The Loss OF My Italian Family
When my parents
divorced, all ties with my dad's side of the family were
My brother, sister, and
I thought that my father's family quit loving us because of
my parents’ break-up. Especially since we never received any
correspondence from that side of the family. Years later, my
mother told me that my father had forbidden her to interact
with his family. She claimed that he threatened to hurt her
if she did. Remembering when he hit her, I could understand
why she took him seriously.
Initially however, when
we were forced to move to North Carolina, my siblings and I
told ourselves that our relatives had trouble finding the
time and money to contact us because of the distance. Years
later, my mother told me that she felt that my father had
lied to a lot of his relatives, his friends, and their
mutual friends. I have no reason to disbelieve her, since I
have never caught her in a lie. We all felt that, if his
relatives had really wanted to see us, they would have moved
Heaven and Earth to do so.
In addition to not
hearing from my Italian family after the divorce, There was
many times I would wake up to the sound of my poor mother
weeping on the phone; pouring her heart out to a friend or
relative or Father McDermac, complaining about the fact that
my father was not sending any child support. She was frantic
because the lack of child support crippled her ability to
care for us.
As I lay in the
darkness, hearing my mother complaining cause confusion and
despair. Confusion, because my father had bragged many times
to family and friends that he was made sixty thousand a
I felt despair, because I
felt that this meant he did not care about my siblings and
me. Whenever someone asked my mother about a possible reason
as to why he would not pay child support, my mother simply
said that my father thought that she had brought the
punishment upon herself by divorcing him.
By my father's own
admission, his hurt and rage over my mother leaving him
clouded his thinking and caused him to do things that he was
not proud of.
My father acted like
the leaders of countries that willfully force economic
sanctions against countries that they feel have wronged
them. They may be sorry that the citizens feel the pain, but
this does not cause them to hesitate to use innocents as
hostages of misery.
I am not bringing all
of this forth because I still harbor a grudge against my
father. I am merely explaining why my siblings and I came to
the logical conclusion that, if our father did not love us
enough to be concerned with our health and welfare, there
was no reason anyone else in his family should.
“After all, we thought, why
should they... seeing as they were one or more people
removed from us?”
“Why should they...since we
were not their children?”
It really hurt us to
see that other kids had fathers who, despite feeling hateful
towards their ex-wives, gladly paid child support, and these
men rarely made one-fourth the amount my father made. As a
matter of fact, they seemed to go out of their way to spend
time with their kids.
Before the divorce, it
wasn’t like our father interacted with us that much. He
couldn’t because the merchant marines kept him away and busy
most of the time. We understood and accepted this.
However, when he was not at
sea, he rarely interacted with us, the few times he did, he
was fun, unless I was on the receiving end of a football. To
be honest, I missed my dad when he was at sea, but mostly it
was low level, because it was all we knew. I guess we felt
he was away because he loved us. However, finding out that
our dad cared so little about us that he would rather see us
starve or suffer just to get revenge on my mother, hurt the
three of us kids more than we could ever truly describe.
The comparisons between
our father and other kids fathers did much to amplify our
grief, our pain, and sometimes, I suppose a sense of
Years after the divorce
years, my father got in the habit of taking us out to big
expensive and fancy dinners. I did not like the fact that my
father preferred to spend a lot of money on us when we would
have been just as pleased (more pleased, actually) to go to
the zoo instead.
Another reason that I
felt uncomfortable about those dinners was that my dad would
always imply that, if it were not for my mother, we would be
spending all of this quality time together, times ten.
In addition, whenever
he took us to these expensive restaurants, he always had a
nice looking woman with him. I felt as if we were somehow
being used as window dressing, part of a display to impress
the woman. I could be wrong.