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This really isn't Flame Wars material, but I just don't want it sitting in World's End, so here you go.

The short of it is this. My biological father has reached out to me after 25 years of nothing. I haven't seen him since I was 5 or 6, last I heard from him was a bday card when I was 12. Then I got a card last summer, another for my bday, another for xmas and now apparently a just because card.

He says he's been looking for me ever since he got out of prison. Says not a day goes by that he doesn't think about me. Says he would like to renew our relationship.

I haven't written him back yet.

The emotions ebb and flow. I get mad, frustrated, ambivalent. Every one of my dear friends I confided in with the early letters said to give myself time, sort things out. I did, and then the importance and immediacy and emotion of it just subsided. And I didn't write. Since getting his letters I've almost died, spent 3 days in the hospital, and wondered what would have happened if I had died before writing him back.

And still I haven't written.

And now I get the latest letter, complete with scans of old pictures of me, of us.

I've got dear friends, Jon and Ken, that are my brothers. They aren't like brothers, they are brothers. I met one in high school and the other in college. I've got a step dad that has been in my life for 25 years, and he's not my step dad, he's my dad, my Pops, and we are so alike in so many ways as you'd never know I don't share his genes.

I don't have a void to fill, no nostalgia to look back on and cling to, nothing. Nothing, other than this guy gave birth to me 38 years ago. At the same time, I don't really feel any animosity either. I used to. I used to get so mad, mad at what he did to my mom. She certainly has more animosity towards him, and is very very skeptical about this recent contact.

Me? I don't know. My first inclination was to just keep away, keep everything at arm's length, don't tell him anything about my life, my family. Not to trust him. And certainly M doesn't need to know about him. Grandpa B is all she's known and needs to know.

More than that, though, I just don't need him. As I said, I have had a great life without him, I have a complete family, there are no voids to fill, no memories to cherish (that's a lie, but they're bitter sweet and aren't strong enough for me to act on today).

At the same time I have compassion for him and I can forgive him for his past, and feel like maybe I do have some role in helping him in this particular time in his life. Is simply hearing from me enough? Could he be content with one letter back, but no renewed relationship? Would it do more harm if I were to say hi but no thanks? I know my mom doesn't want me to do anything, but it's not about her (or is it?). It's complicated, I know that. It's why I haven't written in 9 months.

So I'm not sure why I'm writing this out in public, other than I'm curious what you all think about family, about blood, about relationships. If you've experienced something similar, how did you deal with it?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Posts: 22785 | Location: here | Registered: June 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Weirdy American Tart Thing
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quote:
Originally posted by JP:


More than that, though, I just don't need him. As I said, I have had a great life without him, I have a complete family, there are no voids to fill, no memories to cherish (that's a lie, but they're bitter sweet and aren't strong enough for me to act on today).

At the same time I have compassion for him and I can forgive him for his past, and feel like maybe I do have some role in helping him in this particular time in his life. Is simply hearing from me enough? Could he be content with one letter back, but no renewed relationship? Would it do more harm if I were to say hi but no thanks? I know my mom doesn't want me to do anything, but it's not about her (or is it?). It's complicated, I know that. It's why I haven't written in 9 months.





I think if you do write back to him, you should say that. I think it concisely covers your feelings. He doesn't ave any right to invade your life if you don't want him to.

I have biological relations who have cut me off for whatever reasons. For all of them I tried to keep it going out of some notion of family. I watched my grandmother break down in tears because she knew she was sick and came to realisation that she didn't like her own son and didn't want to leave him anything, but felt she had to out of family duty. I told her she didn't have to do a damn thing that she didn't want to do and if she wanted to give her money to a perfect stranger that'd be her decision.

I have lost track of even the relatives that I was close to, ever since my mother died. I just can't be bothered to try and schedule things, although I tried for a while. But I've made new friends and I think of you all as family I chose.

*hugs*



Minister of Kraftwerk in the Realm of U & P, Order of the Pineapple with frond for advancement in Nap studies.


The brain: not always amenable to logic. ~Hive

 
Posts: 25366 | Location: under tangled yarn | Registered: August 09, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Goofy Beast
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Wow... Emotionally this must be confusing. Apart from anything else, I don't think you owe him anything. I've never felt any connection to this whole concept of 'blood ties' myself - to my mind, family is based primarily on shared history, not on genes, and I am much closer to my chosen family of close friends than to the people whose genes I happen to share.

