22 September 2011

My Big News: Orin

On Tuesday, after the debacle with PGW ended, I was talking to my mom.  Somewhere in the middle, she tells me that she needs my father's phone number.  For those of you not in the know, she and my father divorced when I was two (that's well over 30 years ago).  It was NOT an amicable split, and things have happened since that validated my mom's decision to leave him.

So, this was rather odd.  I asked her if I was allowed to ask why she need it.  She said I was.  Apparently, Orin had called and left a message with her husband Dale.  He said he has cancer and wanted to talk to her.  Dale asked Orin for his number, and Orin told Dale that Mom could get it from me.  So Mom and I really think that this is really just Orin's way of letting me know what's going on; he doesn't ACTUALLY want to talk to Mom (or he does, but just to ask her to tell me).

I'll cut to the chase here - through a series of events, I have found out that Orin has cancer of the lungs, which has metastasised to his brain.  I still haven't spoken to Orin, so that's really all I know, except that when he spoke to one of his oldest friends Denny (who is the brother of my mom's best friend Juliah), Orin was apparently crying so hard he couldn't speak.

Now, those of you who don't know me well or who haven't known me long might be asking why Orin and I aren't communicating directly.  Well, we've been through several periods of estrangement, and this is the latest.  Two years ago, I asked him to stop sending me racist emails because I got tired of it.  He continued.  I thought "maybe he doesn't understand what's racist and what isn't."  So I simplified the directive and asked him to limit his email communication to only personal correspondence, such as talking about each other's lives, what the family is doing, what's going on, etc.  But he continued to send hateful things.  I told him if he sent anything else, I would change my email address.  When he sent something else, I reminded him of my earlier message (telling him that I would change my email address and he would no longer be able to contact me via email), and his reply was "I have a delete button - don't you?" which told me that he didn't care at all about my feelings about the issues (let alone about the larger issue that he's sending racist emails to his daughter who happens to a minority member).

Since then, I've never heard from him.  Bear in mind that I haven't moved and my phone number remains the same.  At no time did I say that I wanted him out of my life completely.  I only wanted to stop receiving racist bullshit from him.  He's the one who didn't call me the next month at Thanksgiving, the month after that at Christmas, or the month after that on my birthday.  But now he's telling Juliah that she or Mom need to let me know that he's sick because I cut him out of my life.  I don't respect the way he's trying to put people in the middle of our crap, for one thing.  I feel like he needs to stop being a coward, man-up, and pick up and phone.

He's proven (not just by these recent incidents, but throughout his entire life) that he's selfish, he's abusive, and he's incapable of processing how others feel about a given situation.  I've also come to realise (as an adult) that part of this is due to his alcoholism.  So I'm stressed and confused because while I DO care about him and what he's going through, I also NEED to maintain some healthy boundaries to protect myself.  How do I do this while showing some compassion for his situation?  How can I handle this situation as a good Christian, but not blindly be pulled back into drama-land?

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