My father left my mom and 7 children when I was 12 years old for another woman. I saw him once and spoke to him about 3-4 times since then. It’s been 13 years and I thought I had gotten over my father being a dead-beat dad and leaving us. I was so wrong.
I recently heard news about my father. He is now living in Laos with two very young wives. And when I say young, I mean young. They say that he lives his life on his farm, trapping birds every day. Ahhh…. He is living the good life.
When I heard this, I felt this pang in my heart. It was like needle had pricked it. And it hurt. A lot.
I thought I had gotten over everything: my father abusing my mom, cheating on my mom, and leaving us. But when I heard about how he was living in Laos, my heart ached. It didn’t ache because I miss him, because I don’t. I guess it hurt because I just never had closure.
He had up and left one day to bring home a new bride, and that was the end of it. My mom changed the locks on the door and called his family and told them that if they approved of his marriage, she was divorcing him. They disregarded what she said and allowed their son to marry a second wife. My mom divorced my father. He never came back home.
He came back a couple of months later, but I was still very young, very immature, and very stubborn, so I did not let him inside our house. My mom wasn’t home. I think that if my mom was home, she probably would’ve let him in, just for the sake of being a respectful Hmong woman.
So, he stayed 300 yards away while I flipped him the middle finger and told him to fuck off. I was pissed. How are you going to have 7 children with a woman who has invested her life into you and then just one day decided that they weren’t enough? How are you going to leave your flesh and blood because you craved adventure?
I haven’t seen him since then.
He sent Christmas and birthday cards. He rarely called because his wife would get jealous. And when he called, I was too stubborn to speak with him. Finally, in high school, I felt that I needed some closure.
I called him in April of 2003. I was a senior, about to graduate from high school. I wanted him there to see me walk across that stage. I don’t know why. He left when I was 12. Six years had gone by and there was hardly any contact. And now, all of a sudden, I wanted him there. Maybe because this was my moment, and I wanted to share it with him. Maybe to show him that the children he left behind are not screw-ups like how everyone predicted.
His excuse for not coming was that he didn’t have money. “You buy me an airline ticket and I’ll come,” was what he said. It hurt. If he really wanted to see me, he would’ve came, regardless. If he didn’t have money, he wouldn’t be flying back and forth from MN to Thailand and Laos.
My second attempt at restarting a relationship with my father was when I got married two years after high school. I called him to invite him to my wedding. Same response: no money. “But, you need to tell your mom to share the bride price with me,” he said. Funny, right? A father who was hardly in my life, someone who didn’t care to come see you at your wedding wants the money my in-laws are paying for my hand in marriage. My mom denied him the money.
After that, I gave up. Maybe I should’ve went and seen him instead. But that’s what my brother did. He lived with my father for two years and he said it wasn’t worth it. My father was rarely home and my brother had to babysit all the time. Sounds very familiar, too familiar.
I graduated from college last year. I thought about inviting him, but that thought left as fast as it came. I think I gave up.
And now, almost 5 years later after my last contact with my father, I hear that he has left his second family (the family he left us for) and went to Laos and got married, twice. A man will never change. And I will never have closure.