I have been trying to type this blog for well over two months now but just haven’t been able put my thoughts into words.
February 17, 1994, was the day that changed my life forever. I may have only been six years old, but I can still remember the exact spot that I was sitting when my mother received a phone call from my great grandpa. The look and paleness that came over her face when she received the news is something I will never forget. She had to tell her six year old son that his father was gone forever.
This is actually the first time that I have ever publicly spoke about this. It is something that has effected almost every aspect of my life without me ever realizing it until I got older. Those effects all played a part in how I react to situations and who I am today, with the good and with the bad.
Up until around four years ago I was always very angry, not always on the outside where friends and family could see it, but it was always there.
A lot of that anger was built on resentment and betrayal which I constantly carried with me. I woke up everyday with yesterday’s weight still on my shoulders. It would just continue to build until I would eventually explode or take it out, in some way, on someone else. Let’s compare it to starting every day with a 50 pound backpack on then someone putting 20 more pounds in it. “It’s only 20 pounds. It’s not that heavy,” they say. But they don’t know that you were now carrying 70 pounds.
First, I will clarify what I mean by betrayal. I felt betrayed by God. I was raised in a home where we went to church every Sunday and where my grandfather was a preacher. I was taught that God is the almighty and that he will take care of us, but I felt that he didn’t take care of me. When a six year old boy needed his father, he took him away. Even to this day, even though this feeling is not even half as strong as it was 15 years ago, it is still something that I struggle with. I will probably struggle with it for most of my life. The second type of betrayal that I felt was with people. The person that I needed, a man that I always wanted to look up to, wasn’t there. Even though this wasn’t his fault, it was a very hard thing to understand as a child. It always felt like he just left me. Almost like he had the choice. As a child, it felt like he was supposed to be there but decided not to be. This feeling made it very hard to trust people, even family. I always kept my distance, which is still something that I still have trouble with. Luckily it has also gotten significantly better over the years as I have matured.
The other part was resentment and let me tell you, this part was a major part of my childhood. I resented A LOT of people and for no fault of their own. It’s sad to think about now but I resented a lot of my friends and/or classmates, not all of them, just the ones that had a both parents. My classmates didn’t deserve it and probably never knew. I still remember ball games when both of their parents would show up and always getting a little angry.
The second part of my resentment was the worst part. What made it so bad is that I resented my family. I resented my mom, step-dad, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, it really didn’t matter. I just resented them for having what I didn’t have, a real father around. I have three younger brothers, all three of them have the same dad, my step-dad. I can still remember sitting in the back of our van, driving home from a Father’s Day dinner with my three brothers, step-dad, and mom. I was thinking, “why me? Why am I the only one that doesn’t have this?” In reality, this is a thought that I actually had a lot when thinking about my family. It is really the biggest reason that I am not as close to my brothers as they are each other. I was always too busy wondering why me, hating them for it, and secluding myself rather than just being grateful for the brothers that I did have. Oh, and let’s talk about the resentment that I had for my step-dad. A little back story first, my parents got divorced when I was very very young. My mom and step-dad had been married for 3 or 4 years at the time of my father’s death so he had been around for quite some time. Even though that was the case, the most resentment I held towards anyone was him. I resented him for every little thing he did for the sole reason that “he wasn’t my real dad.” He took me in and treated me as his own from the first time he was ever around me but that never mattered to me. I always just saw him with his perfect family and me without mine.
I have made some major strides over the last few years with letting a lot of the betrayal and resentment feelings go but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t still struggle at times. I have slowly been able to shed some of that betrayal feeling from God and because of it, I have really started letting people become close to me. Hell I’m even engaged now. I have gotten rid of the resentment of my family and have really started trying to become one of them instead of always making myself feel like I was alone. This year I even made the biggest step of all. I took my step-dad and mother to their first Kansas Basketball game; which happened to be on February 17th. I wanted to celebrate my father’s life for the first time and I wanted my real family to be there with me.
Last, but certainly not least, this blog wasn’t written in order to make anyone feel sympathy for me or my life. I wanted to write this blog for people out there that are just like me. For people that went, or are going through, some of these same emotions and feelings in order to let you know that you aren’t alone. These are all feelings that I will have to deal with and struggle with for the rest of my life but I have figured out that the best way to get through some of the worst times is to find someone to talk to about it. Don’t let these feelings get you down or tear you away from the people that love you most. If you don’t have someone to talk to or don’t feel like you can talk to someone that would understand then please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.