i know i look like him. i can do nothing about the beard and hippy hat- this photo was taken around 1974 and just about every male of a certain age looked like this then. it was taken right before he went back to france. he ran away when i was 10 to avoid paying what was a minimal amount of child support. i spend more money each week on my cats then this guy was required to pay for my support. my mother was no selfish, vindictive gouger. i never received a card or letter or call for 20 years until he left, or had someone else leave, a depersonalized, typed letter addressed to me with no return address and containing no contact information in my mother's parents' mail box . it was one of those pathetic NA/AA ' apology' notes meant to be sent to all those you have wronged only phil seems to have missed the point- there was no indication in his trite, automaton manufactured missive that indicated he was sorry for what he did and was still doing to me. you can't be forgiven if you don't allow access to yourself by the people you have wronged- so they are allowed the option of forgiving you or not. if you continue to relinquish your responsibility for your only child by continuing to hide from them and continuing to deny them the love and nurturing they deserve you are not sorry . you're a pathetic, selfish coward and a sad fucking cunt. what was particularly enraging was that while i was left with my mother in stark poverty, he remarried and helped raise someone else's biological children in a comfy, comfy upper middle class bubble it was implied i would puncture and ruin if i came a looking for the thousands of dollars of delinquent child support, medical bills and college expenses he was responsible for in the final divorce decree.
the truth was his mother was dying and it caused him to have a mortality- guilt freak out . not only did he appear to go to NA but he outright claimed he was going back to the church where he hoped the lord would forgive him for being a drug addled, wife and child beating, self absorbed asshole who didn't have the humility and manhood to stand up and see to his responsibilities and truly rectify his wrongs including those he inflicted on a child for whom he was the only support- a child who loved him and was devastated to the point of suicide when he fled. after sending his not to be responded to note, which was all about himself and really had nothing to do with me, his loathsome mother, who i never liked and who apparently beat him savagely for most of his childhood(when he wasn't being shuffled in and out of equally abusive foster homes), died. phil was never heard from again . i never once saw or spoke to or communicated with my father from the time he fled when i was 10 in 1974 until he died in 2008.
in the end, phil became everything he hated, everything that weighed on him from his sad lonely childhood through his adulthood of unresolved conflicts and fears that he alone manufactured out of his pain and, in part, projected on to me causing his decades long avoidance of contact. he became his own father- an abusive french drunk who abandoned his wife and child when phil was only a few years old. that phil was never able to face me again in truth, with his heart exposed, truly regretful for his actions and caring about the effect his abandonment may have had on my life- caring about whether i was still alive or not- has been a shadow on my whole existence which the finality of his death has only rendered more disappointing and sad , tainted with a hint of hopelessness. given nearly a lifetime to repent, over 30 years, phil's inaction and hiding from, ultimately, himself,only serves as an example of the person i never want to be-unable to forgive others because one cannot forgive one's self which is always based in the demon of false pride. in striving to keep himself from me (his mother's obituary never mentions me as her only grandchild and his obituary is devoid of any detail about his family), he was only running from himself and his own father- a pointless and false pursuit that is akin to trying to prove a particularly outrageous falsehood. sending a child a card on their birthday, being at their graduation, teaching them how to drive, taking them to a hockey game- those simple common every day actions we associate with parenthood, with fatherhood-are these things really so very difficult? money is merely a necessity to buy food and clothes and housing with- a necessity that should never serve as a hinderance to our expressing our love or attending to our responsibilities. we pay our debts. we accept our good and bad deeds and hopefully life has taught us the difference between the two. we work through our fears and failings by confronting them.
when my cats were sick last year, i gave the hospital my credit card and said, "whatever you have to do, please do.", not because i'm rolling in the benjamins but because i loved them and the thought of lives that were my responsibility suffering was unimaginable. we can always get more money somewhere, somehow, but we cannot so easily take back our actions which are neglectful and impact on another life, particularly the lives of those who are relatively defenseless and, by nature, dependent- animals in our care and our children. that my father doesn't seem to have cared enough about me to even send the 10 bucks a week required of him by law has been one of the main pillars of the feelings of worthlessness that have plagued me most of my life. when i had no job and no money i always made sure my cats ate before i did. that money was more important to him than flesh and blood, than love, until the last days of his life indicates that piling up your gold on earth instead of in the recesses of your heart is the surest way to hell, both here and now and in the beyond. coins are the path to neither security nor redemption-love and sacrifice of the ego are. when we reach beyond our fears and selfishness and earth bound prides, we remove the wall in our hearts to receiving and giving love. inaction when we are free to do something that may make us uncomfortable or cost us a few dollars or a few tears or make us feel shame is what makes of human existence a cold, loveless, and cruel wasteland. the keys to heaven are in our own hearts and hands- that phil couldn't bring himself to turn that key when so many are denied by circumstances that golden opportunity speaks to the damage caused to him as a child and his inability as an adult to take the responsibility we all have to heal ourselves through self awareness- a damage he of his own free will chose to perpetuate.
phil was artistically talented and liked to build odd little electronic gadgets- like light boxes and strobe lights. we had a purple plymouth with lace spayed in white down the sides that he did himself. he built surf boards and body boards. he liked neil young, moody blues, cream and joni mitchell. he loved hockey and the montreal canadians and pretty much all the clint eastwood movies from the high plains drifter to dirty harry.
this may be one of my most favorite songs ever- moody blues, knights in white satin. it always reminds me of my parents. it was their favorite song:
i always loved neil young- he used to drive around LA in a hearse. he's kind of gothy- those scorpios always are. (" love lost, such a cost/ give me things that don't get lost").
the then greatest rivalry in sports-big brawl involving the canadians and the boston bruins in 1970. i watched this with my dad:
if you'd like to know where phil's hat came from: