The Story I Never Told
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The Story I Never Told

Forgiveness

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The Story I Never Told
Nikidah Clinton

I remember like it was yesterday. The year of 2001, I was 12 years old. Awakened out of my nap by my Auntie Gina (my mother's best friend). My left arm being held by Auntie Gina while I follow her into my mother's room. I knewsomething was wrong; mommy could barely look me in my eyes. Inside my mother's bedroom was mommy, Auntie Gina and Wanda. Wanda was a friend of my mom's who also lived in our apartment building. Awkward silence filled the room until my mom finally opened up her mouth to inform me that my daddy had passed away.

In the split of a second I just completely lost it all. I felt confused, alone, lost, and afraid. All of those emotions taking over not just my mind, but my body and soul. I'm crying hysterically while Mommy cries with me, holding me, while assuring me that everything will be alright.

A week goes by as I am preparing to prepare for my father's home going services. Mommy did my hair in pretty pony tails with Shirley temple curls. She made sure I looked so pretty while seeing my dad for the last time. Mommy didn't attend the services with me, she just wanted to remember Daddy as he was, so she decided to not attend. So, my Uncle Al (Auntie Gina's husband) took me to my daddy's wake.

I walked into the funeral home and honestly, it felt awkward. I didn't know anybody there but my daddy of course and my Uncle Al. Everyone around me were complete strangers. As I stood at my Daddy's casket with my back towards the crowd silence grew around the funeral home. It seems that everyone grew interested in the little girl was standing at the casket.

Soon after sharing a moment with my dad I was greeted by my Uncle Al and a woman. This woman was so happy to see me. She began to tell me how much I look like my daddy, how I have his nose, etc. Her ranting on about how much I look like my dad brought tears to my eyes. My Uncle then began to introduce the woman to me as my Daddy's wife. I had never met her before or even knew what she looked like, but that day put an end to that.

The next day was the day my Dad was being laid to rest. My mother still couldn't face seeing my Dad in a casket and my Uncle had to work so this time my Auntie Joann took me to the funeral. Walking inside the church was just as awkward as walking inside the funeral parlor the day before because once again everyone is staring at me like I'm the new ghost in town or something. I followed behind my Auntie Joann to take seat while waiting for the services to begin. My aunt noticed how they had the church set up for friends on one side and family on the other. My Auntie looked at me and said "Now you go on to that family side on over there and sit down. This is your father's funeral, you are his family." (In her Southern country voice) I did notwant to sit over there. I didn't know anyone; I was a kid and I wasn't comfortable. My Auntie was right, though. That was my Dad, I am not a friend of the family so I'm going to sit on the family side. So I moved my seat.

It turned out not to be a good idea. An usher from the church personally came over and told me I needed to go and sit on the "friends" side because the side I was on was for family only. Wow! Yeah, an usher from a church during a funeral service came over to a 12-year-old during a funeral and told me to basically get up and go to another side because I'm "not considered family." Now I'm just beyond hurt. Not only because my father is gone, but I can't even watch him have a proper home going service because I'm "not considered family?" Not to mention my Dad's obituary... my name was not listed on there at all, only his other 2 children were.

I cried so hard while traveling to the cemetery to lay my father to rest. As my Aunt drove, she just encouraged me that everything will be ok. That if my Daddy's family wouldn't accept me, so be it. At least I knew how my father felt about me and as long as he accepted me and treated me like Daddy's little girl that's all I needed.

My aunt, myself and a bunch of strangers (to me) gathered around my Dad's burial site. The pastor said a prayer, I threw my flowers on top of Daddy's casket and walked away with Auntie towards her car with tears just stuck in my eyes. I couldn't believe I had just buried my dad. I couldn't believe he was no longer here and I couldn't believe my ears. I wasn't considered family? What was that about? If only I knew, but I was 12 years old and left in the dark, I had no clue.

My Auntie and I were sitting in the car waiting for all cars in front of us to pull off so we can make our exit out of the cemetery. Suddenly, 2 guys walked up to my Auntie's car and motioned me to roll the window down. At this point I was scared. I didn't know what to expect. However, come to find out the 2 guys were my Dad's brothers. Uncle Tim and Uncle Joel. They were so happy to see me, gave me great big hugs and told me they wanted to be a part of my life. They apologized for what happened at the church and told me not to worry about anyone else. They began to talk more about how I am there family and we need to keep in touch. This brought tears of joy to my eyes because I lived for this day. I never knew my dad's side of the family and never understood why. But sharing this moment with my uncles was priceless. They wrote their contact information on my daddy's obituary and told me to contact them. We talked for a while before the disrespect began.

