It’s Best Not to Wonder.

It’s Best Not to Wonder.

If I had to guess, I’d say my father was probably fishing on Sunday. He once told me that was what he liked to do with his time. He also used to do projects around the house, like that year he spent digging out a basement underneath the cabin he lived in, but I’m not sure he’s in any shape to do that sort of thing anymore. He turned 65 last month. At that age, I guess anything is possible though. I really wouldn’t know.

While I did my best to keep the focus of Father’s Day on my husband, thoughts of my own father kept creeping into my mind. I pictured him sitting in his rowboat, that one he had shown me all those years ago when we went for a walk along the lake he lived on. I could see him sitting there, the oars perched off the sides in a way that I honestly don’t know is even possible as I know nothing about rowboats. Maybe it wasn’t a rowboat. I’m not sure now. But it was blue. Or white. I actually can’t remember too much about it.

In my mind he was smoking. I wondered if he would pitch the finished butts out into the lake and risk hurting the fish or if he’d stamp them out in an ashtray he’d brought along with him. I pictured the old lunch cooler he used to bring to work, the red one with the flip down white lid. I’ll bet this one didn’t have beer in it though. He’s been sober for over twenty years. Well, last time I talked to him he had been sober. He probably doesn’t have that cooler anymore, anyway.

I wondered if he would head home at a certain time to sit down to a meal with his second wife, the woman he married some time in the last 15 years or so. I’m not sure when that happened. They weren’t married when I met her and then the next time I talked to my father they were. My father’s remarriage was one of those big things that remains a mystery to me, mostly because I wasn’t included in it.

I wondered what he’d think about, sitting there in the boat. What would he talk about later with his wife? Surely he knew it was Father’s Day. Did he wonder where his children were and what they were doing?

And then I wondered what kind of father abandons his children, gives up without a fight, just walks away. Not just once, either, but multiple times, over and over. I want to think he had a good reason, but in all this time he’s never once shared that with me. I want to think that if I were in his position, if I had been given the second and third and fourth chances, I wouldn’t squander them.

But maybe I would. Maybe I couldn’t turn it around either.

Maybe some people aren’t worth fighting for.

Maybe he feels the same way about me.

Edited to add: This post took crowd favorite over at yeah write last week! Thanks to everyone who read, voted, and commented!

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43 Responses to “It’s Best Not to Wonder.”

  1. Stacie says:

    Oh Michelle. Such simple and powerful words. I’m sorry.

  2. Jesus, Michelle. This is full of heart. I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop thinking about this one. I imagine you feel the same.

    • michellelongo says:

      Thanks. For my own sanity I try not to think about it too much, but some days with all the reminders it gets pretty hard not to.

  3. Suzanne says:

    I think some people are broken and they have no idea of the damage and hurt they cause others. Your father sounds a lot like my sister. I’m so sorry.

    • michellelongo says:

      I’m sorry you can relate, Suzanne. I agree, he has many demons he’s had to battle and on a good day I can remember that and know it’s probably way more about him than it is about me.

  4. Christine says:

    Doesn’t matter who you are or how amazing, some people only have enough to worry about themselves and are broken. It’s a selfishness that they can’t even have awareness of. It’s definitely not you, it’s him and he will never even know all that he missed out on…

    • michellelongo says:

      Thank you for such a kind comment. It’s true, he’s missing out on so much. He’s not ready to do the work of healing and I try to respect that. It’s sad for him, I’m sure.

  5. Kir Piccini says:

    the last two sentences just gutted me..written with so much emotion.

    I have lovely memories of my dad, he’s been deceased since 1996 but I am quick to say that the kindest thing he ever did for me was dying quickly. I don’t know who I’d be today if he was still alive.

    thank you for sharing this very personal story with us.

    • michellelongo says:

      I’m sorry about your dad, Kir. Family relationships are so, so hard. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. Christine says:

    Beautifully sad. Much love to you ♡.

  7. Maybe it really isn’t worth thinking about, Michelle. Some relationships are best left unresolved, for our own sanity and peace of mind. Your voice in this one is so heartfelt.

    • michellelongo says:

      I believe this is true, Shailaja. Most days I let it go. I forgive him for the past and I accept that he doesn’t want me in his life. Other days, it’s hard to reconcile that and pieces like this emerge. It helps me to process the emotions instead of dwelling. I can write them and let them go.

  8. April C. says:

    It’s hard. That’s all. Not “I can’t go on” hard. The kind of “unanswerable question permanently residing in the back of your mind” hard.

    Other than that… <3.

    • michellelongo says:

      Ah, yes, that’s it exactly. Life *does* go on – for me and for him – because it has to. Some days though, when I get to thinking about things…

  9. TMW Hickman says:

    These are topics best not dwelt upon, which of course is why we do. I am sorry that happened, but then maybe you wouldn’t be who you are if it hadn’t.

    • michellelongo says:

      I am who I am because of my past. Sometimes I feel like being someone else might be nice, but that’s not possible, so I try to let it go. Some days are harder than others to do that.

  10. Sam Merel says:

    Oh Michelle, this is heartbreaking and beautifully written. Sending much love to you, friend.

  11. outlawmama says:

    :Punch to the gut. A perfect delivery. How the tarnation do you not tell your kid about your marriage? I don’t get it.

  12. C.C. says:

    Very heart-breaking. I think that, sometimes, even when we know that perhaps the other person is broken and so is incapable of having a healthy relationship with us, it is still so easy to feel like WE are not worth fighting for, to wonder what it is about us that isn’t enough. At least, I struggle with those feelings…the wondering WHY and wondering WHAT IF…and once we start a walk down that path then your title is completely accurate!!

    • michellelongo says:

      Most of the time I believe it’s not me. I tried and that’s all I could do. But some days I wonder why it wasn’t enough. That sort of thinking gets me nowhere.
      Thanks CC.

  13. Linda Roy says:

    Oh Michelle. Hugs. I know what you mean though. I really do.

  14. Jen says:

    This was beautifully written, Michelle. I’m also sorry to hear about this though. :(

  15. Natalie DeYoung says:

    There is so much pain in this post, gorgeous as it is. What kind of father, indeed.

  16. mamarific says:

    Painfully beautiful post. A broken relationship with a parent is the most magnified on one of these Hallmark holidays. I’m glad you chose to write about it.

  17. It’s so damned sad when parents shuck off family like so many extra threads of silk. I’m sad your memories are always going to be clouded by what might have been, but I understand where that comes from. Sometimes, I want to know who my sister might have been if she hadn’t been who — and how — she was. I imagine whole lives for her that suddenly stop at, “No, but she couldn’t have stayed that long. She’d have gotten pissy and rude and gone off to get high.”

  18. TheJackB says:

    Very well written. I am sorry he hasn’t done what every dad should do for you.

  19. Wondering what might have been is always such a dangerous game. I’m sorry you can relate. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


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