It’s late and the house has finally settled. I came into my room to do a little homework but as soon as I opened my laptop, I realized that I hadn’t written in almost a week. Last time I wrote I left off feeling numb over the death of my biological father. This is how the story continued:
After making a trip to the cemetery and tearfully speaking to the wind, I came home. I stood in the shower with my face in cool water hoping that my swollen eyes would find themselves normal by the time my husband came home. Although I can easily find the words to describe my thought process when writing, I am quite private where my feelings can be seen. When I cannot hide my emotions I hide myself away from others. After my shower I sat at my laptop looking at my blog site when all of a sudden I felt this incredible urge to contact Pam (Glenn’s wife). Going back to her webpage I located her Contact me link and opened it. Basically I was forced to swallow every ounce of pride I had when I emailed her explaining who her husband was to me and I pretty much got on my cyber hands and knees pathetically begging her to call me. I gave her every social media site I am listed on so that she could do her homework- the last thing I wanted was for Pam to think I was some crazy person looking for a handout. At the end of the email I listed another several ways for her to contact me and signed off by thanking her in advance for her time.
While I was piddling around the house trying to take my mind off the last three days, my husband called to let me know he was on his way home. His call was interrupted by another – an unknown caller from Ohio. Taking a deep breath, I clicked over. “Hello?” The older voice on the other end asked for me by name. When I said, “This is Brandy,” she confirmed what I already knew- – it was Pam. Through the tears around my throat, before she could speak another word, I thanked her and told her how glad I was that she had called, Her next words sent my heart to my stomach, “Don’t thank me yet, you might not like what I have to say!” she was stern. Instantly I knew- – I just knew Pam was going to be as bitter and cold as Glenn was to me.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Pam told me that she and Glenn had divorced in 2008. She vented many ugly things about him that shocked me. I could tell that the angry words that Pam was spewing was driven from a heart that had been broken by a man that she once loved dearly. I felt bad for her, more so than I did for myself. I mean, which is worse, hurting over a man you loved only in your mind for 30 years or hurting over a man you spent nearly everyday with for 30 years? She definitely got the shit-end of that stick!
The reason I say that her words were driven by heartache is because as many times she told me something bad about him, she told me something good. I could hear her voice lift when she spoke of his charm. She said he could get anyone to do anything for him because of it. Pam told me that he was tall, thin and very handsome. I found out that he had, “an amazing voice,” and that he could fix anything. Pam told me that he was extremely intelligent and quick witted. Thanking her first, I asked her if she could tell me just a few things for my medical history- I learned that he had a heart attack at age 60 and that he survived something called Guillain Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. I also learned that he had a bad hip and that his back would get jacked up every time he was under large amounts of stress. This hip and back problem made me smile- not because he had pains but because I have the same ones!! She told me that he was drafted into the Air Force while he was at Georgetown University and spent 6 years enlisted.
Pam let me talk a little about myself. I told her that I was a wife and a mother- – a grandmother. I told her that I was educated and that once upon a time I was a Fire EMT near where they lived and that currently I was wrapping up a degree in criminal justice. She said that was funny because Sarah, my half-sister, was also a fire medic and had recently graduated from law school. That put a HUGE smile on my face. It is nice to know that I have a little sister (3 years younger) who has somewhat walked in my footsteps without knowing it. That’s pretty freaking awesome!!
Again I thanked Pam for everything. She told me that she had known about me for years- from the first time I called her house matter of fact because she overheard the way Glenn spoke to me. I confessed that I tricked her sister-in-law, Violet, into giving me her phone number by pretending to be someone from Glenn’s high school. Pam giggled. She told me I hadn’t tricked anyone, that Violet knew who I was and she gave me the number because she didn’t know why Glenn had the right to run from me.
I told Pam that I grew up with a dad who loved me from the time I was 18 months old and that I never contacted Glenn because I wanted money or because I needed a dad- I tried to know Glenn simply to know Glenn. I wanted to know who I was biologically. I wanted to see the face of my sperm donor and know what I might die of when I am 80. Pam told me that Glenn was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009; he died four years later up in New Jersey under the care of Sarah and that it “served him right.” I can only imagine what that was about!!
Pam told me to go to my dad, the man who raised me, get down on my knees and kiss the ground that he walked on because Glenn was an asshole who I should not romanticize. With that the call ended. I had so many things to process. The Glenn that Pam told me about is nothing like the Glenn my mother remembered. (He was a Gemini!!) hahaha….
I had to chew on the bolus of every thing I thought my father was and I had to regurgitate it and chew it again until it was broken down completely and ready to be swallowed for good. That’s a gross thing, comparing this man to cud, I know. That’s how it has felt for 30 years. Every time I thought he was gone, I’d hack him back up. He was always just sitting there, in the pit of my stomach, undigested.
I sent Pam one more email. I told her that throughout my life my mother would ebb and flow but the one thing I never forgot was her scent. Every time I opened a bar of Dove soap I could inhale my mother and she felt close. I asked if she could please tell me what he smelled like and perhaps what kind of music that he liked. About two days passed and Pam replied. Glenn used Dial soap (funny because its what I have always preferred) and he wore Stetson cologne- a cowboy scent (I laughed my ass off at that one!) and that he loved Johnny Cash.
In the end this is where I stand; I will respect Glenn as my biological father and I thank him wholeheartedly for my quick wit, good looks and charm. (insert shit eating grin here) I will most likely smile every time my hip pops out of place and I will probably think of him every time I open a bar of Dial… however, I will not mourn him a second more. To my dad, the man who has always loved me, who has raised me from 18 months old, I give all the thanks to him for everything else; especially for teaching me about forgiveness.
Although Glenn was an asshole he was my asshole and I forgive him. What’s done is done and now its over.
btw- just looking at the day– today is day 180. Fitting indeed.