Monday, July 9, 2012

Mommy's Project 52:49 Sad

Last This week's subject for Mommy's Project 52 is "Sad".  I have always been hesitant to blog about an aspect of my life which often brings out all my emotions and anger. For some reason, I've always felt like I needed to protect certain people from it, or not let out dirty laundry where everyone can see.  I waver between the part of me that throws caution to the wind and just does things, and the part of me that tries to please everyone and not cause any ripples in the water.  It's a difficult balance most of the time.  I'm ready, though, to throw caution to the wind.

Sad is a parent who tosses their family aside for the flavor of the month.  Sad is a parent who misses out on the incredible children they brought into the world.  Sad is that parent never knowing their grandchildren.  Sad is that parent, because they live their life in a manner that contradicts everything they taught their children when they were young.  Sad is exemplified in this picture.

Harold Murtz
Harold A. Murtz
That person is my father.  He is the one who could always make me laugh.  His chest is the one I leaned on when I had to put medicine in my ears as a kid.  He is the one I watched funny TV shows with.  He's the one who made us all laugh at dinner.  He is the one who taught me how to change a tire.  He is the one who broke all our hearts for the sake of a good time.  With another woman.

When I was in college, he revealed that he'd been seeing someone for several years, and was essentially done with his marriage to my mom.  He wanted us to be happy for him.  He had a history of such behaviour, which I was unaware of until this time, and this one happened to blow up on all of us.  He said and did horrible things.  He lied.  He was hurtful.  He didn't understand, or care about, our pain.  He left.

We have not spoken since 1999.  He removed himself from the lives of all his friends and family, most notably his only two children.  I believe the last words I had for him began with an 'f', and left my throat raspy, to say the least.  It's been many years since then, and many wounds have healed, but obviously there are some that will always remain open.  At least for me.

In the last two years, there have been two instances where his name has reappeared in my life.  Thanks to the internet and social media, finding people you've lost touch with is a little easier than it was 20 years ago.  Of course, when you don't really want to find or connect with that person, it's also pretty easy to find out who that person knows, and contact them.

In early 2010, I received a phone call from my mom's second husband.  Long story short, his daughter had received a message, via Facebook, from my father.  Seriously?  This woman and I know each other, our mother and father were married, but, there is no intimate connection between us, and at the time, we weren't even connected via Facebook.  So why the hell would he write to her??  It was basically a plea to help him find out more about his two kids, and a request for help connecting with us.  When she attempted to reply to the message, his profile was gone, and she was unable to send a return message.  She couldn't find him on Facebook anywhere, so the issue died in the water as quickly as it arose.

Strike 1

Fast forward to June of 2012.  While at work on a Tuesday, I got an e-mail from a familiar, but most unwelcome, name.  His wife.

Strike 2

She had sent me a message via LinkedIn, the professional networking site that connects business people from all walks of work life.  I admit that I don't use it really, but, have heard from some of my connections when they navigate the difficult waters of job searching.  The most activity I get on LinkedIn is when someone requests a connection to me on the site.  Needless to say, I was shocked to see her name in my inbox.

Her message was short and simple (as I view her, but that's the only personal editorial I'll include here): "I would like very much to bring you and your dad together, if you are interested. Let me know what I can do to facilitate that.".  Hm.

In a period of about 24 hours, my mind raced and raced, not knowing what to make of this whole thing.  My first reaction was to reply and be brutally honest with something like, "Are you f-ing kidding me?  What, is he dying?".  I did my best to calm down quickly and collect the thoughts I could reach and try to sort them out.  I decided to sleep on it and give it a few days to sink in and really figure out what I wanted to do.

My decision was to ignore the message.  Just this morning, I clicked "ignore" on the invitation, a step which I hope will help me put the name and message behind me.  My reasons for this are many, but quite simply I feel that if my father really wants to reach out to me, he can do so himself.  If he still needs to rely on this woman to do his communicating, as he did throughout his divorce from my mom, then he is still the coward who didn't fight for a relationship with his daughters.  Plain and simple, he isn't helping matters, he's simply muddying the waters.

Strike 3

I am well past the pain, the sting of the open wounds, and the anger no longer surfaces every time I think about what happened.  I mourned the loss of my father years ago, and hope my children never know such pain in their lives.  I know that the father I used to know would enjoy every last second he could get with my children, and it's sad to know he'll never have that chance.

In the end, it's he who has lost the most.  It makes me sad to think that a man would leave his family behind the way he did, missing out on the important milestones that a parent looks forward to in their childrens' lives.  I have thought about what I want of things if he ever contacts me directly, and how I think I might react.  You never know until you're in the situation, but I have tried to consider the possibilities for the future.

The door is unlocked.  I believe it's up to him to open it, and take his chances on what's behind it.