I could imagine that hearing from you will already be something for your dad, but at the same time he may have strong, overwhelming needs that you can't meet nor should you be expected to meet them. That's the thing I'd be afraid of, but I guess all you can do is either tell him the things you wrote in your post (in some form or other) or not tell him anything, which he might understand as "I'm sorry, but I don't want you to be part of my life at this point." I don't envy you being in this situation and having to choose between these options... There may be others that I don't see, though.

P.S.: Your post made me think of Chris Ware's comic Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. Good, though depressing book, but it might be too close for comfort. You're no Jimmy Corrigan, though, I can tell you that. :-)


__________
We scraped along like rats, but now we will soar like eagles... eagles on pogo sticks!
 
Posts: 10887 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: September 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, you already know most of my feelings on the matter, and you also know they are not compassionate.

I'll tell you first, just to be fair, that when you told me the man had written i was livid. That too has since subsided, but my opinion hasn't changed.

Leave well enough alone. Whatever reasons he might have for contacting you out of the blue: whether he needs money, whether he himself has a void to fill, whatever his motivation, there's in all our lives only so much time and energy to help or try to help perfect strangers. Now if you were single with an undemanding job, you might consider helping him out of compassion: and even then i would be highly sceptical.

As it is, you're busy. You have a family to care for and protect, you have a life to live, a job to do. I see no reason, none at all, for you to show any such compassion towards him. If you decide to write, make it succinct and make sure he gets that you do not want him in your life, but you want him to know he's forgiven. And good bye.

In abstracto there's a lot to be said about being compassionate. Blood has nothing to do with it, i just believe that in general it's good for the soul.
In this case it's noble of you, and speaks volumes about your character that you can summon this compassion. My advice was, and still is, to not act on it. If you need the closure, tell him you forgive him but would appreciate if he stays out of your life, and to have a good one.

Also *hugs*.


-------------------
Blog: Room with a view.

~You are a *Taverner*.
Sometimes patrons want to go where everybody knows their names, though it helps when half of them are named John. When people want to celebrate, or commiserate, they gather to your establishment. You provide the atmosphere, the warmth, rum, and even an ear to bend. Did I mention the rum? Years before the language will be mangled with terms like facilitator and networking and interpersonal communication, you've overseen it all, and broken up a few bar fights, to boot.~
-Royko

 
Posts: 8667 | Location: Just north of Earth | Registered: July 02, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freelance metaphor inspector
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quote:
P.S.: Your post made me think of Chris Ware's comic Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. Good, though depressing book, but it might be too close for comfort. You're no Jimmy Corrigan, though, I can tell you that. :-)

Heh, I had to look it up Smile and the parallels are eerie, though hopefully, as you say, I'm no Jimmy Corrigan. I might have to get this book, though. I've seen it on the shelves, and it seems highly acclaimed.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

my tumblr
 
Posts: 22785 | Location: here | Registered: June 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
lives deliberately
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At the same time I have compassion for him and I can forgive him for his past, and feel like maybe I do have some role in helping him in this particular time in his life. Is simply hearing from me enough? Could he be content with one letter back, but no renewed relationship? Would it do more harm if I were to say hi but no thanks? I know my mom doesn't want me to do anything, but it's not about her (or is it?). It's complicated, I know that. It's why I haven't written in 9 months.



Well, hi there, brother-in-dead-beat-dads. *hugs* I'm not in this scenario yet, but I've played out in my mind thousands of times what I would do if my father ever tried to contact me, and to be honest, I still don't have an answer. But I do know this: you have to do what will be best for yourself and your family (Rae and M) and not worry about this man's happiness or approval (or for that matter, your mom's). His happiness or sense of closure or whatever he is seeking by reaching out to you is not your responsibility. Whether or not you feel your life would be enhanced by sharing your life with him is your call to make, but in my own situation, I don't see how my life or the life of my husband or child would be better for having my father reappear. ETA: Punkyfins mentioned compassion; I believe that there is definitely room for compassion in this situation, but not self-sacrifice. The best help you can give him is to give him the answers he needs. No more than that.

If you do decide that you don't want a relationship with this man, I don't think that it will cause any harm to write a letter telling him that while you admire his courage in reaching out to you (because that does take cajones and should be acknowledged), you don't feel it would be in your best interest or the best interest of your family to pursue a relationship. If you change your mind later, you know his mailing address and can always contact him. If anything, it will cause troubling communications from him to cease.

Here's the thing: you now know that your father is alive, that he's apparently going through some kind of self-discovery and retrospection, and most importantly, that you *mattered* to him. I know that until I contact my father or my father contacts me, those question marks will always create a void.

