I had another post planned for today, but then I got a letter from my dad. The contents of the letter so perfectly encapsulate the man I grew up with that I thought I’d share, hoping to shed some light on not only my own considerable daddy issues, but why I place a considerable amount of external blame for 3′s suicide on my father and his family.
Since Dad’s word processor apparently died, all of his letters have come scrawled on yellow legal paper. The most recent gem is 4 full pages, front and back. It started with a relatively innocent discussion of basketball, then segued into a litany of bland, cliched advice, “values” that he “had hoped to provide” to his children, a dream tragically dashed by “circumstances” [read: my parents' divorce, which has never, ever been even remotely his fault]. The last piece of advice was about choosing a spouse. Naturally (well, naturally if you know my dad), this segued reminiscence about his marriage to Mom. His “greatest, most enjoyable memories” were times spent with Mom, and his love for her “grew every day.”
I, of course, know where this story goes when my Dad tells is, having heard dozens upon dozens of lectures on the topic when I was younger, but Dad still devoted 2 more pages to describing how Mom cheated on him and turned his world “completely upside down.” Now, I will be the first to admit that, as I was not present for any of the alleged cheating, I can’t know for sure if Mom was actually unfaithful, but based on Mom’s side of the story and my own considerable experience with both Dad’s pathological lying and his frequent lack of cohesion with reality, I firmly believe that Mom’s “affair” is yet another figment of Dad’s imagination – Dad’s way of explaining the divorce without having to exercise any self-awareness or take responsibility.
Anyway! Here’s where it gets good. Dad writes “I do want to apologize to my remaining children.” Oh, yeah? You want to acknowledge that you did something wrong as a parent, other than “not being there” for us? (His go-to non-issue when trying to sound humble) My intrigue was richly rewarded in the next line as Dad explained that he wanted to apologize, not for the years of mental and emotional abuse, not for the refusal to seek help for his plethora of mental illness, but for “telling [us] about [our] Mother’s relationship with [former coworker with whom the fictitious affair took place].”
Wait, it gets better: Dad then went on to say that he’ll “never know what long term impact the divorce and aftermath” had on us, but that “the possibility” that he “contributed” to 3′s “behavior” will “bother [him] for a long time.” [Note: the behavior to which Dad was referring wasn't even 3's suicide, but his underage drinking and smoking, because *that's* what we should be concerned about, right?]
Please wait while I get some tissues to dry my tears of deepest sympathy. The possibility? Like there’s just a chance, not an absolute certainty that you contributed, not to your son’s suicide, but his generally common adolescent illegal activity? And that teeny-weeny chance, that will bother you? It’ll bug you? Irk you a little bit? For. Fucks. Sake. Whatever. I blame Dad enough for several people.
So there you go. I don’t think I really had a lesson here or a point to make; I just wanted to rant. If his own son’s suicide can’t permeate the finely-honed personal reality that Dad has created for himself, I suppose there’s really no chance that I’ll ever get a real apology or acknowledgement of just how damaged he made all of us. I know 600 words isn’t nearly enough to convey how frustrating a single letter can be after a lifetime of crazy, but for now, I consider this blog a viable coping mechanism :)