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I Have A Father, But I Won’t Ever Be Spending Father’s Day With Him

A bunch of us girls were sitting around chatting, with half-empty glasses of wine in front of us. The usual topics for such a girls’ night had all been covered – boys, recent dates, movies, TV shows, and other sundry gossip. As the evening wound down, we began making plans for our next meeting, and someone suggested the coming Sunday. But my best friend was quick to veto it saying she was going to do something special with her father for Father’s Day, which was this coming Sunday.

It hadn’t even been on my radar because I’ve never really celebrated it. Not really.

father and daughter_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

My father and I share a complicated relationship, and it’s never been easy between us. The last time I spoke to him was at least three years ago over Skype at around 11 in the evening. He had been his typical charming self, having already drunk more than his lean body could hold. I was in my PJs, working on an article that was due the next day, that I couldn’t finish when he started spewing his usual rant in slurred words.

Suggested read: a letter to my father from his daughter who wasn’t a son

“You’re a disgrace! I wish you’d died as soon as you were born. Your mother would’ve died all over again if she saw you now! You’re an utter embarrassment to me. You hear me? I have never been proud of you, nor will I ever be. You’re a…”

When he started going off on his oft-repeated, alcohol-induced tirade, I hung up on him. As the traitorous tears rolled down my cheeks and plopped on my laptop screen, I really wished my mother would have been there to tell me that I wasn’t a disgrace and an abomination like my father said. That I was worth something in this world. That knowing what and who I am wouldn’t have killed my mother. That I actually mean something to someone.

father and daughter visiting a grave_New_Love_Times

Image source: Shutterstock

You know, my father wasn’t always that way. He was a loving and doting father, and especially so after my mother died due to a complication in her second pregnancy when I was eight. Since then, my father and I looked after each other, took care of each other, and were there for each other through everything. He was my hero.

Until I came out of the closet when I was fifteen.

That’s when the tug of war began between us. He wanted me to be something I was not. I honestly tried what he wanted me to be, but I couldn’t change who I was, could I? His anger, hurt, and disappointment in me became a tangible thing I could almost reach out and touch every time we were in the same room. Eventually, it came to a point where he and I could no longer live under the same roof. When I went off to college, our contact became less and less, and I think it was for the best. I thought if I was out of his sight, he might start to see me like he used to before all this. That remains a dream to this day.

My father is lonely, sad, and has taken to the bottle like a fish to water. I guess he needed to drown himself in a bottle rather than have a relationship with me, as I was. You know what hurts the most? That I had a father and then lost him just because he couldn’t handle what and who I was. I am his only child in this world. Where did all his love go? Did I have to deny my identity to have him in my life?

father and daughter_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Now, all that’s left are memories. Him tossing me up into the air as I giggled. Him rocking me on his chest when I was down with the flu. Him teaching me how to ride a bike. Him kissing my hurts and aches away when I fell down the swing. Him standing up for me at school when I was bullied for wearing coke bottle glasses. Him hugging me to him at my mom’s funeral. Him surprising me with a trip to Disneyland the year after mom died.

And then, that happened.

So yes, I do have a dad. But he’s an alcoholic, a homophobe, a verbal abuser, and really a former shell of himself.

When I’m in that gray zone between wakefulness and sleep, this question rises up like a bubble in a soda can – has he tried to love me at all after that incident? No matter how much I wonder, I’ll only be guessing at the answer, because all of his actions point toward the contrary. And as everyone on the planet knows, actions speak far louder and clearer than words ever could.

I’m fatherless despite having one, and I won’t be spending Father’s Day with him. I feel sad for the way our relationship has crumbled. It makes me feel lonely, abandoned, adrift. On the rare occasion, I feel such overwhelming anger about his vehemence that there is something inherently wrong with me, it leaves me emotionally drained and defeated. But I guess I’ve gotten used to the sadness, the loneliness, the feeling of abandonment in such a way that I no longer even notice them.

Suggested read: Lessons a father would teach his daughter

I had no choice in my mother’s leaving, but my father’s abandonment smarts, because he made a conscious choice not to be in my life. I guess that’s the reason I consciously keep myself busy and not make a note of the date when Father’s Day rolls around year after year. If I don’t take note of the date, then it doesn’t exist, right?

My father’s absence on Father’s Day isn’t sharp, but a dull, lingering ache that throbs in the background as I go about my day, pretending not to notice the date. But you know what, that ache never fades away, it’s almost constant in its presence, every moment of every day of every year that passes by.

I so wish my father, my hero was with me to celebrate Father’s Day with me. But I’d rather have no father than one who can’t and won’t accept me for who I am, one who doesn’t love me unconditionally, the way a parent loves their child.

And the hardest thing to stomach is that I still love him as he is; he just couldn’t love me as I am.

Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

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I Have A Father, But I Won't Ever Be Spending Father's Day With Him
I am fatherless despite having a father, and I won't ever celebrate Father's Day with him...


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