Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blood is thicker than water?

Off topic. Family issues.... although I guess it is still kind of on topic, because the stress inherent with dealing with family doesn't really help the mental issue front, now does it?

A friend gave me a little sign I had hanging by my front door for a while. "Friends Welcome. Family by appointment only". I thought it was funny, my grandmother did not. I took it down. But cliched or not, the truth is friends you choose, family, well, you just cope with what's been handed to you. Some of 'em I love to death, others, well, they just seem to be a part of this giant cosmic joke that God is playing on me.

My parents divorced shortly after I was born. (I know, great for the esteem, huh? My arrival precipitated the demise of our family unit) But the truth is the cracks had been there for a long time. My biological father had a variety of mental (?) or personality (?) issues. Its hard to know which really. He was unreliable, a pathalogical liar and seemed to thrive on drama. Example: Instead of coming home and admitting to my mother he had lost his job, he kept up the pretense for months that he had a brain tumor, and that's why he had to But anyways, by the time I came along, my mother had had enough, and it was adios to him. Apparently they tried visitation for a while, but he was unreliable, didn't show up for the visits half the time.. leaving my 3 year old sister waiting on the steps for daddy to come. His precense was so irratic that I didn't know him when he did show up, and as babies do, screamed when being handed over to this stranger.

By the time I was two or so, my grandparents (with our best interests at heart, I guess) made him the offer that if he discontinued visitation that nobody would chase him for child support. And so, he dissapeared.

After a while my mother remarried the stepfather, and thus commenced a pretty horrible 11 years of abuse. (But that's another story)

I didn't see him again until I was 12, when my older sister sought him out, wanting to know her 'real' father. We saw him a few times, and then he dissapeared overseas for a few years.

Fastfoward a few more years, and my older sister sought him out once again. I guess it had something to do with having her first child. He was back in Australia by this point. The two or three times that I saw him, I was unimpressed with his dishonesty, flakiness and inability to follow through on anything. At this stage I had enough to deal with in my life, and didnt see the need to add more complications.

Ive seen him a couple more times since then, and nothing much has changed. My sister continues to have a semblance of a relationship with him. I guess being older, she had more time to form a bond, before he upped sticks, and it seems more important to her. For me, he is nothing more than someone I share DNA with, he has never made the effort to be in my life in any meaningful way, and yes, I guess I do resent, that he 'failed' to be around and protect me from the stuff that I went through in my childhood, even though, to be fair, he didn't know. But then, he never really made much effort to find out.

Now, my sister tells me he is in hospital. He has had a small stroke. She wants us to visit him. And I'm stuck wondering whether I should. It won't do me any harm (apart from the fact that I could do without the stress at the moment) but really, is it right to look for a bond, with someone who has never been there for me, physically, emotionally or financially? Does DNA matter that much?

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