Above picture from Pinterest. Quote from Benjamin Button.
Today I saw some pictures that my half-sister posted on Facebook. They were pictures of a part of my family that I don’t know very well. The pictures included all four of my older half-siblings from my father’s first marriage and photos of my father as a young man.
I only remember meeting my biological father a handful of times before he died. He died while I was in college and he and my mom divorced before I turned one. I have no memory of what he looked like as a young man, and I don’t know much about who he was and what he was like in person. Seeing the pictures of him and his first family struck a nerve deep within me. It’s painful.
I am amazed at how raw my feeling are all these years later, but still I want to see more pictures and always—I want to know more. I had ripped up or burned all of the pictures of him that I was given when I was a kid because he had broken his promise to come back and visit me. Of course, I regret destroying all those pictures, but I was so angry and hurt that he didn’t come back to see me again. What child wouldn’t be? Back then, I didn’t understand there is always more to the story. I just thought that he and my half-siblings really didn’t care about me and that hurt.
Before my biological father died, one of my half-sisters, who I only remember meeting once as a child, invited me to her wedding. Even though I was angry and hurt by their past lack of effort, I had to go.
I am so glad that I did go because I was able to really talk to my father in person for the first and only time as an adult. Although it’s still pains me that I never got to spend time with my biological father, that he didn’t make more of an effort, and that I never really knew him, I am so thankful for that last and only true conversation I ever had with him.
All these years after meeting my half siblings, I have kept my distance. The same sister who posted the pictures has consistently reached out to me over the years, and I have been guarded. Maybe it’s been fear or pain that has held me back–I don’t really know….
I think separating myself from all of them allowed me to not be reminded of the sadness I felt as a child and teenager that was caused by me not spending any time with my father and feeling like he didn’t care. All of my half-siblings spent time with him growing up and they knew him well. Hardly fair, but that’s life.
I emailed that half-sister after seeing the pictures and told her how I felt, but she already knew. She also told me some things from her perspective growing up that made me think about the past in a different light.
It’s never too late to change or open your heart. It’s time to let them into my life.
It may be weird and painful at first, but I think I would regret it forever if I didn’t open myself up to that change.