You know those posts titled “AITA (Am I the Asshole)? Well, lately I’m wondering the same thing about myself. But before you can answer that let me give you the background.
Recently, I found out my father had passed away. I didn’t know he had passed because we were never close. His current wife didn’t see fit to contact me when it happened. The only reason I found out is because a distant relative contacted me out of nowhere wanting to catch up with my father. As a favor, and out of sheer curiosity, I decided to locate my father once again. As it turned out, he passed away two years ago.
After my mother and father divorced, when I was eight years old, my father would come in and out of my life. He would stop contact for various reasons from hiding from child support to moving and so on. And when he came back into our lives, he would always want to act as though he never left. Like anything else, it was never his fault. He was always the victim. What he didn’t blame on life circumstances; he blamed on me. And when he wasn’t gone or blaming anyone but himself; he sometimes had a nasty temper. We once told a social worker we preferred a belt over his hands type temper.
I’m not saying he was a horrible man. I have some fond memories of my father. He sometimes took me to work with him, he went to a couple of my softball games, and he taught me how to defend myself. He was in the operating room when my daughter was born and he provided me a place to stay after she was born so I could get on my feet. He was over 6 feet tall and a husky built man so I remember when I was little I would giggle and yell “wait up, daddy” when I had to run to keep up with him. And anytime he worked on the truck or in the yard I would “help”. Once upon a time, I thought my father was a big strong superhero.
Okay, here is where your opinions come into play. Here is where you get to decide if I’m the asshole. A few years ago, my father had told me he had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. He asked me to come visit him before it got worse. I never went. Not only did I not have the money but I think I had given up. I wasn’t sure I believed him and I think I had just grew tired of trying. And eventually, instead of him disappearing and me chasing after, I disappeared.
I am sad he’s gone because he was my father after all . But I’m more sad and angry that I didn’t have a father like most people had; who loved and protected them. And I feel guilty that I gave up. And as a result of my giving up, my father never saw me or his granddaughter again before he passed.