The Father’s Day Bitter Pill

Eva 2 yearsI forgot, It’s Father’s Day.

I turn on Facebook and nearly everyone’s profile picture is changed to a faded or even a black and white photo of themselves with their father.

All of them smiling, in an embrace, holding hands, gazing at each other lovingly, mid pose in a wedding dance, on a boat holding fish up in the air, standing in front of a house from the 70s.

It makes me sad. It makes me angry and it makes me annoyed.

I know I should take some higher ground and be happy for other people but I can’t.

I am jealous. I am so jealous. I wish I could post my own photo and genuinely wish my father a happy father’s day.

I have not spoken to my father in years.

The communication first broke down in my early teens when I first noticed just how bad his alcoholism was. A cracked bedroom door let me glimpse him pulling out a bottle of liquor from the armoire and taking a 7AM swig. A walk in the city with my friends after school revealed him sitting in one of the wine cellars. I used to open a trash bin outside our house only to see at least five wine bottles each week.

A couple years later when I started to go out to clubs with friends and date, our communication limited itself to him calling me names and making fun of my friends. I dreaded if he picked up the phone when someone called me. I didn’t invite anyone to our house. I was so embarrassed I forbade him from going to my graduation.

After I moved to the US, my parents divorced. I received a handful of letters in the last eighteen years from him. All of them dated from before 2001. I sent him a long letter once laying it all out, how I feel, what he did, how it affected me. No response. I attempted one more contact a couple years ago via email. I got two short replies to my three long emails.

I have been battling two different cancers for the last two years and have not heard even one word from my own father. Not even a snippet of concern uttered in front of my uncle, his brother, who sees him regularly. Nothing.

When I expressed my disappointment and my desire to write him off to others, people would say to me here in the USA:

“But he is still your father.”

Well, guess what? He isn’t. He is not my father. He is a man who’s sperm helped create me. He is nothing more than a DNA donor. He doesn’t care about me and he has proven it over and over again.

So I won’t change my Facebook picture, I don’t have to make special plans today and I don’t have to wish him a happy Father’s Day. I will not pretend that I don’t care. I care very much and it hurts. Seeing other people’s happy family pictures makes me cry. But it is what it is. “C’est la vie” as he would probably say.

7 Comments

  1. It’s okay to write him off. That “He’s still your Father” comment comes from people whose definition of fatherhood comes from a hallmark card or just simple DNA. He’s your biological father with whom you have no current relationship and any past relationship was problematic at best. You don’t owe the general public some sort of false public sentiment toward him because it makes them feel better. So this stranger from the Internet who has a good relationship with her father is saying it’s cool with me that you don’t pretend to have one with the man who fathered you, biologically. I’m cool with that. Great post.

    • Thank you for your comment and for understanding where I am coming from. It means a lot from someone who does have a normal Dad. Thank you! 🙂

  2. People who tell you “he is still your father” phrase is pretty similar to the “don’t be sad because others have it worse” phrase. (So it is equivalent to “don’t be happy because someone is happier than you?”)

    You don’t owe an explanation to the world. It’s ok to feel as you feel. I am really sad you feel sad though. I wish I could be there and hug you.

    Society has told us since kindergarden that a family is “mom, dad and siblings”. I say to hell with what society thinks…we can build whatever family we decide (Nina and Sunny included).

    My boyfriend’s dad passed away three years ago. He left many unsaid things. He now hates father’s day. He pretends it doesn’t exist. So he has declared this day as pizza day. People post picture with their dads and he, well he… celebrates pizza.

    Big hug for you dear.

    • Thank you!! That is a great idea! Mine should be a pizza day too 🙂 And I totally agree, family doesn’t have to be blood related. It is whoever is closest to us. 🙂

      • 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Tanya

    Eva- You were an adorable kid, wow! Your dad is missing out. I’m so sorry you were given him as a “father”. You are amazing!

    • Thank you!!!! You are too kind 🙂 You have no idea how much better you have made my life since we’ve met 🙂

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