Not A Father

Oh Father’s Day. The pervasive emptiness of my life is coming into focus on the day that fathers are celebrated. I don’t celebrate Father’s Day and never have. It was just another day for dad to disappear or show up late. Even as I wanted to be closer with him, I didn’t trust him. I was critical of his distance, but afraid to get close. Looking back I can imagine that would have been infuriating or hurtful for him. But I don’t know if he actually felt that way, since we never discussed it.

My last involved conversation with my dad came like 15 years ago. We met for lunch and mostly talked about his boat. It was an amend, as the previous year we had discussed his drinking and it didn’t end well. This time, I kept it to topics that he liked. The conversation went fine, but it was utterly banal. Nothing I wanted to do again.

He died in 2017 at home by himself on the toilet. I might think that would be funny but it’s probably how I’ll end up too.

When I got cancer I worried that it would make my life feel meaningless, and it has. It has crushed my desire and my functioning, which makes intimate relationships harder. But it’s not like relationships fix anything. I have so many friends who still struggle with their partners. I envy their intimacy sometimes, or that people are still attracted to one another, because these things no longer exist for me. But I don’t envy their pain, disappointment or betrayal. My dad had kids, but his life was also miserable and despairing, so it’s not like kids fix anything either.