My cousin got married last weekend. Usually I'm pretty cynical about people wanting to admit they found the love of their lives and then wanting to commit to that person so much that they get married, especially at 20-something, but I was so excited for my cousin and so happy to be there on her wedding day. I'd met her fiance several times while they were dating and there was just something good about him. Watching how he interacted with her and her family members, how he talked about playing with her high energy dog, how he very lovingly got her in her pajamas and into bed after a party and was happy to do it made me grin from ear to ear watching them walk down the aisle together. Not to mention, they've dated for a few years now, already own a home together and are both in their late 20s, so statistically speaking they're doing everything right. And they made a beautiful couple.
Watching a wedding like that makes you wonder how love could ever go bad. It was so beautiful, so honest, they seem so right for each other... No one gets into a marriage thinking, "this is good for a first one." When we say "till death do us part" we mean it. We really, truly do. But it doesn't turn out that way.
This, unfortunately, I know too well. I went to this wedding knowing my dad would be there with his girlfriend, knowing much of my family supports his decision to have no relationship with me. For 4 hours, and though he sat at the next table over, I got not so much as a glance. Which I guess was a good thing, because if he had come over for a hug or small talk I might not have held it together, and I couldn't be doing that at a wedding. But the evening ended with me doing my best to hold back tears as I asked myself and others what I did to make my own dad choose to not have anything to do with me.
Later I found out that while discussing the rift one relative (I wish I knew who) said to another that there are two sides to every story. Which means there's an alternative story out there. Which makes me wonder what type of alternative story this is if it makes people support my dad's decision to cut his kid out of his life? What is he saying I did or said that was so bad that others think he did the right thing? Did I commit some unforgivable sin? Maybe I'm looking at it all wrong: maybe the alternative story is that I was the one who cut him out of my life. Maybe it's the same story with the roles reversed.
But then I thought even if that were the case wouldn't a loving father still attempt communication? Wouldn't a loving father who mourns the loss of his daughter, at the very least, send a text on her birthday? If I were to die tomorrow would he not come to my funeral, not place flowers on my grave and not miss me a little bit?
I don't have answers to those questions. I don't know if he sees at all how much he hurt me. In order to get by I have to assume he has no idea, because if he knew I would have so much hate in my heart that it would weigh me down. All I know is my dad told me he never wanted me, and his blatant dismissal of me seems to indicate he really meant that.
So what happened? What made him, a man who says he never wanted to get married or have kids, propose to his girlfriend and then go on to have 3 kids? He must at some point have changed his mind. He must have wanted those things even if only for a brief period. He must have once had some semblance of the happiness I saw in my cousin last weekend. It's too bad love dies like this. I hope my cousin will never know what that's like– I hope her beautiful wedding is an indication of the beautiful life she'll continue building with her husband and the happiness we all saw on their faces lasts 'till death parts them, and I hope that's many decades from now.