Be careful what you wish for!!!

26th May 2011

I watched a heart-wrenching programme on TV last month which Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell presented on ITV about families who had been estranged for many years. I think the programme was called “Long Lost Families” - watching it made my emotions swing from happiness to grief, to envy and back to anger.

I was very moved by one woman’s story of how she had searched for her father for more than 20 years. He was eventually found living in Canada and when Nicky interviewed him and explained about a daughter he didn’t know even existed, his reaction was one I had always hoped my own biological father would have had. I was so happy for this woman when she met her father and was so thrilled he accepted her. Thank goodness programmes like this are being made so that we can learn about emotional situations and real life stories like this and see a happy ending.

In my own life, I spent many years searching for my biological father and his existence was what carried me through the darkest days any child could ever live through. I literally prayed he would come and find me, take me away from the life I was living and remove me from the pain and beatings my childhood gave me. I was told I resembled him. I looked in the eyes of strangers for years, looking to find him. I fantasized about being reunited with him. I had it all pictured … it was wonderful in my internal imaging.

Yet in reality, the pedestal I placed him on was too high and my longing and yearning to be loved and cherished as his daughter was to be taken away from me in one foul swoop.

We were reunited after 40 years and although at first I was indeed welcomed into his home, I soon realized I was the one doing all the
telephoning and visiting. You see, his third wife saw me as a threat to her children’s inheritance and appeared to take much pleasure in actually telling me this. I was so hurt with this rejection – (could I just once experience the reality of my imagined wonderful life?) – and at the time I was
inconsolable with grief and pain and it took a while to understand and come to terms with the reality of this situation. I’d had a part to play in this
not working out of course, as I had simply put too much faith, hope and trust onto a man I simply did not know and who did not know me.

Eventually I found out he was the parent who had abandoned me as a baby under the age of one when my mother was forced to give us up because of serious neglect.

My father was simply unable to love me in the way I wanted him too and his wife told me I was too old (41) to expect my father to love me?! Yet in my heart and soul I was his little girl and needed his unconditional love yet his wife saw fit to make her own children, who were of a similar age to me, welcome into their home in such a better way than afforded to me.

The straw that broke this camels back and the deciding factor in this relationship with the wool removed from over my eyes, was his 70th birthday. An invite I received gave me HOPE that he wanted the same as I did after all these years. I accepted the invitation but was then promptly told to book myself into a B&B and that all their bedrooms were taken up by his wife’s children.

The birthday evening went well and my father introduced me to his friends and extended family. At the end of the evening I could see Mike, my husband, was getting agitated. We decided to make a move and leave the celebrations and we were offered a lift to our hotel by his step daughter and her husband. I politely refused explaining we would happily make our own way. I assumed they would have to return to the house you see, I mean, I assumed THEY were staying with my father and that this was the reason Mike and I could not stay – no room? But this wasn’t the case. They were not staying at his house.

I was hurt beyond words about this. My father had room to accommodate Mike and I and welcome us into his home properly – the penny dropped – he just didn’t want us there. As we drove away in a cab, I knew in my heavy heart we would not be welcome to return and I have never heard from him since.

My attitude has changed towards him and I have him now in perspective. I had done a brilliant job with my overactive imagination for years! Now I was in the reality and as much as it pained me, the reality check was actually a good thing.

So, the moral of this story is, be careful what you wish for.

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