I had a realization today. I am the exact same age as my dad was when he was killed by a drunk semi-truck driver – 42. Somehow it didn’t occur to me until today.
For years I didn’t know if he was alive or not. The last time I saw him, I was only 3, nearly 40 years ago. It’s a long story, but I was denied having him in my life after that. He promised to find me when I turned 18, and that entire year I was hopeful that one day he’d magically disappear. I was disappointed when he didn’t.
After that I dove myself into my studies, determined that when I finally found him, he’d know I wasn’t there to try and get money from him in order to go to college. I had to beg for every $1 in financial aid I received, and I still had to work three part-time jobs in order to make ends meet.
I graduated, worked in my chosen field for a year and moved to Colorado before beginning my search.
I used the web, and found a name and address that seemed promising, and I wrote a letter. I was intentionally cryptic, in case he had a family. I didn’t want to reveal who I was until I knew I would be accepted. Within a week or so, I received an email from the recipient of my letter. It was a female and she was being equally cryptic. It took a few exchanges before we admitted to each other who we were, and it turned out, she was father’s daughter – my sister.
Not only did I find one of my siblings – I found three! My father had had three other daughters, the oldest born 7 years after me. I also found a step-mother, two step-sisters and a grandmother. However, by then my father was long gone.
I flew back to Chicago to meet them all, and we shared stories and were amazed by the similarities we shared. That is when I learned about what happened to my father, and why he was never able to come find me when I turned 18. He had died years before in a horrific car accident in 1983, when I was only 11. The same year my maternal grandfather. I lost my father and my father figure the same year, and I never knew it.
When I first learned about it, I thought “wow 42 is too young to die” but that age seemed a long way off to me. I was just in my mid-20s at the time. Now I’m here … I’m the one that’s 42.
I’m realizing now, how very young 42 really is.