Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Man I Never Knew....

My friend KK over @ Midlife Gals also grew up without her Dad, so be sure to go over & give her a read as well. I'll do my other post this afternoon when we get home.

I'm posting about my own father today because I plan to do a piece on Mr. Snooty, the father of my children, on Father's Day.


Reba MacEntire popularized a song titled The Greatest Man I Never Knew and I don't think I had ever been able to put into words how I felt until I heard that song. It wasn't the entire song, but the very last verse. Hearing that, I felt as if I'd finally found my own voice; nailed my feelings that I'd pushed out of my mind for seemingly forever. Only someone else had written it.

Reba McEntire - The Greatest Man I Never Knew Last Verse:
The greatest words I never heard
I guess I'll never hear
The man I thought could never die
S'been dead almost a year
He was good at business
But there was business left to do
He never said he loved me
Guess he thought I knew

I think I finally realized that my father had never once told me he loved me. I still don't understand why. He died the same year Reba's album with this song came out. I had not seen him or spoken with him since I was 19 years old.


It wasn't so much that I missed not ever being able to get to know my father. It was more that I was always within his reach geographically, and he simply chose not to know me. Even when I was a little girl spending Summers with his parents, my grandparents, he would drop by (usually to drop off or pick up his cleaning, since Mimi & Papa did it for him for free) maybe 2 or 3 times all Summer. He was always too busy to stay or to take me with him.



As my brother (The Prince) got older, Daddy would take him with him for a day or more. It always made me cry but Daddy always said he'd take me with him when I was older & better behaved. I never did mind anyone very well and The Prince did, so he was always The Golden Child, The Favored One. I suppose that would make me The Bad Seed, but I wasn't, really. I was just... precocious... and always getting into trouble for one thing or another. He only took me with him once.

That one time he took me with him, we went out to eat Japanese food and he taught me how to eat with chopsticks. That was the only thing I ever learned from my father. Well, I also inadvertently learned he was the kind of man I would never want to marry. Yes, it was sad. It still is. He was very handsome and he was very self-centered. Everyone loved the man because he had so much charisma, but he lacked in so many other ways. He never knew how to really be a father, yet he fathered many children, most of whom I've never met. I could have used a father growing up. I missed a lot by not having one.

For many years I didn't realize what I was missing. Then, as I got older, I saw how wonderful my friends' fathers were and the relationships they had with them. It always made me long for a father of my own, which would never come to be.


The closest thing I ever had to a father was my father-in-law, whom I worshiped with all my heart. The night before he died, we had all gathered around his hospital bed to say our farewells. When it was finally my turn, I leaned close and told him he had been the closest thing I'd ever had to a father and that I loved him as if he had been my own father. He squeezed my hand, said he knew, and that he loved me too. The next morning he was gone forever, but lives on in my heart.


Time went on and as The Prince & I became teenagers, The Prince eventually went to live with Daddy, leaving me alone with The Brown Recluse. TBR & I moved to Aspen & TP got to travel back & forth, spending half his junior year and his senior year of HS in Aspen. I believe that Daddy was on his 4th wife by that time & she had spawned another offspring so she didn't want either one of us around.


After college, my brother went back to OKC to live and remained close with my father until his death. When The Prince eventually moved to Colorado and married, my father went to Boulder to live with him & his family.


The summer my brother called to tell me that my father had passed away, Mr. Snooty & I were at our lake house in the Texas Hill Country with the kids. I recall being saddened by the news, but didn't cry. He said that Daddy had already been creamated and that he going to spread his ashes over The Great Divide, as he'd requested. So, apparently calling me was an afterthought since he'd already been gone for several days. Before ending my conversation with The Prince, I asked him if he would please send me just a matchbox of Daddy's ashes, so that I could have him with me for the first time in my life. He agreed to do so and we said goodbye. I never received anything of my Dad's from my brother. Some prince.

It was several weeks later before I was hit with tears and depression over the loss of my father. The Man I Never Knew. He had never said he loved me. I guess he thought I knew. I suppose that if he had known how important Daddy's were to daughters, perhaps he might have made more of an attempt to be one.

12 comments:

Pam said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My dad was no saint, but there wasn't a day of his life that I was a part of that I didn't know he loved me, even when he was deep in his alcoholic days. What a tragedy for your dad not to have known what a treasure of a daughter he had. I still miss my dad after almost 20 years of his passing...how true your last statement. And, how blessed you were with a father-in-law who could stand in the gap for you.

Treasia said...

Snooty I don't really know what to say except for giving you a hug. (((((((hugs))))))).

Maybe your father was in your life to share with you what a father shouldn't be so that when you met Mr. Snooty you knew what you were looking for.

Snooty Primadona said...

Pam & Treasia: Thanks so much. I think He did put me in this life for a purpose. All I really ever wanted was to not raise children like my parents did. So, with that I am a success. The bad parenting will not be carried on with me, on my end of the family anyway.

noble pig said...

Okay you've got me all teared up! It's an amazing story even though it's not happy.

All of these stories, this is why you are the wonderful woman you are. He never knew what he missed.

QueenofPlanetHotflash said...

{{{{{ Big Hugs }}}}}} My Dad lived with us and it wasn't so great. He provided and that was about it. I have said I Love You thousands of times, zero from him. Empty Heart and soul.

P said...

Snooty, we have a lot in common you and I. My dad is still married to my mom and has been for 50 yrs. Although, he has never told me he loves me or ...I can't remember me ever growing up and getting a kind word out of him. He comes and visits often with my mom, and he picks my kids up and takes them for extended visits. My kids think he's the greatest thing that has ever lived. He plays with them and talks to them and takes them fishing. I have no idea why my dad and I don't have a relationship. It's just complicated. Anyway, I know the day will come when I will mourn my dad and live forever in complete confusion about why things were the way they were.

Flea said...

Oh Snooty. You touch a cord. I last saw my dad in 1991, when I got engaged. He died during Hurricane Katrina, in 2005. I didn't shed a tear. But I got my mom back because of it all. There are always things to be grateful for, yes? You had a fantastic FIL. Never will make up for the loss of dad though. I'm so sorry.

Daryl said...

Oh Snooty, if my dad were alive he would want to make things right for you he totally understood how important a dad is to his daughter ... I am so glad you had your FIL to be a surrogate dad ...


:-Daryl

Mamahut said...

Hi Snooty, I read your post last night but didn't comment because I was exhausted. I woke up this morning thinking about you. How did you turn out so fine without either parent? Was it the girls from school? I learned a few of the big things from my dad, but the main person in my life was and still is my aunt. You remind me of her. I think that is why I have attached myself to your blog like one of those sucker fish. However you did it, I am in awe of you. Hope your reunion was great.

your daughter said...

Great post madre :)

brneyedgal967 said...

The more you share about your family... good Lord, woman, I am appalled and amazed that you turned out so good despite their best efforts otherwise!

No wonder you dole it out in small doses. Shit.

I mean, shit.

I'd take ONE of you over TEN of them as friends anyday.

gaining some lb's said...

dammit woman.....now i am crying

#2

 

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