Dear Dad: You’re Dead and I’m Not Sad
I wished he would just die. End his suffering, and mine.
You're dead, and I'm free.
No more shitty childhood.
The first time my dad broke my heart was when he busted the bedroom door down and slapped the shit out of my mom. She got him back good, if you're wondering. A busted lip and bloody nose later, I knew I'd never let a man hit me and get away with it. Thanks, Mom.
Mom was always my favorite. Dad was a drunk so it wasn’t a difficult choice really, but my mom has always been like a superhero to me. When he busted the door down, I hid behind my mom begging him to just go away. Leave us alone forever. This wasn’t the first time he was being an abusive drunk and certainly wouldn’t be the last, not by a long shot.
No more shitty holidays.
When I was 11 years old, my dad said he’d come to my grandmas for My birthday. My parents had just divorced the year before and I hadn’t seen him since then. My grandma told me he’d be there so I begged mom to let me go to grandma's for my birthday. I remember sitting on the porch, watching the cars go by on the old country road, waiting to see if his would pull up. I never knew what he was driving, so I don't know why I acted like I'd know if it was him pulling up. It was almost always some beat up old work van or car without an ignition. Smelled like booze, weed, and worst of all, cigarettes.
My dad showed up for my birthday, but he was late… and drunk. Stumbled in with my birthday presents that weren’t wrapped. There was a soccer ball, soccer cones, and two Barbie doll tea sets. I hated soccer almost as much as I hated Barbie or anything girly. He was so proud of those gifts and so was grandma. I locked myself in the back bathroom for an hour, crying. My heart was broken. Not because of the gift choices exactly but because it just showed he knew NOTHING about me. At all.
I asked my mom to come pick me up and of course it was me being an ungrateful brat. My grandma told me I should be thankful he even showed up for me. Yes, so thankful he was there… and wasted. He passed out on the couch before I even came out of the bathroom. A few years later, Grandma told me I was going to “burn in Hell” because I told her I was not interested in a relationship with him anymore.
No more shitty promises.
For years, my dad promised to come see me and my brother. He rarely showed and when he did he was drunk and high. I remember when he “straightened his life out” and we got to go to his new apartment. It smelled just like his cars did and I had to go around putting out cigarette butts because he kept passing out while they were still burning in between his fingers.
Every time he promised to come get us and didn’t show up, it broke my heart to watch my little brother cry his eyes out. I was long done crying for him, but I don’t think my brother ever stopped.
No more shitty anything.
He told me he had cancer when he came to sign for me to get married at 15. Dad moved out of state, remarried his first wife (making her his sixth, technically), and thought he was going to live happily ever after I guess. My future father in law asked my dad to sign for me to get married in February of 2001, and dad agreed. After he came to sign for me, he left as quickly as he arrived. Once he was gone, Bruce told me how he “convinced” my dad to come to Missouri to sign for his 15 year old child to get married: a 6 pack of Mudslide and a case of beer. Cheapest. Dowry. Ever.
I found out about the cancer in February, and he died in October. I saw him one more time right before he died, and that night, I cried while praying to God to take him. I would like to say I asked so he wouldn’t suffer, but looking back I know it was because I was just sick of him hurting me. I didn’t want him to suffer; I wanted him to magically become a good dad before he died, but he didn’t.
I saw him a few days after I had Jenelle. The next day he went to the hospital and never came out. I said my goodbyes on October 30th, and went out to celebrate my favorite holiday on October 31st, with a huge sense of relief rather than grief.
My memories bring up mixed emotions. Not because I think my dad was a great guy, because he wasn’t. He wasn’t worthy of a single Father's Day card, or the title of “dad”, but he wasn’t as bad as some are. I have a twinge of guilt from being so indifferent about his death. His death was not sad for me, it was more of a relief. No more heartbreak, no more heartache. I’d love to have a dad who is still around and is an amazing father in law to my wife and grandpa to our girls, but it just didn’t happen. Life goes on.