Getting Ready

Dad,

Sarah is getting married this summer. You would be so impressed with her now, how she has grown into a smart, kind, compassionate young woman. She is in love. And we are planning a summer wedding on Lake Union. Really wish you could be here for that.

So, it is a busy year. Lots to plan; lots to do. Dan is engaged as well. His fiance is out of the country currently. She needs to get to the states, but it’s complicated because her citizenship is the Philippines.  Dan is working on submitting paperwork. It will take some time.

There is a lot more going on and I begin each day just being grateful for the day, and trying to find the compassion in my heart for those I care about, and to remember that what is important is love, good health and kindness. I miss you. And I hope you have found some peace at last wherever you are.

#summerwedding #kids #missingdad #lakeunionwedding

Trying to Understand

Dad, I am trying to understand how you came to lose all 3 of your sons, and I guess I will never know why it happened this way because you are not here to be asked about it. I feel that they suffered just as much as you did with this loss in their lives. Because I don’t think they ever knew that you loved them. And you know the pain of that yourself; because you never felt love from your father, either. From what I have learned about each of them, and I don’t know much at all about either of them, I sense that they carry/carried a lingering hurt that can never be soothed. I long to reach out to them; but I know that won’t help, and what would I say to them anyway? And would they even want to talk to me? If anything, I am the one link to their father that they have.

I have been thinking about this a lot these past few days, and I needed to write it down. I still wish I could’ve known my brothers when I was growing up. It took years for me to come to understand why that would never happen. And now that the eldest one has passed away, I feel a sad sense of loss. And I feel a sadness for you, too. Because losing a child is so hard; I can only imagine. It is a missed chance. One I will never get back.

#lostsons #halfbrothers #familiesseparated #brokenfamilies

 

 

Saturday Afternoon Musings

Dear Dad,

It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been busy working my day job and doing art. Have several pieces headed to 2 different gallery shows, and I am really happy about that. You’d be proud of the work I’ve done, I think. It am happy that I have this flow going and enjoying the path that I am on now with my art.

Lately I’ve been researching family genealogy on Ancestry. After getting the DNA results it wasn’t too surprising to find I am about 55% Germanic and 30% England/Wales/NW-Europe and some Eastern Europe/Russia. Was a little surprised by the small percentages of Irish, Scottish and Swedish, though. So I am at the point where I am filling in extended family, and have plugged in your two first marriages and your 3 sons. I have just recently found Steve, and was surprised to see that he is using the Trowbridge name. All this time I had assumed that he was using Snyder. It looks like he had been married, but is not now, I am guessing. Didn’t see any evidence of any kids. Evie passed away in 2002 in Hanford, CA. Looks like Steve is now retired, and had gone to college when he was younger, and had studied business.

I am really pleased to have found these half brothers online and to see that they really exist. Unfortuantely, your oldest, Michael, passed away in the Fall of 2017, I think he was about 74 years old. He worked as an engineer, traveled the world, and was very involved in his church. William is living somewhere near Santa Rosa, I think. I never contacted either of them.

I think about our family, and how we moved around so much, and how disjointed that made me feel sometimes. I think it also helped me to be more resilient; but I wonder sometimes if it created within me a feeling of disconnection; like I am always trying to catch up. Like I am always feeling as if I am the last to know about something, or late to the game. I don’t know. Life is what you make it. And life for me has been pretty good; I can’t really complain. But I do feel like my voice has not been quite as heard, or as loud, as I would like it to be.

And with that, there comes a realization that to be assertive and to be the loud voice, you must take risks. Because there will undoubtedly be an outcome, a reaction of some sort, that you will have to react to. Maybe the moving around, the underlying uncertainty that was quietly there in our family life, maybe that took enough energy that I frequently felt I couldn’t take many risks; and if I did, the ground beneath my feet was just shaky enough to remind me to be overly cautious and careful.

And those times I was reckless were the times I threw that caution to the wind, and was overly reckless in order to satisfy the need to take chances. It’s a careless way to test the waters, and fortunately I have survived just fine, for the most part.

And I know that the lessons you and mom taught me were to take care of myself; do the right thing; don’t beat yourself up too much for past mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. So, I appreciate the guidance and love through those difficult times and the fact that you and mom were really good at making a new place feel like a comfy home every time we moved somewhere new.

