Ronald James Babb

My parents in the 60s
My parents in the 60s

Last week my dad died. I think it was sometime last week, some time before last Saturday is the best date that I have right now. Even saying that we had a complicated relationship is a stretch and giving it more weight that it has. We had no relationship. The last time I saw him was in 1994. The valid reasons of why he didn’t want to be in my sister’s and my lives was never explained. We have theories, but I guess no one ever leaves and tells their children why they aren’t going to stay in contact.

He lived nearby, in the same town where we grew up, childhood friends would see him from time to time. I think my sister has a high school friend who’s dad knew him. We would get occasional updates, but nothing more than “I saw your dad near the library.”

He died of kidney failure in his sleep at a care center.

I don’t know what or how to feel. There is a finality to it. I think that until now, I maybe had occasional thoughts that there was still a chance for things to be different, that maybe we could reunite, have a relationship as adults and get to know each other. I knew it probably wouldn’t happen, but until now, it was an option. Now, it’s not.

On Tuesday, I will go pick up his ashes from the coroner’s office and his belongings from the care facility. Then, I will go to his place and see about what I need to do there. This is the part that seems the most unreal to me. I don’t feel like I have any claim to these things and he must have had someone in his life in the past 20 years that knew him, someone he spent holidays with or friends or something. It doesn’t seem like he did. I know he and his twin sister don’t speak, she has been unreachable by everyone looking for a next of kin.

I guess it really means that he was not running away from us to someone else, he was just running away. He didn’t disappear because of something I did or didn’t do or was or wasn’t. He left for his own reasons.  It’s too bad that he didn’t feel he could talk about it.  It’s too bad we missed the last 20 years of each other’s lives.  It’s too bad.

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