Don’t let time steal your promises.

In the early months of my writing in this blog page, I ranted incessantly about my family matters. Mainly about my father. He’s a nice guy, from what I hear from others, but from my own experience? I can only make an assessment from what I see, not from a personal interaction with him. We never, in 61 years, connected as father and son. I wish it were different, but it isn’t. I hope that at some point that changes. I have found it hard to get past his tough exterior. We were brought up quite differently. He in the 1940s and ’50s, me in the 1960s and ’70s. Back in his day, people treated people much more harshly than they did when I was a teen. At least, we all think so. From his stories, I’ve heard a few, it was that way with his father. My father has a mean streak as well. I have seen it. I consider that it was handed down from his father.

I have lived 61 years knowing who my father is, but being hated and denied by him for the entire time.

I have also had anger issues. Nothing extreme or severe, but they have been there, haunting me, stalking me, robbing me of joy.
In my early days, my anger issues were a problem. Again, nothing severe, but always there. Always there. At times, it makes me feel that it is genetic, that it has been handed down to me through birth. The reason I say that is because I have seen it in myself, but yet have never spent any extended amount of time with my father, and I know he has had or still has anger issues. The stories I have heard are fearsome. I don’t know for certain, but I would be easily swayed to think it is genetic. Before I move further in this entry, I want to reflect what I know others have felt, or do feel.

Cat Stevens wrote “Father and Son” back in my days as a kid. I was a senior in high school and was living with my divorced, remarried, divorced, remarried, divorced, remarried father in Seattle. I grew up in Aberdeen, WA. A humble, dying, small town on the west coast. I gave my mother such grief that she sent me to live with my father that last year of school. I spent a year with him. One day, my step-sister, ‘Ginny,’ brought “Tea for the Tillerman” home and put it on the turntable. When “Father and Son” played, the music was inviting and enticing. It forced you to listen to the words. They expressed exactly what I was going through at that very moment. I have never forgotten that song, even 40 years later. It knew what anguish I was living in then. It told me how oil and water react to each other. It asked me, “Why?” Although, I knew not of any answer, then.
I believe I do today.
“You’re still young, that’s your fault” defined me in this tune, and in my father’s eyes.
As I listened, I felt anxiety, I felt pain, I felt anger. I felt strength.

“Father and Son,” Cat Stevens.
Released in 1970 on “Tea For The Tillerman.”
Click the graphic to see it enlarged.

It was so hard to live on the outside of my father then. Never getting close to his heart. Never knowing what heart-break he may have been going through, heart-break that his father had inflicted on him. Never being able to ask, or maybe, help. He wouldn’t let me in. He hid and masked his love and compassion from everyone with precision and guile. He always wanted to be right.

In my life I have seen answers arise from places I never ever would have looked for them.
Always standing just outside of his love and wanting to share it, wanting to know if he had love to share. I looked up to my father, because he was my father. He had never done anything fantastic, stupendous, mold breaking, but he was my father. Because he was, he was enormous in my eyes. He held a place that I would never be able to tell him he held. I would never be able to tell him that I loved him. He wouldn’t have any part of it, because it seemed to make him feel weak. I personally think he just didn’t like me.
(I found a very specific post from him from two years ago on my Facebook page that I had not seen before. Telling me that his hate didn’t start in 1971, but in 1953, the year my mother became pregnant with me.
It didn’t surprise me. It gave me relief. It was very explicit. I was doomed before I was born.)

Paul Carrack sings this song written by Mike Rutherford and B. A. Robertson and performed by Mike and the Mechanics. Read these words and think deeply.
Time hunts you as it does everyone. Don’t let it take your promises away.

“The Living Years,” released in 1988 by Mike and the Mechanics on “Living Years.”
Click the graphic to see it enlarged or to print it.

(Today I am 62 years old, my father passed away Sunday, January 18, 2015. Illness had hit him hard. With the little bit that I know of him, I can say that he struggled to walk tall, to never falter, but I am certain, in his last days he felt weak, ill, tired and lonely. Never letting his guard down. Always struggling to appear strong and able. I miss him so much and it breaks my heart to know that he suffered. Dear God, please open a way.
It bothers me to know that the joy fathers have with their children was something that he went out of his way to avoid. He forced himself to hate with a broad smile on his face and a pocket full of lies.)

Listen to me. If you have issues with your family that you can’t seem to resolve, let those go. They are in the past. If you can’t make peace, then you may have held on to the battlements for too long and there in no way back over them to your camp. You are stuck where you don’t want to be and the only resolution will be when someone passes on.
That is no way to see a resolution.
That is a game that was lost by both parties.
Don’t let that happen.
Smile and wave, move on.

Don’t let time steal your promises.

