I found him anyway. Serendipitous bit. Another story. A story that confirms that bit about all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. One of those good people had enough one day, and gave me his phone number the next.
I met my father when I was 30. And my adored little sister when she was 10. The weight of a non-existent past is surprisingly heavy.
We learned about each other in bits and pieces. He never tried to step into a false role. He referred to himself as my' Pops', but I preferred 'Dad.' We always discussed things as equals. He told me the stories about how he had tried and tried. How he always thought about us; me and my brother. How he always knew we'd find each other somehow. Some way. Some day.
We made our way over the last years. I often disagreed with his positions on issues, but he always made me giggle with the almost maniacal fever of his assertions. He was all about some very odd theories of the end of the world. I didn't realize the end of ours would come about so soon.
I was in CVS picking out cards. Cards for Bear's father and step-father. Cards for Rio's grandfathers. Cards for Bear from Rio. She opened a musical card that played 'Freebird.' It was a jokey card about a dad not being too old to rock and roll. And I'm surprised I was surprised by the tears. They pricked my eyes and I had to struggle to keep them contained. The thick, gray sadness that has gradually gotten easier to bear, came back almost unbearably hard. I miss my father still. Always. Deep.
If I could send him a card today, I'd pick that one that played 'Freebird' and I would sign it with love. I'd tell him he was not too old to rock and roll. I would promise to keep his stories, and the memory of him alive for Rio. I would promise to watch over Valencia, although she needs it less and less. I would include pictures of my happy little family, including the dog, because he loved animals AND cautioned me to always kiss my husband before kissing the dog. I might include a picture of me kissing the dog. I would tell him I love him and I miss him. I would tell him he's a great dad. Maybe the greatest. Certainly the most missed.