I have lost so many people in my life. My “father” by blood left my mother and me when I was 3 or 4. He ran away to South Korea in the middle of the night with my mom’s best friend and took all the money my mom had earned cleaning buildings when she didn’t know a lick of english and left us with nothing. Thank God that my mom had some saved money on the side, just in case. She was a dreamer, fighter, magnificent, and gorgeous… but she was careful. The world had burned her too many times. He didn’t work a day in his life. He used her for a green card. Yes, that happens with Asians. I don’t have one fond memory of him. Only him beating my mom and many drunk days/nights where his behavior was absolutely irrational. My mother re-married to my step-father, who I’ve considered my dad for most of my life. To be clear, a “father/sperm donor” vs. a “dad” are two totally different things.
However, I lost my mother recently to a brain tumor and breast cancer, and soon after that I lost my step dad but in a different way. He met a new woman and re-married within a year and pretty much forgot about me (his step-daughter who considered him a real father for over 20 years). If he had continued to treat me the same, I wouldn’t feel the way that I do (or so I think).. But he is a completely different person now. I’ve known him as my father for over 20 years and now I have no idea who he is. He has two other children from a previous marriage, and I’m starting to understand how they must have felt when we came into the picture. He has his own way of compartmentalizing and detaching himself from anything in the past. To the point that he lied to his wife and begged of me to never to let his new wife know that I am not his blood daughter and that he was previously married before my mom and has a son and daughter from his first marriage.
I am broken. I put on many acts at times to be the social “Somi” who is carefree, friendly, loving, cheerful, thoughtful, fun, and has no cares in the world. But the loss of identity continually stirs in my soul. I am struggling so hard between the meaning of “family”. My family by blood has done nothing but betray me, excluding a few people. But my friends whom I consider my family, have almost never let me down. I need to get away from the societal definitions of what “family” means. Each person is different. Each family is crazy in their own ways. I know I am not the only one who has family issues and I am on the path of trying to re-define my life with these new revelations. Blood is not thicker than water. This is the truth. I have had friends who have stuck by me in all my trials and tribulations over many years, when on the other hand, not one family member thought it was important enough to attend my mothers funeral because they live in Cali. This is mostly me venting… But I just wanted to put words on paper, so I can have a reminder that my friends, my husband, my in-laws… they have all treated me more like family then any blood ties that I have had. It is difficult to feel abandoned, to say that you no longer have a mom or a real father or a dad… but I need to be thankful for those who I do have. Those that remember my mom’s death anniversary and will do anything to cheer me up. Those who cry with me, when I’m having a panic attack because they feel my pain. Those who I can call in the middle of the night and TELL them I’m staying over because my husband and I got in a fight and if I don’t leave, I’ll probably end up karate chopping him in the throat.
I hope people in my situation can take this information and take a moment to realize the good they have in their life. Regardless of the family drama, you can lead a great life with a great family, because how family is defined is by your own definition.
“Family isn’t always blood. It is the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what” – Unknown