Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day .....

Today -- June 21, 2015 -- is celebrated as Father's Day here in the U.S.  So I thought I'd talk about my birth father.

Very early in this blog, I shared the little I know about his life prior to and during his marriage to my mother.  They were married for a few years, and most of the time he was away at sea.  He was home enough to sire four children (twins in 1956, me in 1957, my younger brother in 1958), but walked out on our family sometime between my birth and my brother's.

A few years ago I came across a handful of photos that my mother had sent to my grandparents. Included among them were some pictures of my birth father doing various activities (in one he was hanging wet diapers on a clothesline and was captioned something like "And he swore he would never wash diapers").  I kept them for a while, then sent them all to my sister.

I did keep one photograph, though, just so that I'd have something to remind me where I come from.  Every now and then I pull it out and stare at it. Do I look like him?  Do I act like him?  What part(s) of me came from him?

Dear old dad, circa 1955

Just do it .....

Although I thought, and wrote, multiple times about suicide, I never actually attempted it.  However, I did attempt to attempt it once.

I'm not sure the exact date, but it was prior to the wedding of my uncle's daughter, because she was temporarily living at home.  She wed in June, 1971, so I was 13 years old -- 14 at most.  What precipitated the attempt is lost to me now, as is why this one night was so much worse than any that preceded it.

What I do know is that on that one night, I was lying in bed and crying so hard that I was unable to sleep.  I was tired of crying ... tired of being miserable ... tired of everything.  I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. Years later, my uncle's daughter would tell me that she always knew where her mother's pills were kept, in case she ever decided to make an attempt herself, but I wasn't that savvy.  All I knew was that in the bathroom, I'd find the key that would let me escape my unhappiness.

The key