Like I said before, my stepmother and I have recently reconnected and a lot of old emotions have been resurfacing. My dad passed away back in 2000 and even before then we had no contact for about 4 years before that. Even before that our relationship was pretty strained… mostly because of what happened between him and my mother. I blamed my dad and his new wife for everything and went out of my way when I was a kid to make their lives (well, mostly her life) as miserable as possible when I was around. My mom and dad had a very long and ugly divorce and so because of that my whole world was turned upside down. Therefore I did what any normal teenager would have done. I lashed out at everyone around me.
So, needless to say when my dad passed I knew he was in advanced Alzheimer’s but really nothing more. I was told in the form of a phone call from one of my half brothers. All he said was “He’s dead”. Both my half brothers which were dad’s sons from his first marriage had written dad off years ago. They are off in their own worlds to this day and I never speak to them. So as far as my father, I had no contacts that could tell me anything more so instead of living a life of so many questions I started drawing up my own conclusions in order to feel some sort of closure. One conclusion being that he went to his grave hating me. My stepmother Donna’s reaching out to me online a few weeks ago was a total unexpected surprise. At first I was really cautious with my wording with her because her and I had such issues in the past, but now after talking to her several times I’m coming to terms with a lot of things. The main one being is she loved my dad with all her heart, and that they were in love back in their high school days. Even when they both separated for a time and went onto other relationships Donna always held a torch for my dad. Then when he started getting sick and showing signs of dementia she took care of him up until his final breath. The fact my dad was happy is all that matters. This is still an extremely hard thing to wrap my mind around and I’m taking it one day at a time (it’s hard not having my sister around to talk to…) . I never thought this day would come… ever.
She recently sent me a small package with the following letter.. I was home alone when I opened it so thankfully nobody was around when I sat and held the letter for an hour sobbing uncontrollably. I hadn’t even peeked in the package yet.
I always thought my dad didn’t even give me a second thought after I lost contact with them. What I had figured was my father was happy with his new wife and disowned me and my two half brothers. When I was younger I felt abandoned by him and left it at that. I mean, if I attempted to contact him then I would have also have to talk to ‘her’ and to me she was the enemy. So I considered my father gone from my life. In fact, I considered the whole “Norris” family gone from my life. I didn’t want any part of being a Norris any longer. It broke my heart but I never told anyone that. Well, I told one person, my sister.
Inside the little package was the following:
The picture with him and the older gentleman is my grandpa Norris. He died when I was very young. I barely remember him, in fact all I do remember is going to visit him shortly before he died. We went to my grandparents’ house and he was laying in bed with an oxygen tank next to him. I remember climbing up on the bed and saying “I hope you feel better grandpa” and seeing his eyes well up with tears. Later on in the car on the way home my father told me that what I said to him was very nice and it made him happy. I wish I knew more about him… I’m hoping my stepmom can help me out a little bit as long as she’s still willing and able to answer questions. From what she has told me so far though, dad’s father was his hero and he grew up to be more like him, rather than his mother who was…… well, let’s just say people in the neighborhood used to call her ‘that mean old woman’.
The picture of the girl with the giant hair is me.. yeah… 1988. They had those studios in the mall called “Headshots” and my sister took me there for a birthday present. They tease, tease and spray your hair up as high as it could possibly go, then they stick it to a board. When you leave there you look like a peacock since the back of your head is flattened from the board. I don’t even remember giving my dad this picture and I’m so surprised he kept it in his wallet all of those years. It means a lot to know this..
As I’m getting to know my dad all over again I’ve been going through a lot of emotions. It’s been hard to concentrate when my mind gets churning about all of this. It’s like I’m trying to make sense of all of this information at once which is literally impossible! Hopefully I can sort this out so it’s manageable soon before I go crazy but until then it’s one day at a time. I’m grateful I have Donna to talk to though, if you would have told me a year ago that I’d be in touch with her again I would have never believed it. Maybe dad made this possible somehow from wherever he is so I’d have some real closure…maybe?