"My father passed away on Wednesday and I don't know how to feel about it."
"Penni, what did you say?"
"My father passed away and I don't know how to feel about it Mom."
So went the conversation on Friday. I found out that my father died two days prior and I was feeling very confused.
Should I mourn? Well, I did feel sad. I remember my father from when I was a kid, like 5 years old. I was afraid of him because he wasn't around much and even then, it took me a while to warm up to new people. Or maybe now it takes me a long time to warm up to new people BECAUSE of his overused in and out pass. I also felt sad because now I'll never get to know him. I'm even conflicted about the desire to get to know him.
If being available, contributing money to our sustenance and being a role model are characteristics of being a father, then he was not. In fact, I lossed him over 20 years ago. I mourned his absence every time I needed a trusted male's advice. I felt the loss when my friends retold stories of their fathers.
I had been cultivating this fantasy for many many years. I always imagined growing up, becoming this big shot corporate exec and being the key note speaker at some charity event. Then, just like Diana Ross did in the movie Mahogony, I would hear this man speak out from standing room only crowd. This Billy Dee Williams version of my father would yell out that he's proud of me and that he's sorry for leaving me and that he's my 'old man'. Then, he'd walk toward me in slow motion, I'd start crying and while my family looked on, we'd embrace and then all the years of being strong would ooze out of me as I collapsed in his arms.
But, that'll never happen now...and I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about it.