With finding these half brothers, I have wondered a lot about what their lives have been like. Do they resent you? Do they remember you? How did you deal with leaving them, and losing them? I know it was hard; probably the hardest thing in your life to deal with. The loss is enough to bear; and the failure is, I’m guessing, pretty unbearable.

#halfbrothers #moving #familiesmovingaround #regret #losingyourkids

 

 

Midterms of Hope

Hi Dad,

We are voting and hoping. Boy, this has been a tough two years. And while I fear you would possibly align with some of the Republican agenda, in my heart I think you would be so appalled at the lying and shenanigans that have been going on. I mean, you could not write a movie this dumb! I don’t know…maybe you could and maybe it would be a hit at the box office, who knows?!

So people are voting like mad and hoping. If we can turn the Senate, that would make a lot of us feel really happy. But that is probably not going to happen. Just the house would be enough for now. Without that, instant depression and frustration.

It’s hard living like this, and seeing the daily stupidity and lies that just keep happening. I am hoping that today we celebrate not just Patrick’s 65th birthday, but some sort of political victory. The people need this.

So Much Anger

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 10.23.14 PM

Dear Dad,

What a strange trip it’s been. Trump is in the White House (no, I’m not kidding, and please don’t tell me that you would have voted for him). So much anger and divisiveness these past months. Women are fighting back about misogyny and are tired of not having a voice, and not being heard or listened to. So, my story is one of anger and frustration in the way I was brought up to think that my value was in how I looked, whether or not I had a perky personality, and how well I listened to authority (men). I don’t understand why you always seemed to undervalue women. Was it the times that you grew up in and lived in? Was it because you did not have a strong father figure in your life? Was it the abuse your mother suffered at the hands of your father? You always seemed like you were a thoughtful person deep down. But, society showed you the way, and that way was to not really value women as much as men, and to not really completely value yourself.

When I was 16, I was sexually assaulted by one of our close family friends, who I will not name here. I wanted to tell you and mom, but I didn’t feel that I could. I was afraid. I was confused. I was angry. I feared that maybe you wouldn’t believe me. So I kept it a secret for years. I have since talked about it, and in the social climate now, many women (and men) are telling their own stories about when they were sexually abused or molested. It is tough to hear, but it is good to get it out there because this has gone on for too long.

I think when we go through painful things, we have the opportunity to learn a lot. About ourselves, about others, about society. Not sure if our society is currently in a mood for learning, though, and that is frustrating and sad.

If you were here, I think you would want a fair and kind world for your grand children and future great-grandchildren. But you might struggle with the old line of the conservative Republicans since you were part of that Old Boy society for so long.

It’s time to try kindness and respect. It’s time to fight against disrespect and marginalization. We have to reach a new level of understanding and compassion in the country, in this world. Or I fear we will split into pieces and destroy many of the things we love about being human.

#misogyny #sexualbehavior #socialchange #oldschoolthinking #women #sexabuse #anger #divisiveness

Loss

Dear Dad, the losing of the people in our lives becomes more significant as we grow older. I am sure this is not news to you, for you endured the loss of your mother at a relatively young age, and then later in life you lost several of your sibs. You lived to see 4 of your siblings pass before you. Gerry died on Independence day, I think it was 2012. And Maxine passed a few years later. I am finding the loss of loved ones is a significant ache in my heart each time it happens these days. How can we go on without knowing that person is still here? That we will never see them again, never have a chance to speak with them, share a meal or receive a letter from them? A little ache in the heart every time.

So I do miss you, and I am reconciling the anger I have felt toward you these past 10 years since you died. It’s not so much a pure anger, but a hurt, and a sadness, and regret that I did not spend more time with you, and really talk to you in depth about life and family. We have so much time – and then suddenly, it’s gone. I felt bad for the way you went, that you were alone, and that we could not be there enough for you, even though we tried to do what we could.

Loss is something that makes us reflect, and hopefully inspires us to take some time and look around us and appreciate those people in our lives who we love and like and treasure. Each day is a new day, and each person is a light in our lives.

#loss #memories #family #remembering #grief

 

Dad with his mom

The Obit

Dad, I found Mike’s obit. He passed away in November 2017. He was 74. He led a good life. I wish I could have met him. I will share more about him later.

#lostbrothers #letterstodad #geneology #missedopportunity