I met my father for the first time today

Written by Tess Toth

I met my father for the first time today... now, don't think this is one of those long lost "I've never met my fatheruntil now" situations. I've always known my father... or at least I thought I did. Let me explain...(don't worry, I'llkeep it brief).

I used to be "daddy's l'il girl", I worshiped my father. He used to do anything for me (he even risked his life for mewhen I was almost run over by a motorcycle at age 4, but that's a whole different story) and we had a strong bondbetween us. When I was little (in fact, I think a lot of us when we were little) thought that our parents were theultimate beings (I won't say God, because I know there are some unbelievers), they were capable of doing everything andthey could never let us down.

But as I got older, the relationship between my father and myself started to deteriorate. I started seeing him as human,and he didn't seem like an "ultimate being" like when I was little. I saw all his flaws, how he used to treat my mother,and as I began my teenage years, how he would treat me. He was heavy on the alcohol and light on the compassion. Asyears went by, I started to hate my father, what he had become (an alcoholic) and my mother and I decided to leave himwith his poison.

Now, to come to the present...

It's been 4 years since I've seen him (we left him on my 16th birthday) and I was fine without him. He was in his partof the universe and I was in mine. There was no need to come into contact with him again, I already had experienced toomuch heartache from the past, and I was damned if I was about to go through it again. I had finally gotten him out ofthat small dark part of my grey matter, and it was about time... until my mother got a phone call.

It was my father's friend Karl. Now, my mother and I knew Karl, and he didn't phone unless something was really wrong(that's the kind of guy he is). He left a message on my answering machine "pertaining to my father" and gave us hisnumber. My mother contacted him and when she finally hung up the phone, she said to me "Tess, it's your father. He's inthe hospital and he's not doing too well." I just stared blankly at her. Now, I'm not a cold person, it's not like Ididn't care, but my father has done "stunts" like this before, like phoning us and telling me he was going to commitsuicide if we didn't come back, but he never did, he just wanted us to feel guilty. So when my mother told me about myfather's condition, I was a little skeptical. But she had a serious look on her face, and I had a feeling that this wasnot one of his schemes to make us feel like shit. He really was sick.

So,when my mother told me we were both going to go to the hospital, I felt an anxiety attack coming on. I hadn't seenhim in 4 years!! What was I going to say? Would he still be the prick he used to be?? Oh... I just couldn't handle it,but I decided to go anyway, and try to be as calm as possible.

We got to the hospital and we entered his room. He was sound asleep. I stared at him...my gawd, what happened to him? Helooked so frail, his cheeks were sunken in and the smell of death was everywhere in that damn hospital. I had gotten hima card and a pair of slippers, but I just placed them near his bed and went outside the door. I couldn't handle seeinghim like that! It was too much for me. I thought that I had gotten him out of my mind for good, and now all my lostfeelings were coming back to haunt me. I just breathed in and out, trying to calm myself. Then I saw Karl coming downthe hall and he looked at me and smiled. I felt better knowing he was there, so I went back into the room with mymother. Karl woke him up and my father opened his eyes. He had the most bewildered look on his face when he saw us. Butafter the initial shock, he looked at us and smiled. Was this my father? No...it couldn't be,he was happy to seeus...happy?? After us leaving him? After all the bullshit our family went through?

It was a weird feeling...here was this person who looked like my father, but he was a complete stranger to me. This manwas smiling and talking like nothing had ever happened! That's when I started to feel guilty...all these years of notseeing him, pretending he didn't exist, but he never stopped loving me. We found out from the doctor that he might havehad a stroke, so we should prepare ourselves because he might not make any sense. Some things he said were just weird,but he remembered me. He was such a kind soul now, it was a shame that it took all these years to see him, especiallywhen he was sick. I forgot all the hatred I used to have for him, how he used to be. He was human, he wasn't perfect,but he was my father. And I finally found out that I still loved him. I had finally met my father for the first time.

Now I see him all the time. He only remembers the good things. We found out that he didn't have a stroke, it's permanentbrain damage from drinking all these years. But I'm glad that I'm finally part of his life again and he's part of mine.Even thought he only remembers me when I was little, it's something. And to finally have the father I've always wantedis what more than I could of asked for.