My brother's dad died last weekend. He used to be my stepdad, but I haven't seen him since I was pregnant with Max, who is now 19. The last time that my brother spoke with him was 16 years ago. My brother is now left with all these regrets, even though the estrangement was neither his fault nor his idea.
This makes me a bit angry at my brother's dad, because Brad is a wonderful person - loyal, loving, generous with his time and his talents. I measure all other men against my brother and very few even come close. He is deserving of respect and consideration and in this situation, his relationship with his dad, he didn't receive either.
It's not a simple case of my brother's dad as Bad Guy either, because deep down I suspect that he thought that he was protecting Brad. He fought demons that I've never fully understood and how could I - I live a relatively peaceful life within my mind. He was fighting everything and everybody.
I'm trying to remember the good things about him like the time he brought me my brother's rocking chair, when I was still carrying Max. It was a very generous move on his part. And he used to help me with my Algebra every night. Every night. I'd cry and he'd explain it again and again. He took me on one driving lesson when I was 14. We drove along a narrow dirt road alongside the Klamath River and I did pretty good until I pulled back into our driveway and up onto a tree stump.
I don't want to live with regrets. I have tried to be open with my feelings and my intentions throughout my life, but that gets harder as I get older. I feel like I have to hold things back in order to protect myself. Being guarded, I guess that's one of those bad habits we pick up as we progress from child to adult, kind of like bad posture (babies have great posture - have you ever noticed that?).