I've been thinking about my relationship with my father more and more, especially since my mother died in 2003. My father died on January 16, 2006 and I still don't know how I really feel about him, my relationship with him and his death. He was 89 and lived a great life but I miss him and really wish he was still here to talk with.
Everyone who attended the funeral and the reception had the most wonderful things to say about my father and this made me very happy. But when I think that most of the people who spoke about my father were approximately my age and male it really makes me wonder how I missed out on so many good times with my father. Maybe it was being his daughter instead of his son, maybe it was my mother who "seemed" to drive a wedge between my father and me, maybe it was being an only child -- I'll never know.
Since 2003 I've been visiting my father frequently -- he had to moved to assisted-living after my mother died and I really did enjoy all the visits but the man I visited wasn't the man I remember from my childhood. I won't say that my father was the best or the greatest father but he was always there for me, he was a good provider, and he was a fair disciplinarian. I wish I could have been with him more when he was still the vital person everyone talked about at his funeral.
I let my relationship with my mother keep me away and I suppose I'll always regret this. I just didn't visit my parents much at all. Starting in 1970 I moved away and it wasn't really until the late 1990's that I ever really wanted to visit home. Each and every visit was a challenge. My mother and I were always fighting and only short visits seemed to work out at all and even those visits could turn sour very quickly.
"Some say we never really know another person, that we really have only our perceptions of another while the real person remains a mystery, perhaps even to himself. At no time does this seem truer than after a person's death when perceptions are all that remains. It's a truth that came home to me vividly after my father's death."
Poems about fathers
"It doesn't matter who my father was, it matters who I remember he was" written by Anne Sexton.
Sylvia Plath's terrible childhood depicted in her poem DADDY