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Goodbye Father

Goodbye Father

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Published by Phil Inman-Jones
Saying goodbye to my step dad. Painful and poignant . We all must say good bye .
Saying goodbye to my step dad. Painful and poignant . We all must say good bye .

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Published by: Phil Inman-Jones on Mar 02, 2013
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03/02/2013

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'Good bye Father'I got the phone call no one wishes to receive early that evening. It was the end of  January and I didn't see this one coming. Much like all the deaths Ihad encountered thus far. They never announce themselves loudly like a herald. No- Death sneaks up on us. Those who are doing thedying and the unfortunate ones left behind. Staggering, stumblingblindly in it's wake. Like a drunken sailor in a nasty barroom brawl. Weoften appear comatose ourselves upon the notification that yes. Mom/ Dad/ Grandpa,etc. etc. has exited stage left. Never to be seen again. It doessomething to the strongest of us. It humbles us. Somehow crumplesus up and throws us away for a bit. Like a piece of tiny refuse. Lost , alone.Now any of us who really knows what it really is, knows that we are all alone.We may have friends . Family, colleagues. Associates even. But nomatter how many people are in the room when you enter and when you travel to that bright light at the end of the tunnel. Well no matter how many loved ones surround us at that moment. We enter and weleave this world all alone. Except that is for God. He is the only constant. The only one who watches us along this trail of pain andwoe. Our only comfort. That is, if we cling to him in this life. Some doand some stubbornly refuse too.My stepfather was the latter I am afraid. I do not writethese words in judgment of his character. Quite the contrary. I havebegun to see him more and more in myself lately. And that scares me.I am aware of the term sins of the fathers and have lived my entirelife trying not to become Jesse Dovard Inman. However; any man wholives with a man day in and day out will inevitably become like that man . To some degree or other. Either you will become identical tothat person in emulation or you may actually turn .180 degrees theopposite. Myself? Each day I would awaken hoping that I showed thebest of my stepfather and not the worst. Of which there was plenty of character faults to be had. But to my dismay in later years I foundmyself being told many times by several people who I trusted that Iwas sadly, much like my dad.How did this occur? I have no idea. But back to thesubject at hand. My stepfather was gone. The “family” had not called
 
me when he was on his death bed. I bitterly blamed them. I knew inmy heart that my wicked stepmother had kept us apart. She hadnever liked or encouraged our relationship. I had been made aware of how painfully obvious it was that she did not want me around over the years. I had never considered that he didn't wish to have arelationship with me. The thought never actually crossed my mind. Inever considered that he might of simply put up with meonly to be with my mother. Never in all those years loving me. Never taking the time to show me or teach me anything. As I grew up Inever learned a trade like other young men in my community. Henever spent quality time with me . He could not be bothered.It was the thing that defined my life as a young adult. I felt a hollowempty space inside me. I looked to fill it with drugs, philosophy,religion, sex. Etc. etc. Nothing seemed to fill that aching empty void.That was a space as large as the universe it felt. Why didn't Daddy love me? My heart cried out. I bled for someone to fill my empty aching soul. Never fully understanding that I was as complete as Ineeded to be. And the only thing that could or would fill me up insidewas God. I failed to understand that I was complete. A perfect work.God's child. But as most humans do I placed my importance on how aman treated me. It seemed the measure by which I should weighmyself. I guess humans can be fools an unusually large part of thetime. It seemed that I was one of those. It seemed that way a lot. Awhole hell of a lot. But maybe just maybe for once I was answeringmy own questions and I never really knew that.It finally took a reading of his will to convince methat my stepfather of forty four years did not love me. Not one bit. Not even a little. He took the most obvious way he knew to hurt me to thecore. Not only did his new wife let me know in no uncertain terms that I was NOT allowed at his funeral. The final blow was the last will andtestament. He gave me the bare minimum by law and should I contest the will? I would only receive one dollar. You see money was the only thing I know that Jesse Inman loved without question . It was his God.Well it was not mine. But sadly I received three thousand dollars frommy stepfather and not one penny more. None of his land that I hadworked as a young man. I had hoped that I would receive part of it to pass on too my children. He had bought that land back in thenineteen seventies and we had lived there the four of us. Until that is,we were so rudely uprooted when dad had his way with my sisters piano teacher. The ensuing divorce was bitter and it cost him plenty.Seventy thousand dollars to be exact. I suppose he made up his mind
 
when that happened that mom and I had gotten our inheritance fromhim. But mom wasn't the one who cheated. So in my eyes shedeserved that as severance pay. Old Scrooge could just deal with it. And deal with it he did. After the divorce and in later years I wasnever welcome to drop in and visit comfortably in the home I hadgrown up in. My visits were always regulated to the front porch swingand I was never invited inside. The sting was very palpable for me. Inever felt wanted . I never felt part of the family or even like a relativeto my step dad. Why did I try you might ask? Well somehow the littleboy in me had not grown bitter yet. My heart had not calcified andhardened like a twisted old claw or horn. That was the goal it seemed.To harden my heart until nothing could damage or wound it. I had togrow tough like him! Yes, my mother had for years implored me not tolet it make me bitter inside. All the abuse, his beatings and spanishinquisitions. All the accusations of things imagined that I had donewrong over the years . I had grown so good at lying to him. Becausehe made me. To survive you see.I know it sounds ridiculous. I am aware. But no , if you knew the man.You would understand he was always seeing plots within plots. And Iam not talking about acreage either. Jesse was one paranoid man.So it should not have surprised me to find that as I read the copy of his will I was the first dealt with. To Phillip Inmanthe sum of three thousand dollars and if the will was contested in any way by any party. I was to receive one dollar. To the other “children” twenty five thousand dollars and an equal portion of his land. The landthat I worked on from third grade until I was eighteen years old.Hoeing the gardens endless rows , hauling hay. Chopping and splittingfirewood from dawn till dusk. Sitting down to supper. Sweaty andsatisfied. Exhausted but fulfilled and knowing that I had worked a fullday as a man. The taste of lemonade and sweet tea as the sun set onthose pastures is as alive on my tongue as any that I taste today.Maybe more so.......I weep as I write this. Tears sliding unbidden downmy nose. Dripping to the floor. Those are memories that no one. Noman or woman can take from me. I may not have been loved by theman. But I loved him. I loved those years together and I will take my mothers advice. I WILL NOT allow them to make me bitter. I willremember the good times. The snow ball fights in our front yard.Running with cousin James from the hive of bumblebees that summer.Getting stuck in the pasture and getting that old yellow Volkswagenbeetle out with dried cow chips. Who would believe that? The feel of amaul splitting through a huge red oak block as I swung it powerfully 

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