Before I solicit advice, I need to offer background information on the situation in which I find myself perplexed.
It all started January 1, 1984. Yes I know it was a while back, but it sticks out in my mind like it transpired yesterday. I don’t ever remember my parents arguing prior to that night, but something happened and it caused my dad to pack his stuff and leave. Just a few weeks later, I was visiting him at his new place, with his new girlfriend and her two kids, one of whom I went to school with. Was the reason he left that he got caught cheating on my mom? I don’t know and really don’t care. He left and from that point on, it was hit or miss if I was to see or hear from him. I remember times he would pick me up from my house and drop me off at a friend of the family’s place and pick me up several hours later. Then he just quit coming around.
When he wanted to “show me off” to his new flavor of the month, my mom would get a phone call and I would get to see my dad. I was twelve the time I was introduced to his new wife when we picked her up at the high school. No she wasn’t a teacher or employee, she was a senior. Barely eighteen, if I remember correctly. That lasted long enough for me to get a step-sister that I’ve never met.
Once I started driving, I would make the trip to see him. I got to meet his fifth and current wife during that time. He was invited and showed up to my wedding. He was invited and showed up when my kiddo was born. Even after they criticized me about my decision to take a full time position with the Tennessee Army National Guard, I still made an effort to rebuild my relationship with him. We both made trips to see each other during the first couple years after my kiddo was born. I was hoping that he had made the change that would help him want to be in his grandson’s life. But then he showed me his true colors one weekend and I haven’t spoke to him since.
He called and asked if we wanted to come up and spend the weekend with them. We didn’t have anything going on, so I said we would love to. We drove up Friday evening and had a nice dinner. I thought it was going to be a great weekend until I woke up on Saturday morning. He asked me to ride with him to pick up something and of course I said I would. We were driving to pick up a rental truck to empty his father-in-law’s house. So basically I was free labor. Which I helped, but I had horrible feelings about his concealing the details of the weekend. I would have still come to help, had I known that was the reason for the trip. But the sheer fact that I was intentionally duped, I made the conscience decision that I had had enough. I wasn’t going to continue to try to build a relationship with someone that just wanted me around when it was convenient for them or when it made them look good. I haven’t spoken with him since.
Shortly after that, he called and left me a message on my home phone telling me that he had cancer and was dying and if I wanted to know when he passed away, to call him and let him know. I didn’t know what to think. He had lied to me or exaggerated the truth for the majority of my life. I never knew if he was telling me the truth or feeding me a line. I left the message on my machine to think about it for a couple of days. I made up my mind to give him a call and went to the answering machine to retrieve the number, only to find out that someone had deleted the message. I didn’t know where he was living or how to get in touch with him, so I had decided that it was just not meant for me to call him.
A few days ago, I received a message on Facebook from his step-daughter. “Listen, I don’t know what happened between you and your dad. I don’t really care, it’s none of my business. But I want you to know that he seriously has very little time left. I’m talking weeks if he’s lucky. He is basically starving to death and wasting away. I know that he wants to see you or at least be able to talk to you before he leaves this world. Please put aside any petty crap that has made you disown him as your father and call him. I hope I’m not wasting my time by sending you this.”
I am now at a loss regarding what to do. Is he on his deathbed this time? Is it a ploy to get me to call him? Is it another exaggerated truth? Or is it just another lie?
Does anyone have any suggestions? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!