My mother would write me newsy letters. She wrote like she talked full of family and neighbour talk. Every week.
After she died, my father carried on. Writing me every week, getting pissed when I didn't respond immediately and reprimanding me mildly when he had to wait impatiently for responses. His writing was tiny, he would cram so much on to 2 pages, exactly 2 pages.
In this one (May 1991) he hits me on the head in the opening sentence:
"I thought you had given up the matter of letter writing".And
"A pity you were not able to visit us this year."- Well, Dad, I was broke. Single mum. 2 kids.
He proceeds on page 2 to tell me - without consultation, as always - when he would arrive in Canada for his annual visit - August 17th. Which was 1 day after my birthday. And then guilts me again with:
"you know the old saying if the mountain won't come to....etc..."
Thusly I would give up my measly vacation time to spend it with him.
We didn't have the best of relationships my dad and I. I felt obligated as he was a widower. He loved one of my kids and despised the other which made things awkward in my home. So I would take him away on trips to the states or the maritimes or touring Ontario.
We made half-hearted attempts to cross the distance between us. But I could never quite surmount the fear I had of him as when I was growing up he was a cruel, abusive and emotionally unavailable martinet.
But the last time we went away together, to Nova Scotia, he abused me verbally for the very last time. Post therapy, I stood up to him, declared my boundaries, and from then on he was no longer welcome in my home.
Subsequently, to my surprise, in all our interactions, he treated me with respect and yes, a little fear too.