Yesterday we had a death in the family, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel. I shed a few tears last night and again while writing this but I can’t explain why. Was I crying for myself, for his children or for what might have been.
Richard Kelly, was my godfather, my dad’s best friend, ex husband of my cousin and father of 2.
We hadn’t spoken in years.
In 1985 when my Dad died, I didn’t just lose a father I lost an entire family. For reasons known only to them they chose to turn their backs on 2 little girls without a father. In my opinion some were just selfish, some were young with young families of their own and other priorities, others were too young to make the decision for themselves and took their lead from the adults.
I’ve never written about it much before because while of course my history has helped shape who I am today, it does not define me. I hold no bitterness or malice towards my family in fact when I got married last year some of my Dad’s side were there in the evening to celebrate with us, including Richard’s ex wife and daughter, because as an adult I have formed connections with them.
But, while Richard wasn’t there at the wedding or for milestones before, his presence was always a constant in my life. He was always in the background. He knew my entire family on both sides and and has always been a familiar name. Many, particularly the funny stories of my Dad start with his involvement. His children often spoke of him, and photos regularly appeared on facebook. In my early teens when I decided to try and connect with my paternal family, it was Richard I contacted and through him that I met my one aunt and a whole lot of other extended family members, we fell out of touch again, because as a teen I had other priorities and then life got in the way.
As an adult we reconnected briefly and made plans to meet once again but that fell through. Unfortunately it was while I was at a particularly low point myself andI thought that was because he didn’t care and didn’t really want to know. I made a decision to stop trying but as time went on I always secretly thought that one day we’d meet. But one day never came, and now it never will. I regret not trying now, and I understand us not meeting wasn’t because of him, or me, but because of circumstance, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
So who I am I crying for? The missed opportunities? Another connection to the Dad I barely knew disappearing? or through empathy for the terrible loss I know his children, family and friends are experiencing. Maybe it’s for all of these things, but through my tears I’ve made the decision to stop “not trying” – there’s a whole lot of other people out there I need to try harder with and I don’t want there to be another time where the day can never come.