He’s Dead.

Last week I found out my father is dead.  He didn’t die last week or even last month.  He’s been dead for quite some time.  March 30th of this year, to be exact.  I found out because my mother has been having some abnormal reoccurring dreams.  All of her dreams are fundamentally the same.  She’s having trouble finding him, she’s afraid something is wrong, when she finds him something has happened with his heart and he’s dead.  She felt like someone was trying to tell her something.  So she Googled Robert Henry Butler to see what would pop up.  She found his obituary.

Here’s a copy of his obituary which hints at why I didn’t know until now that he is dead until now.

This was taken from The Winchester Star newspaper:

Robert Henry Butler,

68, of Bloomery, West

Virginia, died Tuesday,

March 30, 2010.

Mr. Butler was born at

Washington, DC on July

12, 1941, the son of the

late Dennis F. and Dorothy

Quick Butler.

Mr. Butler is survived

by his wife, Margery

Butler of Bloomery, WV;

daughter, Sherri Ross of

Minneapolis, MN; a sister,

Pat Butler and her husband,

Steve Taylor of

Woodstock; and a brother,

Ret. Col. Dennis Frederick

Butler and his wife,

Rosemarie of Seattle, WA.

Service will be private.

My mother was pissed when she read it.  I was less surprised.  She was pissed because, if you notice, I am not mentioned in the obituary as a survivor.  I knew this is how it would be.  My father and I were estranged.  Those of you who know me know the story of my past and more importantly the story of my past with my father.  So I won’t speak ill of the dead.

I will give a brief history of our estrangement.  Our relationship came to an abrupt pause during my 16th year when I wrote a letter.  A letter that my counselor, at the time, was very impressed with (good for her).  It stated that I was terminating our relationship for my own reasons spawned from our own nasty history.  I sent it certified mail so I knew he had received it.  Some of the fall-out from that included his mother (my grandmother of whom I’m her namesake) called me to tell me I was a bitch and my father’s unexpected arrival and then removal from my high school.  A few years later I, being in college with a child of my own, decided to reinstate contact at about the age of 22.  That turned into a few choice letters, phone calls, and then my father ambushing me at a class.  I could tell he was anxious to see me.  I went to see him a couple of times.  I brought my son to one such meeting at his home.  As soon as we (my father, my son, and I) were the only ones left in the room he proceeded to confront me about how none of what had happened was true.  He couldn’t let it go of the lies.  So for the good of my own sanity and my son’s that was it.  I didn’t contact him anymore and I ignored his contacts.  I received a letter a few months later stating that he hoped I was happy with myself and I would be written out of his will and I would not know when he died.  I left it at that.

So there it is.  I’m not surprised.  I’m not sad, either.  I don’t really know what I am.  I feel like an ugly part of my life has closure.  But to me it seems so cold.  He was my father and I will remember the good times and the bad and I will give a fitting farewell to the man who is at the origin of most of my fears.

So here are pictures of him during the “good times” when he was young and his life was before him.  Before getting kicked out of the military, before jail, before my mother and myself.  Just… before.


The left picture was taken in August 1946.   My guess is he’s the one all the way at the top.  He would have been 5 in this picture.  The right picture was taken at some point during his days in military school at Massanutten Military Academy.  It’s during his high school years, anyway.  There is no date listed.



Goodbye and I hope your soul finds rest.

About DB Landes

Dorothy loves finding creative ways to be greener and helping others take baby steps to a greener lifestyle.She has 3 kids, a red-bearded husband, backyard chickens, and a struggling garden. Find her blogging at TheCreativeRecycler.com. Take a look around and create something with her!
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9 Responses to He’s Dead.

  1. Oh wow… really… wow… I’m sorry. For all of it. He sure was handsome though! 🙂

  2. Diana says:

    I’m sorry, RIP Robert.

    When I was reading the obit. I was surprised to see that your name was not in it, I said to myself “where’s Dorothy’s name” now I understand.

    I think Gab looks alot like granddad, handsome

    with sympathy, diana

  3. Crystal says:

    I was gonna say the same about Gabe. You can see it in the face. I’m still getting to know you, so I didn’t know all of this. Sorry to hear it. You’ve turned out to be be one of the best people I know, so I know he didn’t affect you at all;)

  4. Mom Landes says:

    So I’m reading this for the second time and weeping. So much potential, so much hope shining through those eyes, “before.” My prayers are with you and your mother as you face the memories that this brings to the surface.

  5. Susan says:

    Oh wow. All I can think to say is oh wow.

  6. Rhoda glick says:

    Thanks for sharing the story of your father. It is truly sad especially for him because he chose not to celebrate your life with you and he chose not to be part of his grandson’s life. I congradulate you, Barbara, for taking the risk to confront him with the truth. You are a courageous truth-teller. And sometimes that is painful. God bless you as you continue to process his life and death. Rhoda Glick

  7. DB Landes says:

    Thanks to everyone who has read this post and shared in my life.

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