Emotional bumps

Wow, two posts today. This one I just really have to get off my chest.

You know, I really like it when my life just goes along without too many bumps. I’m not talking about no changes, changes are good. I’m talking about bumps; the shit that throws you off kilter. Where you have to hang on so you don’t lose your balance.

My brother just called to tell me my Dad died.

My Mom and Dad were divorced when I was pretty young (5 or 6). We did the visitation thing. I remember spending time with him and his new wife, but I honestly don’t have very many positive memories of the man. For my twelfth birthday I remember getting a birthday card from him with a dime taped inside and it said “Call me sometime” with a phone number. (Yes… calls were only a dime back then!) That was one of the last times I heard from him. He was what they now call a “Deadbeat Dad”. He never paid any child support. He remarried, had two more kids and they all moved out of the state. As we were told, to keep from paying child support. He had been put in jail once (that I remember) for non-payment. He took an early retirement from the Detroit Police force and moved his family out of the state and out of reach of the long arm of the law.

When I was in my twenties, my brother called and told me my Dad wanted us to get together and discuss some insurance stuff. I was pretty bitter, so I told my brother to tell that man that I was too busy working two jobs to put myself through college, I didn’t have time to get together. They still met at a local restaurant. I knew when and where so I went and parked in a lot across the street. I was very curious about how he looked – silly, I know. So I saw him but he didn’t see me. I guess I was about 25.

The bitterness subsided and my brother and I both half-heartedly looked for him. It’s almost like folklore, some of the stories I heard. Alcohol, drugs and diabetes got the better of him and at some point he had both of his legs amputated; one above the knee and one just below. I had heard that he got drunk one night and passed out outside in the cold and lost his legs to frostbite. He was schizophrenic and I had also heard he thought demons were in his legs… but really who knows what happened.

We had heard he was in a nursing home on the other side of the state. When we checked into that it turns out he had left a few months prior – owing money and leaving some pissed off people in his wake. That was Dad.

In 2001/2002 my brother located my Dad and his (now ex) wife. Dad was in a nursing home in Tennessee. His ex-wife and her two kids (my step-brother and step-sister) were all living in the same town. It took me a few days of agonizing, but I finally decided to go with my brother down to Tennessee and see the family I hadn’t seen in over 25 years.

That was weird. My Dad was pretty medicated so he couldn’t really speak more than a word at a time. There was no real conversation but I was re-connected with my half-brother and half-sister. It was nice to see them and get to know them. Hey bet you’d never guess my sister looks like Courtney Cox. I have seen my sister one other time and I’ve seen my Dad’s ex a few times. My half-brother and I really connected and I have seen him the most – he even came to my wedding.

It’s been a few years since I have seen any of them. They have never met Hunter or my husband (except my half-brother).

I’m really at a loss for how I should be feeling right now. Initially, I was emotional. Now it feels very matter of fact. I have to decide if I am going to travel down to Tennessee with my brother. I don’t think there is going to be a funeral. They asked my opinion regarding burial or creation… I don’t have one. Not for a man I really didn’t know. Is it wrong to take 5 days of bereavement from work for a man whose label is my father, but whom I hardly knew? I know there isn’t a right or wrong way to feel. I am an emotional person and I feel those emotions stirring… but I don’t understand why. Of course, if I didn’t feel anything, that would be weird too.



  1. Stepherz Said:

    Sheryl, whether you were ever able to know him or not, he was your father and it would be unnatural not to mourn him. Perhaps you mourn never having more of him . You can be sad and angry that he never made you more of a part of his life. You need to have emotion. though. It’s time for that. Don’t bottle that away.

    I don’t know my father either and sort of have a similar history as you with your dad. But if he died, I would be so sad. Sad that it was over and yet never had begun. I’d be sad that I lost something important that I never had in the first place. Even though my life has moved along without him, he has always been a part of me and he has always been in my thoughts. My guess is that you feel a bit of this too.

    So gosh, Sheryl. Mourn, Dear. It’s good for the soul, and it allows you to let go. Whether you’re letting go of him, or the hurt attached to him– Just take some time to mourn. And as far as leave from work goes, he was your father. You don’t need to justify your relationship or your closeness with him to deserve some time from work to sort through things. Even if you just take the time off to work through some of your feelings, do it!

    It sounds like he may have died a lonely and sad man. I’d like to think he probably reflected on you and his wrong in those years he was alone. Perhaps you just need to forgive him. That was the most healing thing I did with my dad. He never asked for my forgiveness, but I gave it to him anyways. It has helped my heart along. Perhaps it could help yours too?

    Take care of you, be kind to yourself, do what you need to do to heal. If you need someone to talk to, well, I don’t have a job ( 🙂 ) so you can write/call anytime! Best wishes & you will be in my thoughts!

  2. Gina Said:

    It sounds like a complex relationship, so no wonder you are all over the place emotionally.

    Just let the feelings run free, don’t try to place feelings upon yourself that aren’t there.

    As for the days off, do whatever makes you feel best. And if that is taking some days off, then so be it. If not, that doesn’t mean you are an unfeeling person, either.

  3. nikki Said:

    my coworkers kids (both adults) are going through the same situation. for them, it’s the loss of what could have been that hurts worse than the actual passing of their father, that said, death is never easy. just do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

  4. sherylhs Said:

    Thanks for all of your kind words. What an amazing thing, this Internet. To be able to find some comfort from people you don’t know in person, but really do know in heart and mind.

    Steph, you can’t know how comforting your words have been. A bit of emotional direction can go a long way. Perhaps it is emotion from what will never be. I am glad that I had the opportunity to go and see him, even if it was several years ago. I feel much more on track today.

    Thank you for taking the time to share with me.

  5. Laurie Said:

    I have no brilliant words, but I’m sorry.


  6. Meghan Said:

    Oh, Sheryl.

    Steph took the words right out of my mouth.

    And, I’m so sorry.

  7. […] my Dad died in January I had no idea that he would have insurance policies. So when my brother called me and […]

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  9. […] I apologize in advance for the rushed nature of this post and the pics, but I am leaving tomorrow at 4 AM for Tennessee to spend some time with some family. And for those enquiring minds; I took the week off and me and my three favorite boys (husband, brother and son) are traveling to Tennessee. Emotionally, I am in a much better place, thanks for all your encouraging words. […]

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