them for hurting me and worked to let go of the pain from the past. But from time to time, I realized that I was fantasizing about what a healthy adult relationship with my father would look like.

I have philosophical discussions of mutual respect, long walks, trips to distant places, and most importantly, successful adults who deserve love and acceptance, not as unloved failures. I imagined it would be seen as.

The last conversation I had with my father before my grandmother died was positive, and it only stimulated these fantasies. But in these illusions, I had to accept who my father was and admit the painful fact that some people couldn’t be the ones we needed.

We can choose to plead for a relationship that will never happen, or one that is not. Alternatively, despite abuse, you cannot choose to accept as is and accept yourself. But this means we have to let go and accept that the future holds time that we can’t have together.

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