24 and a half years ago, my dad chose a new journey in life. The type of journey that meant that he would no longer be involved in watching me grow up. A journey which meant that I had, in theory, lost my dad for the first time. Do I remember how I felt about that? No, I was a mere three years old. Between the years of 1993-2003 I saw him a handful of times, yet in 1998, he chose to send me a birthday card. However, what was written in that card has stayed with me ever since;
‘Dear Kaisha. I’m not sending you anything for your birthday as you haven’t bothered to write to Nanna. Dad’
Reader; I was 8 years old. I know exactly what I did with that card (after getting upset btw). I casually ripped it into little pieces, walked outside and threw it into the black wheelie bin. Wasn’t exactly the most mature thing to do, but y’know!
In 2004 I had reached an age where I wanted to give my dad one more chance (please be aware that I’m not typing out the entire story here, a lot more went on than what I wrote above). To say that I missed my dad that year would be a lie. To say that I missed the idea of having a dad…now that would be closer to the truth. I gave him that chance, and he blew it more than once during 2014.
In 2006 I saw my dad for the very last time, through chance, as he was walking out of Tesco as we were walking in. I didn’t want to talk to him. I had nothing to say to him. Over the years a lot of my early childhood came to light, such as how he wanted my mum to abort me when she fell pregnant, and so on. When I was older, I was able to speak for myself and form an opinion based on what he decided to spraff. I stood up for myself. I was called all the names under the sun, ridiculed beyond belief, pulled apart like I was scum. And yes, I did reply in a hateful and angry manner, I won’t lie.
In 2013, whilst I was pregnant with my daughter, it was agreed that I should contact him over Facebook and let him know that I was pregnant, same as when I gave birth. His response? He congratulated my mum on the birth of my baby..
So, whilst you’ve had a little history lesson of TWG, there is a reason why I have delved into my past. On the 25th July 2016 I received a phone call from my cousin. My dad was dead. I had to relay the news to my family, and yes, I was absolutely distraught. The next day I was contacted again by my cousin who told me that on the 23rd July (one year ago today), my dad killed himself by putting a gun to his head. Why did I find out two days after the event? Because he lived in America and, seeing as he had no contact details for his children, we weren’t notified directly…his sister was.
Despite the fact that my dad and I, had had a turbulent relationship over the years, and the fact that I despised him and didn’t want to be associated with him (I changed my surname), his death knocked me for six. I couldn’t stop crying. Even if I wanted to re-build our relationship, I no longer can. He doesn’t know his granddaughter. Hell, he didn’t even really know his 26 (at the time) year old daughter. Yet I was a mess. But then I thought to myself; ‘why are you crying? you didn’t like him?’, and quite a few times I was asked that question by other people. People couldn’t understand why I was so upset so, because of those comments, I started feeling like I shouldn’t be upset by his death. How I shouldn’t be feeling sad as we hadn’t spoken for years. How I should just get on with it and we didn’t really have a relationship. I felt guilty for being upset when I had had a step-dad for the last 8 years, why would I have needed my dad? I wouldn’t. My step-dad has been more of a father to me than my dad ever was. But I still couldn’t stop crying.
Even now, one year later, I still have moments where I can’t believe he’s dead. I wasn’t able to go to the funeral. My brother and I had to legally relinquish our next of kin rights due to cost. Even though my brother was happy to do that and wasn’t bothered by the circumstances, I didn’t want to do it, but I knew that I couldn’t afford to pay for the funeral myself, including the cost for bringing his body back to the UK. Even though he washed his hands of us many years ago, I felt extremely guilty by doing the same even though he was dead.
Regardless of my relationship with my dad, he was still that…my dad. I wouldn’t be on this planet if it wasn’t partly for him. When I look in the mirror I see him, obviously. I wish things were different. I wish we were able to have the father daughter relationship. I know I’m lucky to have my step-dad in my life, and of course my mummabear, but I guess I never expected my dad to kill himself. I am furious with him, but I do miss him. I have no idea why I miss him, but I do. He’s part of me whether I like it or not.
I never got to say goodbye to my dad the first time that he left us. I never got to say goodbye to my dad the second, and final time that he left us. I never got to say to him, ‘look at me now’. I never got to know HIM. HE never got to know me as an adult.
This is by far, the weirdest grief I have ever experienced. I guess that I just want my dad…even though I never really had him to begin with…