Before I knew it, two women in their mid-20s came storming towards my uncles and me. They came over screaming and yelling. Yelling things to my uncles such as, "WHY ARE YOU OVER HERE WITH HER? SHE IS NOT YOUR NIECE AND OUR FATHER IS NOT HER FATHER!" They began to say things like, "GET AWAY YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE!" They spat on my Auntie's car and just kept saying the most hurtful things to me. My uncles pushed them away and tried to calm the two women but they were both uncontrollable. Then, another woman came over to join the disrespectfulness. Her face was all too familiar. She was the woman at my father's wake who told me how beautiful I was and how I looked just like him. What changed her behavior towards me so quick? Or were her actions/words at the wake ever real? Was it a fake? My uncles apologized to me and asked that I please keep in contact as I pulled out of the cemetery with tears flooded in my eyes trying to understand everything that just happened to me at the age of 12.

I didn't get it. I didn't understand. How two women, oh wait excuse me... three women can say and do such mean things to a child. When my mother found out what happened, she was furious. Come to find out the two women were my father's oldest daughters and the other woman was his wife. Apparently, they weren't too fond of me. My dad had an affair with my mom and that's how I came about. My dad always told me I had two older sisters and always promised me a day of meeting them. What young kid isn't excited to learn they have older sibling? I just never understood why I couldn't meet them. But I finally learned. There was no me, according to them. I was nobody to them.

I grew up hating these two females. Yes, I know hate is a strong word buy you guys have to understand how bad that situation traumatized me. I was 12, had just lost my dad and they treated me like pure shit during our father's funeral. As years went on by, I thought about my two sisters. Of course I did. I wondered what they look like, how old they are, if they have kids, etc. But I didn't miss the memories that we never had. That one memory of them was enough. I wanted nothing to do with them ever.

That situation at my dad's funeral scarred me for a very long time. I never reached out to my uncles who wrote their information on my dad's obituary. I never even went back to my dad's grave site ever; I was afraid I would run into his wife or his other children again. When I tell you I was scarred, I was really scarred.

Well that was 2001; it's now 15 years later. Boy, does time fly. Still never connected to anyone from my dad's side of the family, but I decided to close that chapter in my life. I've moved on from that. However, I did come across some one on Facebook: my sister. Yes, I came across one of the women who treated me so wrong 15 years ago. I happened to grab my dad's obituary and type in her name and wow-- it's my sister. Should I send her a message? I mean, why should I have to reach out? I reached out though. I sent her a message asking if she knew who I was. She didn't know.

Suddenly, her next message to me was...."OMG IT'S MY BABY SISTER!" She couldn't believe I found her. She asked me so many questions about myself and then asked if she could call me. CALL? Umm, I was too nervous for a phone conversation with my sister. I wasn't ready for that. But I some courage and answered her phone call. Wow, I can't believe I'm on the phone with my sister. We're really both on the phone laughing and crying tears of joy. Suddenly, she shifts the conversation to a more serious note. She busted out in tears and apologized to me. She apologized for all harm she had done with her mouth on that day 15 years ago and I felt how sincere it was. I began to cry with her because you hear the pain and guilt in her voice. She begged me to forgive her... and I did. We told each other we wanted to build a relationship and since then we have. My sister sent me to her state, where I met her, my brother in law and my niece. I was so nervous to meet them. But once I got around them I felt so comfortable. I felt like family. I felt that I needed to be there. Me and my sister talked for hours in the night. I stated for about 2 weeks and it was great.

I never thought that day would come but it did! I know our father is so happy right now. As far as my other sister, she's still not fond of me. She doesn't agree with her sister having a relationship with me. Same goes for my dad's wife. She does not agree with my sister having a relationship with me. Smh, 15 years later and you're still holding on to that same grudge. Sad. But I'm ok with that. My sister asked for my forgiveness for something that happened 15 years ago and I forgave her. Now her and I have the best relationship that I cold ever ask for. I know Daddy is so happy We love you daddy, always and forever!

Forgiveness!

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