How I Met My Father, Part III


My father died in July. It was a warm day, but not stifling. My aunt and I had talked later into the night. I showed her my letter. I told her I felt as comfortable as possible going to see my father, but that I did not want a big “family scene” and would prefer to pay my respects and leave. I was too nervous to do anything other than that. I asked that we go considerably early to the church, so as not to be observed by too many people and not disrupt the service if someone questioned us. That was the plan.

We arrived at the tiny church and there was a small group of mostly men of various ages outside on the front lawn. We walked by them and went inside. My father’s casket was in the front right corner. We walked down the far left aisle and did not cross until we were at the front. I had my first glimpse of the man who was 50% of my genetic makeup. I recognized the ruddy complexion. He did not look as large as I had imagined. I slipped my sealed note into the casket, shoving it as far down as I was able. I lightly and hesitantly touched my father’s face. I felt numb and sad. My aunt and I had knelt and we were praying, silently. After several minutes, I decided it was emotionally enough for me and it was time to go.

My aunt whispered, asking if I had seen Jim. No, I had not. We again went to the farthest aisle and left the sanctuary. As we were about to step outside, she asked if I would not like to see Jim again. I felt a lot of pressure! I didn’t know which was the “right” or “appropriate” answer to give.

Yes, I’d like to see Jim. I had written a letter to him a couple years earlier, at Christmastime. I found an address on the Internet. Not knowing how old it was, I just took the chance. I never received a reply. Perhaps I had caused too much consternation among the family. Maybe it was a terrible idea to come here. Was it just selfishness on my part? I told her that I would like to see Jim, but I still had not seen anyone who resembled him. She then suggested that I ask the group of men if they knew if Jim were there. I decided on a course of ‘what the heck’ and approached the small group. Besides, since I had not seen him at all, I was pretty sure he had not made it to the church just yet. We could go home and my conscience would be intact.

I excused myself for interrupting them and asked if they had seen Jim. The tallest man in the group said that Jim was there, but was in the basement the last time he had seen him. A lady standing next to him said she would go find him, if I would like to wait a minute. I agreed and thanked her. This very tall man asked how I knew Jim. I answered that we had attended college together. He asked who I was. My brain was not keeping up too well; thinking I was treading dangerous ground. Why did I not just keep on walking past them to the car? I was never going to have a relationship with my father, he was gone; even if I had just wanted to give him a piece of my mind.

After a bit of  hesitation and my brain scrambling to find the right words, I said that Jim had been ahead of me in college but I had known him because he worked in the computer lab and he used to help me with technical problems. He then asked for my name. “My name is…Robin.” I found it hard to look him in the eye at that point. “Robin? Your name is Robin?” I nodded. His eyes widened. “Are you my sister, Robin?” Now my eyes started to betray me with tears and I answered him, “Yes, I guess so.” Was I about to be thrown off the property? Had I just upset a group of people already sad and grieving the loss of their father and grandfather? The man introduced himself as “your brother, Dave.” He hugged me and remarked that he had wondered if they would ever have the opportunity to meet me. He then said, “Here comes Jim, now.”

I turned and saw Jim; like me, a bit older and grayer. “Hi Jim. Do you remember me?”, I asked. “Of course, I do. Hello, Robin.” Again, I was hugged by a brother. My aunt nearly cried out, “Oh, it’s a miracle, Robin!” It happened that the woman who had gone to retrieve Jim was my youngest sister, Noreen. After a couple of minutes, Noreen offered to introduce me to the other sisters, Valerie, nicknamed “Annie” and Lynne. When I met Annie, it nearly was like looking into the mirror. I now was satisfied that this was my other family, after all. Eventually, they informed their mother I was there. She surprisingly (to me) came out to meet me, as well, also giving me a big hug. She invited us inside to stay for the service. There, I heard a sketchy outline of what had been my father’s life for 69 years.

After the service, when most had gone, I again went to the casket. Only a few close family members had remained in the sanctuary. I sang for my father and for my family—the first thing that came into my mind with no rehearsal and no accompaniment. It wasn’t stellar, but it was formally saying goodbye—and hello at the same time.

When we asunder part,  (we had been parted before we were ever joined)

It gives us inward pain; (for my loss of opportunity for recognition and closure)

But we shall still be joined in heart (entrusted to the Heart of God)

And hope to meet again. (and for Eternity)

–Blest be the Tie That Binds, verse 4

My father, known by his middle name of Tim, now rests in peace. God is good. It now is my privilege to begin to know the better part of my father (I am sure he would agree); that being his, and my, family. Finally, the other half of my life’s tapestry is being uncovered, little by little. After all these years, I am welcomed.


~ by saginawrobin on April 26, 2012.

2 Responses to “How I Met My Father, Part III”

  1. Robin,
    I just copied and printed the three parts of this blog for Jim to read. I should know better than that to read it at work because then you have to explain to others why you’re crying.
    I hope you know how grateful we all are that you came to the funeral that day. I don’t think I’d have had the strength.
    Jim and I had tried to find you. I don’t know how we misplaced your letter but it was gone! I wrote to every person on facebook named Robin Kingsbury (they wre all very kind and wished us well in finding you!) to no avail.
    I don’t think it is out of line to say that your bravery that day restored the family. You came and you also planted a little seed of “what if” that became a relationship with their other brother/son, James.
    Isn’t God amazing? Only He could have planned such a wonderful reunion and restoration of a family.

    • Indeed, Linnie, God is BEYOND good; amazing!! I would not have gone alone. Aunt Shirley enabled me to be brave enough. I am so blessed by having you all in these “later” years of my life! It’s too bad my father did not get to know me. I guess he’ll have the “advantage” of knowing the perfect and immortal version after we meet in the Kingdom. Everyone else will have to struggle with the “real” me–until then! Love you!

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