Posted by Derek
Feb 28 2006

I just found out this morning that my father passed away last Friday. The news doesn’t come entirely as a shock… Well, that’s not completely true. I knew he had some health issues, but…

A little backstory, perhaps. The last time I recall seeing my father was on my high school graduation in 1998. I’d never had a chance to be real close with the man. When I was growing up he was always working away from home, site supervisor with an industrial construction company. I honestly don’t recall seeing him since that day. He and my mother were not on good terms, and since I was living with her…

Jump ahead seven years. We get a call from my half-sister. ‘Hi. Dad’s cancer came back -‘

Came back? No one had the fucking courtesy to call us and let us know the first time?

He’d been a heavy smoker and drinker for years, so again, that development wasn’t entirely unexpected (from my view, anyway). Sister went on to say that regardless of what had happened, he still loved us (myself and my brother) and that we should probably go see him since the end was near and he really wanted to see us.

Fast forward not more than a few weeks. At the same time all this crap was hitting the fan, a larger pile of poo was finding it’s way into an industrial blower. Divorce proceedings between ma and pa declared that he had willfully abandoned my mother and us, and that he was entitled to a large sum of money.

Uhhh, what?

(Well, there were more problems leading up to that on ma’s side of the proceedings, which I won’t get into since it’s still not entirely settled. Blah.)

But here’s the kicker - within the week of the judgement, pa comes up from South Dakota to collect some of his things - conveniently making sure to arrive when we are not there. Sure, he had a police escort so that he could get into the place legally… But - after having the message relayed that he wanted to see us again… He waits until we’re not around to get his shit.

That pissed me off to no end. I’d been planning to call the sister back (we’d been doing our conversations across phone tag) but I was so livid after that I buried her phone number.

Now on to today. I’m still upset and angry with him for just disappearing from our lives. I’d never gotten the chance to know him well, something I deeply regret. Still - he’s my father, and I love him. I feel terrible for not being able to overcome my anger and go see him before he wasn’t here anymore. I truly enjoyed and looked forward to the brief intervals I got to spend with him at home. Sure, there were really sucky times when he was drunk… That was never any fun. But there were always times when he wasn’t. Those are the times I really want to remember… But I’m having trouble remembering them.

Were there so few that I can’t think of them? Gods, I hope not…

What’s the saying… ‘Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.’ It was those special times, the times when he surpassed simply being my father… I want to remember those.

I only wish I could have told you this one last time while you were still alive.

Love you, dad.

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2 Responses

  1. hans44 says:

    <bows head reverently in respect>

  2. serindipity says:

    I’m sorry about your dad man, and i know what its like, I just went through a similar stuation with my grampa, he died of lung cancer from smoking but had quit drinking by the time i can remember him, i didn’t know him all that well but like you said about your dad he was my gramps and i loved him. I’ll keep you in my prayers.