In my life, I have fought with this for over 40 years. I have found no peace. I have found no resolution, but I am determined to do something, anything it takes to make peace with my father. I don’t know what drives me. Maybe wanting to see him understand and embrace something fathers are meant to know. However, he never intended to be a father to begin with.
He became one by accident but had no way to erase his accident.
I am not concerned with looking weak, or giving in and letting him win, because regardless of the out come, we both have to win. There is no competition in this, there is only love I hold that I want to share with him. If being weak makes me stronger, I am willing to concede. Being right or important is not part of being humble.

As things sit today, I am going back in and making another move to smile and get a hand shake. I don’t care to be right, I don’t care to be the winner. I just want to be a part of his life. Whether he or I have long to be around is only part of the story. Being at peace and respectful is the foundation of the purpose. I may not achieve what I set out to do, but I will stay the course till one of us is gone.

Don’t let time steal your promises or pave your highways.
Make your move with elegance and respect.

Don’t let time steal your promises.

Since writing the above part of this story, I have received a letter from my father, about a week ago.
It was the one I wrote to him at least a year ago.
It can be found on this blog as
“The Little Boy Who Could.”

He inserted it into a new envelope, addressed it to me, wrote on the back, “Just sending this back to you so you don’t forget why you hate me.”
Yes, that is what he wrote. He obviously does not see anyone else in his world other than himself. I can’t imagine treating a son in such a way.
(A son he hated from before that son was born.)
I have no children, but, as I have stated in my blog before, had I had children it would be incumbent upon me to make sure they were happy to see me on every occasion.
I have never felt hate for Almon Charles Basden, Jr. Maybe for his father for teaching him to be so hateful.
I’m only speculating.

Since the above paragraph, my father has sent me a birthday card on January 5, 2014 as he usually does. It was my 60th. As I looked at it, I took a deep breath. I was hoping something would be different. I looked at the front. His wife had written my address on it. I considered that he may have been unable to do it for himself. He was 82. I flipped the envelope over. There on the back was written,
“This isn’t from your father, you don’t have a father. This is from your brother Kevin’s father. Happy birthday.”

I wanted to see something much different. It was not there. I didn’t open the envelope. I put it in the trash. I’m still not certain of whether I was disappointed or satisfied. I took no time to make a choice.

I hate to say it, but I was actually relieved. Sadly, profoundly, relieved. At that moment, I knew the only event left to anticipate was his passing. The burden of this 40+ year project was finally gone. There would be no resolution. I had to accept this. I had to tell myself that I could finally take the next step forward into my own life. Not his and mine.

Days later, I called my younger brother out on the west coast. I told him I knew that his/our father was ailing. I knew, and have always known, that Kevin can not keep a secret. It burns a hole in him to hold on to it. With that in mind, I knew he would immediately call me to let me know that his father had passed away. As I spoke to him, I didn’t mention the birthday card I had received. I felt no need, I could think of no reason to. I had no desire to spread any bad feelings because of it. I really didn’t want to shift my stand from “our” father to “your” father, but that card had removed the very last bit of paternal love I had. From that point, my pity for him grew, however, my desire to see him happy also grew.

I told Kevin, “When your father passes away, please do not call to tell me. He and I have never had a connection, I feel no remorse for his situation and I feel no anxiety in the imminent issue of his health. I know he doesn’t have long.” He knew and understood. He agreed. I hit “End Call.” I waited to see if he would honor my wishes. He did, however, my wife heard the news immediately, as I anticipated she would.
(He texted my wife, knowing she would tell me. Well played, Kevin. I know you well.)

My father was a heavy smoker and drinker. He paid for those activities with his life. I don’t know the final diagnosis, although, five years ago, we DID speak on the phone. I made the call. I was still holding hope for a resolution. He told me of his health issues in specific terms and language. I was floored. I felt anger for his self neglect, I felt a cold flush because I knew he had no way out. I felt betrayed. There would never be a chance for me to see him again. I was still thinking we would connect. It was never going to happen. He was never going to allow it.

He had made up his mind long before I made my attempts.

I feel so bad for my father. I wanted him to know love, but I know that never happened.
He never knew how much I wanted to know him.
He never knew how much I wanted to replace the empty spaces with what we had never shared.
He never wanted to know.
I certainly did not hate him.
I have no room for hate in my life.
No room.

Don’t let time steal your promises.
Don’t let it.

January 20, 2015.
My father passed on two days ago.

My piece above has been edited to reflect this loss.
I so loved my father and miss him deeply.
I miss never seeing him honestly happy.
We never ever made a connection.
It never happened.

Don’t let time steal your promises.
Don’t let it.
It isn’t worth the wait you don’t know that you are a part of.


2 thoughts on “Don’t let time steal your promises.

    • Yes. I have moved on. I find it much easier to think of if I just imagine that everything is peachy keen. Send Christmas cards, birthday cards, etc. as if everything were fine, even if it isn’t. I don’t have time to keep notes on all that goes by, but it is hard to forget. I forgive at the drop of a hat, but forgetting is much harder to do. I have no resentment, but I do feel sorry for my father. His own hate is his ruler.
      Thanks Nick.
      God bless.


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