Q. Dear Gase, I’m a young lady aged 25; my parents separated so I was brought up by my mum and her parents.
In 2012 my mum remarried and the elders explained that my brother and I should not go with my mum to her new home but should instead remain with our biological father’s family because that is where we originate.
We agreed to remain at our mum’s home.
Now the big issue is that my grandparents have passed on; my brother and I are now left using our dad’s last name, a man who never took any responsibility or whatsoever in raising us.
My brother and I took action by paying him a visit to discuss the fact that we do not really know our identity as he abandoned us years ago. He assured us that he’s now with us and we’re welcome in his home.
What hurts is that he remarried without informing us and it is evident that the woman he married does not welcome us in their lives.
She has often told me that when I’m at her house I’m not visiting her but her husband.
She does not even respond to my greetings.
When I bring this to my dad’s attention he says nothing about it.
My problem is that I do not know who I am; it’s now too late for my dad and I to get to know each other well as my brother and I are not welcome in his home.
I have a dilemma as to whether or not I should revert to my grandfather’s last name; all I want is peace and nothing else.
It’s difficult for me to answer when people ask who I am.
I sometimes wonder what last name I will give to my children.
My brother wanted to take the matter to the customary court but I talked him out of it, saying we needed to find a way to reconcile with our dad; now it looks like that is not going to be possible.
The truth is that you and your brother are over the age of 21 and are at that stage in life where you’re no longer under the care of parent/grandparents and can now make your own decisions concerning your lives.
If your dad has said that you’re welcome in his life and his home but then you find that his wife is unwelcoming, there’s nothing you can do about it as you cannot force her to love you…especially when your dad is just lukewarm about this whole matter.
It seems he was just paying lip service when he said he’s with you and you’re welcome in his home.
If he really meant it, he would have convinced his wife to at least be civil; instead, she’s downright hostile…she won’t accept or at least acknowledge your greetings…to put it bluntly, she doesn’t love you, she doesn’t want you.
The fact that your dad is not saying anything about his wife’s attitude should tell you something; perhaps that’s your cue to make a quick exit, to retrace your steps and go back to living your life…after all, you’ve made it this far without him.
It is what it is, accept the situation and move on.
At your age, you and your brother should not be wasting your time trying to fit into your father’s home; you’ll just cause yourselves unnecessary stress and heartache…and you know what?
Your father’s wife may just enjoy seeing you go through all the pain and frustration.
Do not give her ammunition to use against you; she has clearly shown you that she does not care about you, so in your desperation to fit into your father’s live, you’re playing into her hands because she’s going to make sure that you and your brother feel like outsiders every time you visit her house.
She sounds like a nasty piece of work and if I were you I’d get out of her life because clearly, she doesn’t want you in it.
As I’ve already stated, you and your brother are no longer children…you’re adults…and your father is under no obligation to look after you.
Just let him and his wife be.
I know that for you this may be about love and not material gain, but when your love is not reciprocated you should understand that you cannot force the other person to love you back if they do not have it in them.
Under the circumstances, my advice to you and your brother is to leave your father and his wife alone.
Stop bothering them; just leave them in peace and focus on your lives.
Work hard and become successful individuals in your own right.
Your mother and grandparents did an excellent job in raising both of you and it’s now up to you to continue where they left off.
You can achieve anything you want in life if you focus and if you do not allow situations and people like your father and his wife to derail you.
Inform your father where you are and if at all he meant it when he said he’s with you, he’ll come looking for you; he’ll come and see you where you stay since he’s well aware that his wife does not want you two in their house.
Perhaps his wife suspects that you’re after her husband’s possessions and that could be the reason why she’s hostile to you.
You did mention that all you want is peace; other than love and peace, I’m not sure what you and your brother want from your father.
I hope your efforts to reconnect with him are not about inheritance…but in case they are and you want to know if you have any rights to a portion of his estate in the event that he dies, when that time comes you can engage a lawyer to find out for you or you can seek guidance from the Legal Aid set up by the government.
Please note, I said when that time comes, not now.
That said, I’d advise you not to waste your time and your life waiting to benefit from something that someone else worked hard for, even if that person was your father.
If he didn’t bring you up and he never cared for you up until now, it’s better just to accept that you were never a part of his life from the time he and your mum parted ways.
I don’t know what the divorce settlement was, but when you and your brother were minors and your mum and grandparents were raising you, that is when they should have taken him to task or even hauled him before the law for child maintenance.
About your last name, I would advise you to do what you feel is right for you and the children you will have in the future.
Your father was married to your mother and he is your father, so his last name is rightfully yours regardless of his current life and the drama that his wife is causing.
However, if you will feel more comfortable using your grandparents’ surname rather than your father’s, then go for it.
At the end of the day what really matters is what makes you happy and what brings you that inner peace that you so desire.