“We are sick with the virus” says my stepmother. She has been married to my biological father for over 20 years now. I was never raised with my biological father. To my recollection, I had seen him throughout my childhood only when my mother took him to court for a raise in child support. The last time I saw him was when I was in my early teens. That was when New York State and my mother took him to court to seek approval for my mother to sign me over to the foster care system. I reunited with him when I sought him out at the age 18. Since then I have missed my half-brothers’ birthdays, celebrations and holidays with that side of my family. From the absence of births to the silence of my voice during difficult times of deaths, I had envisioned more time to get it right the next time. Time to learn about each other. Time to spend with one another. Time to heal from the past. The time it would take me to forgive. Covid-19 has captured me into a time of reflection.
My absences remained throughout these past 10 years because of jealousy, anger, and the unwillingness to forgive. My feelings are validated for the actions my biological father took or the lack thereof of other actions throughout my life. I do still hold resentment towards him but I don’t want him or my step mother, or two brothers to go out of this world before their time. Before we tell each other “I love you”. Before I call him, “dad” or “pops”. I told my 19-year old brother on the phone a few days ago that I loved him. That was the first time. He responded with “I love you too” yet I don’t even know him well enough to determine how genuine that was or whether he responded out of reaction, repulse and/or awkward obligation. Immediately after I hung up the phone, I sat deep in my thoughts, wondering if that was this the wrong time to tell him that I loved him. I wonder if I will have time to love him longer. Time to know my brothers. I wonder if I will have time to take my time before I fully forgive. Time to forgive my biological father. Forgive my stepmother.
Time may be running out sooner than I expected. I’ll continue to think through how I want to navigate through communicating with them during this time. This virus has enforced me to be humble. It’s knocking on the door yelling stop saying “I have more time”.