The Father’s Day Bitter Pill
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.