Also, Jeep, I don't know if you've done this yet, but I really recommend having a few therapy sessions to get your thoughts organized and to help sort out the many emotions that this might have unearthed.


ego forceps ergo ego forceps


****
"Chives?"�
"Yes, m'lud?"�
"Is that Ms Ephemera hovering over the croquet lawn?"�
"Indeed m'lud. She's marshalled all the haggle-dans. Missy-twigs and vale-nymphs from Claypole Woods. Apparently she intends to tear this house down and dance on the ruins."�
"Well, Chives, you'd better start the car, what? And pack my tennis things too"�
--- Joe 3Heads
 
Posts: 11426 | Location: In a perpetual state of Ohio | Registered: December 02, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Also, Jeep, I don't know if you've done this yet, but I really recommend having a few therapy sessions to get your thoughts organized and to help sort out the many emotions that this might have unearthed.

Alaura, my dear, I'll read and re-read your post, but my quick response is, I don't know the first thing about this or how to even start.

I know it's not the same, but I suppose that's why I've posted here, and talked with a few of you in the past. But no, it's probably not the same.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Posts: 22785 | Location: here | Registered: June 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
lives deliberately
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When I first moved in with TLOML I had problems with anxiety. I was just plain conflicted about where my life was headed and the relationships, or lack thereof, I had with my family and my friends. I was at a crossroads. I certainly posted on the board through this period in my life, and receieved support and advice from the beloved boardies, including you, Jeep. But you're right, the board isn't therapy (although it can be therapeutic). There's history on the board. There are friendships. I have to share the space with others. The Board isn't all about me, it's about each other.

I ultimately needed to talk with someone who could give me their undivided attention had absolutely no previous connection to me to act as a sounding board and as a guide.

So I looked up some therapists, read about the kind of approaches they take, and chose one based on her office location and background.
She helped me sort things out, and one of the things we focused on was my unresolved feelings about my father. I found myself saying things out loud about this man--to this man---that I didn't even know were in my heart. I found myself forgiving *myself*, and I never even realized I was holding myself responsible for his leaving. These are things I discovered during therapy sessions---you may discover something totally different.


As for going about getting a therapist, here's an article about it: How to find a therapist

You aren't necessarily having a mental health crisis, but with what you have been through this year, you can certainly use some help. *hugs*


ego forceps ergo ego forceps


****
"Chives?"�
"Yes, m'lud?"�
"Is that Ms Ephemera hovering over the croquet lawn?"�
"Indeed m'lud. She's marshalled all the haggle-dans. Missy-twigs and vale-nymphs from Claypole Woods. Apparently she intends to tear this house down and dance on the ruins."�
"Well, Chives, you'd better start the car, what? And pack my tennis things too"�
--- Joe 3Heads
 
Posts: 11426 | Location: In a perpetual state of Ohio | Registered: December 02, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
is huge in Japan
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JP, can I call you this weekend? I've been exactly where you are now, might help to hear what I experienced?


.
 
Posts: 6962 | Location: Flo-Rida | Registered: December 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freelance metaphor inspector
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Originally posted by Crow Girl:
JP, can I call you this weekend? I've been exactly where you are now, might help to hear what I experienced?
Can I take a rain check? This weekend being Father's Day weekend and all, I'm gonna be busy.

Heh, Father's Day, I hadn't figured out the timing of his letter until just now. It seemed so random until just now.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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is huge in Japan
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Anytime, kiddo Smile

[and I fail at remembering Father's/Mother's day, thanks for the reminder!]


.
 
Posts: 6962 | Location: Flo-Rida | Registered: December 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
is imperfectly illuminated
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I think I'd write a letter you're never gonna send to find out if there's a letter you do want to send somewhere in there.

Just let yourself go with it. If it takes a left turn, that's cool. You can always throw it away. Somewhere in there you might want some kind of thing, maybe not. But I'd let it splurge out in a way that doesn't need to touch him, or your real dad (the one who brought you up) or your mum.

But good luck, mate.


---------------
*is currently impressed*
 
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the Wicked Little Critta
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Originally posted by Murphy:
I think I'd write a letter you're never gonna send to find out if there's a letter you do want to send somewhere in there.

Just let yourself go with it. If it takes a left turn, that's cool. You can always throw it away. Somewhere in there you might want some kind of thing, maybe not. But I'd let it splurge out in a way that doesn't need to touch him, or your real dad (the one who brought you up) or your mum.

