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My father passed away 4 months ago and I only just found out

Klaus Deubner was my father. He once denied it in court. I lost him more than once. He passed away almost 4 months ago and nobody thought to tell his daughter. Like as if this was something that I had no right to care about, feel pain about, need to know.

Klaus Deubner, my father passed away on October 25th 2019 and I only just found out yesterday. Nobody thought of telling his daughter that he was now gone from this earth. Lots of things to say, lots of emotions and lots of speechless, wordlessness. (later addition: The day before I wrote this outburst of feelings my mother told me the news, she had only just heard herself. She told me by text message. I remember reading it and feeling like I am in the wrong film.. The feelings you feel…)

The photo above shows him and my mother on their wedding day, so much future ahead of them and little did they know what a mess it would turn into. At the time of their wedding I was almost 4 weeks into my status as an embryo. My father would love me so much when I was born. …

(Grieving in no particular order, just fragments passing through my mind and I have no reason to keep them private.)

His cells and DNA co-created mine. He gave me my core life principles and then offended the very ethics that he taught me to live by.

Somehow as family members pass away, maybe I am being released from some of the burdens of the past that shaped so much of me and continues to affect my experience of life in ways that aren’t that desirable.
I have good memories, too. For those and for all the missed opportunities I cry. For the gaslighting I feel anger, I didn’t deserve that. As my friend said, we don’t know what he went through, but neither does he know what it put me through all of my life for him to abandon me so long ago and taking my father from me.

I cried a lot, so often, for decades. Right now new tears and grief mixes with old. I don’t even know the people who are now mourning him, missing him. I don’t know what holes he left in the world, I don’t know many of the ways in which I grew to be like him because I never had an adult relationship with the man, my father, Pappa, I don’t even know how to spell this German endearing word for dad, is it one p or two?, that’s how long ago he left me.
I know some of the things I do and love are inherited from him. I fold my toes under whenever I sit somewhere. I love to eat the crust of bread more than the soft inner parts, I dream and love stories, I am an artist as was he, I am affected by the full moon as was he, when I look into his eyes, the ones I see in memory, I see myself in his soul, his soul when he was a young man. His eyes were brown and mine blue, his hair brown and mine blond, now brownish.

I don’t know what facial features in my 40 something year old face look a bit like his did when he was my age, I last saw him, briefly 20 years ago. Locked out of his life once more, that time I didn’t insist or keep trying to find love. Love should be given freely not begged for. How sad really.
But you know what gift I got? His birthday date is the very date that Jason and I first kissed, it’s the date that we began our story and it turned out to contain a lot of love. All the love I always deserved.

I just can’t get over how anybody could not have loved the child that I was, and how anybody could abandon me when I was a child. I was cute and adorable, kind and I had so many talents just no confidence, I was perfect and loveworthy and nobody ever told me that. I am now telling it to myself.
He took me into urban parkland, which felt like forest to the 5 year old me, and built me forest dwellings with branches, leafs and sticks. He shared my secret daydreams and read me stories at night, he treated me with so much love and then just disappeared like as if I had never existed. I know he was thrown out for being a drinker and causing us debt, I accepted all my life that he was thrown out, until now, I don’t accept it anymore. He left because he took love with him. He took my love and my heart and his and never came back into my life.

There were occasional times when I could see him and many more times when I couldn’t. Gaslighting became a feature: It somehow became my fault that we didn’t have a relationship. That’s a lot to accuse a child of. Then he stopped opening his apartment door when I came to visit him. He denied being at home when I asked him about it on the rare occasion that I got access to him. But somebody buzzed the main house door open for me when I rang his apartment bell. How could there have been nobody inside? Gaslightling. I was told it was my mistake. Never would they not let me in. But they didn’t let me in and I know that.

So many weird experiences of rejection. Until at one point I never saw him again. Tried one time when I had just turned 18-19. Promises. So many promises. Then silence. None kept, all promised withered.
Tried again with Glenn, my boyfriend, in 1999. Got close, it ended in rejection. It ended with promises of a day spent together, I was so excited, and yet nobody answered the phone when I called to ask why they hadn’t come to pick me up. Hours passed. I felt so embarrassed to keep calling, I felt like I didn’t deserve to make such a fuss. But the message was clear: we don’t have the guts to say no to you, so we pretend we are saying yes until all the actions send the message we really want you to hear. It hurt a lot. I had arranged a separate flight back to the UK than Glenn so that I could spend this time with my father.

Stopped trying. I am glad Glenn was there with me back then, it was a difficult experience.

I thought I was over it. But every year a new wound opens and a new pain needs healing. I think you can never really get over losing your dad. I seem to lose him in regular intervals. They get longer but they still appear, always unexpected. And now I lost him again. And this time he is gone forever, a deeper more final forever than the other final forevers that came before.
Am I sad that I didn’t get to see him again? I can’t answer this honestly. I was sure that I had given up all hope and that I had completed accepting the rejection. But it hurts fresh when the one you are a physical cellular part of didn’t even think to let you know that they were dying. When nobody thinks of letting his daughter know that now he’s gone. Maybe I was hoping something tiny would be left for me, a letter addressed to me, explaining that he knows this didn’t go as it should have done, letting me know that it hurt him, too but that he didn’t know how to fix his error, however grave, of his past. Or just a photo of me that he kept all of his life. But maybe he didn’t even keep a photo of me.

That hurts. I wish he kept a photo of me, it would make my heart feel less like it is combusting with sadness and a pain I can’t describe.

I have to make my own life. I wish I had had a child. I had the opportunity but wasn’t ready for it. Now I wish I had a child, to pass what I know about being a human being onwards.

Like it was my father who taught me the guiding principles that lead me through my whole life: Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do. I also learned empathy from him, all life has feelings, don’t hurt it. It’s him who taught me this. Klaus Deubner shaped my whole life philosophy and the values that I am so proud of living by.

He was a great father, he just stopped being my father too soon. 6 years was not enough. I deserved more and so did he.

I now grieve for the father he was for those 6 years, the father he could have been, the father I always needed and didn’t have and also for the people whom I don’t know, whose lives he left gaping holes in. I am sure they are out there, hurting. I am sorry for all this pain we all felt and until October 25th, none of it was necessary. All we needed was more love.

I wish he left me a little oil painting that he made just for me, with a note and with an old photo of us together. I would be happy with that as my inheritance, it would let me know I was loved, at least a little, after all.

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Living my life between 2 continents and sometimes visiting a third.

1 Comment

  1. Vanessa says

    So much of what you said — I related to. My father hasn’t passed away, but he too abandoned me. I understand the hurt of gas lighting and empty promises. I’m sorry for your loss and all the conflicting emotions that come with it.

    And if it’s worth anything- it is not too late to have a child. Even if not biological. I’m sure you would make a wonderful mother.

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