I have spent two days bawling my eyes out. Sunday was my dad’s 5th birthday since his death and it was the hardest one since the first.
Since having children, I have missed my father more and more every day. My daughter reminds me of him so much and these past few months, I’ve realised again how much he shaped me.
But see, just short of my 21st birthday, my dad, my hero, turned his back on me for the last time. His explanation at the time? Apparently he was not my biological father. Eight years later, he would expand on this, saying I had made my step mother’s life difficult and this added to his decision to toss me aside.
Now, dearest family, I have a few things to say to you on this. First off, I don’t know what happened between my parents, I don’t know what happened between you and my mother, I don’t know what my father’s wife demanded and I don’t know what he told you lot. When it comes to this family, I’m pretty much the girl who got fired after a meeting she wasn’t privy to and the minutes of which she is not allowed to see. Here is what I do know. I don’t give a flying fuck (excuse my French) what happened between the adults. I DO know what happened for the child in this sordid little tale. She. Lost. Her. Father. He didn’t die. He just walked off into the mist, leaving behind a bewildered girl. Wondering what she could have possibly done that was so terrible that her daddy stopped loving her. And he took with him her identity, her heritage, her sense of self and her family.
And what did you do when your brother, son, cousin tossed his little girl aside? Nothing. Oh, wait, that’s not true. You closed the trash can. You excluded me from my father’s funeral and you forgot my fucking name! The correct response would have been “Seriously, Ron? 21 years of being her dad. 21 years of having a daughter. You’re going to throw it and her away for something she has nothing to do with? Wtf, brother? If you want the truth, demand tests (but she kinda looks like Mom and she’s neither of ours). But seriously, none of this is her issue, so don’t be a dick.”
Only L and M had the guts to do anything close to that. And boy, have they paid for it. Here’s the thing, though. The last I saw Gran, she begged me to confront Dad, to “sweep the pigeons under the rug” and reclaim my place in this family. In her words “You are not taking anything that isn’t yours.” (Yes, she was lucid at the time). I didn’t have the guts back then, but I’m working on it.
People ask why I kept my maiden name. Some think I’m full of shit. Some think I’m a disrespectful wife. Some think I’m a fool. I tell them how “being a Johnstone-Robertson” is beaten into you from a young age and was completely ingrained in my identity. And that’s true to some degree, but the full truth? It’s the one way I have of claiming and holding onto my identity and my heritage. I cling desperately to the name I was told I have no right to.
But here’s a headline for you. I am here. I am entitled to my family. I am Tamarah Dee Johnstone-Robertson.
AND I AM RON’S DAUGHTER.