Advice Needed By People Who Share My Experience, Please!

I am so glad I have found this site, and I desperately need advice. My father abandoned me and my three brothers when we were young. I have not seen or heard from him in 30 years. I have been angry, hurt, confused... all of it. I have been through therapy and mostly sorted through my emotions, as much as you can from something like this. Now as a 35 year old woman, happily married with two wonderful children, I thought this was all behind me. I don't think about him, he doesn't affect me, and I've learned that in spite of him and what he's done, I can go on to have a good life. After all, he did this. It is his burden and his sin. Last night I got a call from my mom telling me that she has talked to my father, and he is dying of lymphoma. He was given 6 months to live and is now coming to the end of that 6 months. My mother needed him to sign something for a military disability insurance, as he was married to her when she was injured in the navy. She had to pay money to have him tracked down. She called his house and talked to his new wife. His wife said that she has urged him over the years to get in touch with us kids, but he says to her "the past is the past and I don't talk about the past". Whatever that is supposed to mean. My mom said she really struggled with telling my brothers and I. But in the end, felt we had a right to know. Initially, the hurt child in me said, 'good, I'm glad he's dying, I don't care'. But I couldn't sleep last night. I'm not sad. At least I don't think I am. I cannot honestly figure out how I'm feeling. I'm bothered?? I don't know. It affected me about as much as hearing that somebody you have heard of, or a distant acquaintance is sick and dying. Death is sad, I feel bad for anybody dying of cancer. But I cannot say that I feel a loss. I think that only somebody who has also been abandoned by their father would understand this. I was a child when he left. It took a lot of time and therapy, and I'm still not 'over' it, I don't think I ever will be. It effects my relationship with my husband, probably all of my relationships as an adult. But you grow with it, you adapt. And now this. What do I do with this? I told my mom: Ok, well thank you for telling me. I understand why you felt you should, but I don't care. I'm not going to do anything with this.
So now, after a sleepless night and another day of thinking about it. Here is what I'm feeling. He's dying, that's sad. But I haven't seen him for 30 years. I'm not going to feel a loss. And he didn't call us. He didn't think 'right, I'm dying, it's time to make things right with my kids'. My mom called him. She found him, because he was a witness to an injury 40 years ago and she needs a witness signature. One thing that I can say bothers me is, he didn't ask about us. He didn't ask how his children are, ask for our phone numbers or addresses. Nothing. And now I feel like a teenager again, sitting here thinking the bastard still doesn't care about us.
My husband thinks that I should get in touch with him. He says that maybe not now, maybe not for a while, but someday I will regret it if I don't. I wont call him. I don't want to talk to him. I don't think I could be pleasant even if he's dying. But I'm thinking I might write to him. Not for his sake, but for mine.
Now I'm sat here on my bed, and for the life of me, I cannot even imagine what I would write him. He's an old man now, and very sick. I'm not going to rant and rave about how he hurt me and how could he just leave us and never look back. But I'm also not about to write him telling him that I forgive him and I'm sorry that he's dying and tell him I love him.
So I started searching online and found this group. A group of people, who know what I feel. Have been through it. People who can understand how difficult this is. I don't know what to do. I don't know how I feel.
My husband says, just call him. He's dying and you should tell him you love him while you can. But he will never understand what it does to your soul when your father leaves you. My husband has a wonderful father, who is a wonderful grandfather to our kids. He cannot know what it's like for me. I don't want to tell him I love him. I don't even know for sure if I want to write him. that is why I need advice. Somebody please help me. I want this scar to stay closed. But I think, not now, not even after he's dead. But maybe when I'm an old lady and I'm dying, then I might wish I had said something. My husband says 'what harm can come from writing him a letter?'. So I have been thinking of that today. Well, I can write him, and find that he never writes back (would I even want him to? would I even include my return address?) then once again, he abandons me. I go through all this turmoil about writing him after what he's done to me and my brothers, and once again he ignores me. OR, and this might even be worse, what if he does contact me. What if he gives me some ridiculous story about how he has tried to contact us over the years but for one reason or another he couldn't find us (this is what my husband says, maybe he did try to find wont know unless you get in touch). That would infuriate me. We didn't go anywhere. We were right where he left us.
I guess I just want some input from other people who have also been left by their father. What would you do. What do you think I should do? Two of my brothers say they have no plan to contact him. My other brother wants to get on a plane and confront him tell him what a horrible person he is for leaving us. And then there is me. I almost feel sorry for him. I'm not angry at him anymore. And my reasons for writing are a bit selfish. I just don't want anymore hurt or regret over this man. I think that I want to write him for me. For my closure and my benefit.
any help would be greatly appreciated.
sc34uk sc34uk
1 Response May 3, 2012

SC,<br />
I am not sure that I can offer the help you are looking for. Unfortunately, these important decisions are so personal that it is difficult to suggest what may or may not be the right decision. Even so, I will say this. Your scar is already opened. Your father has been thrust back into the forefront of your life and whether you contact him or not, the hurt you are experiencing is real and natural and it is perfectly okay. Your decision to write your father is not selfish in a bad way. If you believe sending him a letter will be helpful to you, it is selfish only in the sense that you are putting yourself first. You are demonstrating that you value yourself and your happiness, and if that is somehow offensive to your father, so be it. You are not intentionally hurting him-- you have said that is not what you are attempting to do. AND you may still hurt him. AND that is okay. Sometimes we hurt people in our lives. Honestly, I do not know what I would do if I were you. I don't know specifically that is. But in general I would want to express to my father (who I haven't seen in 18 years) that his absence affected me. That it was challenging to grow up without him, and that it would mean a lot for me to know that he is aware of the impact of his decision to leave. It sounds selfish and maybe it is. Still, if I am selfish just this once in all 18 or 30 years, I personally believe that is healthy. I wish you well and hope that you are able to make peace with your decision, whatever that may be.<br />