The Forbidden Questions

I’m still trying to finish this in time for my niece’s (my father’s granddaughter’s) birthday on November 7th. We lost our Internet for a couple of days; maybe it was sympathy pains for all of my East Coast friends who have lost so much during this wicked storm. I keep my promises—thanks again for your words/comments of love and encouragement that have truly made a difference in my life. Yes, I do know it’s a sad story, and not just for me, but I am a firm believer that something good and positive can come out of even the most painful of experiences.

My husband shared a conversation with me that he had at one time with my father. Long before our falling out, my father had told my husband that whenever he wanted to talk with me about how much he was leaving me as inheritance, I would just get teary-eyed and say, “Oh, daddy, I don’t want you to ever die,” and just walked off as if he was kidding. This is true; money has never meant diddily-squat to me. Oh, yes, it’s nice to have enough to pay the bills and live comfortably. But perhaps I felt this way because my parents had so much money and were always flaunting a wealth of material possessions that didn’t fill a void in my heart or make us a happy family. Ever since I gave my special big rag-doll away as a young girl to my friend’s sister after her tonsillectomy, I’ve been more than generous. My husband says I would give the shirt off his back if I could.

For those who have known me for years, believe my back story plays out a little different than I am willing to admit. For a long time, I was ashamed to let anyone even see some of the glass houses where I was raised. There were many contradictions in my life. If we were rich, why did I have very little to show for when I left home—if I was supposed to be a pampered princess? And it was not because I gave it all away. Sure I had some nice “things,” but many times I felt like my adopted brother and I were more our parent’s charity than the real deal.

Back when my parents were still both alive, the psychologist that I was seeing at the time, and one of my counseling friends, helped me with composing two difficult letters to my father. I didn’t have a hard time writing the letters, but it was giving myself permission to talk freely about those “forbidden” feelings that was the problem. I basically put together what was on my heart and my two counseling friends gave me their feedback. Both warned me not to expect a favorable response based not on the letters, but on our past history.

Never would I have expected my father to write me back such a cold, vindictive letter. It would have hurt less if he had taken a gun and just shot me. He noted in his reply that I must not really want answers to my questions because I didn’t have any question marks. “I suppose we could get a mediator and sort out these issues,” he wrote.

At that point, I knew they had no plans to ever tell me the truth. And why would we need a mediator, if the answers to my many questions that deserved respect and honesty weren’t going to make me very upset?

The last words my father ever said to me were that he thought his inheritance would be more important than the truth. I just said, “You must have not known me very well,” and walked away forever.

I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that my parents’ went to their graves without giving me the answers. But although their downright orneriness has felt cruel and painful, I was able to start piecing together some of the answers to the questions from my two letters.

Author: JoAnne

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3 Comments

  1. I was wondering what had happened to you. So ready for the next chapter and it is very good.

  2. It sounds as if your parents raised you with THEIR currency — that providing for your material needs was what made a good parent.

    But YOUR currency is something that sounds foreign to them. Honesty, truth, authenticity, eye-to-eye conversations in which words and emotions can be exchanged without fear of shutting down.

    I’m betting you mesh much better with your children than your parents did with you.

    <3

  3. This one choked me up~

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