But good luck, mate.


I keep forgetting this isn't Facebook and there's no "like" button here, because I really want to hit that "like" button. Good words.


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Posts: 6928 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: November 15, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
*Special Achievement Award Winner 2010* shines on like the stars
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I saw your post this morning right after you posted it. I wanted to think a bit before replying. Dang it all if the really good advice has already been stated.


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Just want to say thanks for all the replies. I really questioned posting this here, but I'm glad I did. Thanks for being my friend, all of you.

So, I have a friend who's a family therapist, asked her for some recommendations. She gave me the name of a couple of guys to talk to. I'm really really uncertain about this, still trying to figure out if it's really something I need, and trying to figure out how to tell Rae I'm thinking about it. This is some seriously foreign territory for me.

I might not even do it. I can write one letter.

We'll see.

ETA: Funny thing is, I've written pieces of this thing scores of times in my head. It's helped me sort some things, but hasn't gotten a letter written Smile


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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If you're not comfortable with the idea of therapy then don't do it - if you want to just have someone and not dump on family and friends then you can specify that that is what you want to do - not have them do an emotional investigation of you. Sometimes dwelling on emotions or digging them up from the past can do more harm than good.

I found when I went that however much I wanted it to be a neutral stranger, I was far too aware that they were a human person not a robot, and didn't want to tell this random stranger anything when it came down to it!



____________________________________________________
I'm thinking that a lot of my internal conflict and malaise comes from the tension between the life I ACTUALLY want to live, and the stories I'd love to be able to tell? - T-Rex, qwantz.com
 
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needs a blanket very badly. The better to "yahr" you.
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I wish I had any advice. I had a very different experience, I have regrets and a void that cannot be filled, even though I always (well, for the past 20 years anyway) knew where to locate my biological father. I never did seek him out, and I did put up as much opposition I could to him trying to play a role in my life, and at the moment I can only regret my being so stubborn and his being so incompetent. I guess that's why I spent the last six months working on drafts of what I want to say to him, but the words get harder and harder to put together and I know it's because I'm forcing myself to pin words on feelings I've avoided acknowledging all my life. Apparently even knowing that you do want to lower the borders and talk to a biological father doesn't make it any easier!

As I said, a very different situation, and I really don't know if you should write to him or not, and cannot help you on that matter. One thing I can confirm though, it's really not about your mother. This situation has nothing to do with what went on between them, this is about you and how you feel.

That and I just wanted to virtually hug you as hard as I can.


"If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books." Roald Dahl
"I still love the book-ness of books, the smell of books: I am a book fetishist - books to me are the coolest and sexiest and most wonderful things there are." Neil Gaiman
"Even so, there is no excuse for putting pineapple on pizza." Terry Pratchett

Have you fed your adorable, lovable and huggable lost girl lately?
"Continued exposure to the Lost Girl's avatar causes people to forget how to count and to repeat things." Joe_3Heads

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Posts: 9940 | Location: under a big red blanket, somewhere in milano, italy, europe, earth | Registered: September 12, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Doughmaster
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Oh, Jeeps. First and foremost, *hugs* and love from me. If you want someone to talk this out with, my phone is always on.

I don't have any advice or insight to offer that's any more sage than what's already been said here. My situation is very different (to be perfectly honest, I don't know that you even really know about all the crap with my biological dad) so I just don't feel qualified to give you advice without feeling like my issues will somehow subconsciously break in to the conversation.

But I can and will offer support and more *hugs*

Love you, JP.


~ Non-Mod-Amy, aka Amy of the Lost Ark

You are a Bookholder. To prompt, or...LINE! (not to prompt) --not to prompt. That is the question. Whether t'is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of a bad memory, or to take arms against a sea of textual deviations, and...LINE! (by opposing) --by opposing them...LINE! (end) --end...LINE! (them) --end them...LINE! (to prompt, to correct; no more; and by a correction to say we end the heart-ache of a really terrible performance) You didn't have to give me the whole thing! I know it!
 
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Do what brings you joy out of this. I don't think there's any more specific direction I can give you that isn't already somewhere in the pieces of this thread.


__________
AJGraeme
"Why are there ghosts in the kitchen punching each other in the balls?" - Aidan, "Being Human"
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
- G.K. Chesterton

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the Wicked Little Critta
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The only thing I could say out of this is, life's too short. If you feel even a hint that you might be missing an opportunity here, at least even for your own healing, go for it. Don't leave any cards on the table or live with a possible regret of something left undone.


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