A Personal Post

It's coming up to that time of year again. That time of year when 'granny dumping' starts, where everyone has 'flu', when people with sickle cell disease start getting crises.

It's also that time of year where I move one step closer to the grave. It's nearly my birthday.

For some reason I'm thinking about my dad this year. He left us when I was about fourteen years old, he'd gone to live with his other wife (although he still hasn't remembered to divorce my mum yet…). He's got other children who are probably grown up themselves now. I don't know, I haven't heard from him in over twenty years.

Fuck. Until now I hadn't counted.

That's more than twenty years since I had a birthday card from him, more than twenty years since I last saw him, and more than twenty years he's gotten away with being a bigamist.

His sole contribution to me being the person that I am today is around 10cc of genetic material.

So why am I thinking about him now? It's because of a joke that I made to my mum about wondering if I'd get a birthday card this year. I have no idea where that joke came from.

It's not like I think of him much – the last I heard was that he lived someone on my patch, but I've never seen him. For all I know he might be dead. He's actually become a bit of a running joke, the men in our family are all a bit… well… wrong. And, yes, I include myself in that assessment.

He's like a mouth ulcer – I keep probing it to see if it still hurts. It doesn't hurt, it's been too long for that. I don't even think that it hurt when he left – by then I'd realised the sort of person he was. Even before I knew that he'd another family somewhere, a family he took to Florida while we barely had the money to eat.

I'd like to see him. Just the once.

Just to tell him what he missed out on by forgetting about his sons. One became a successful teacher. The other one became me – and you know about me.

So this year, when my year count goes up by one, I'll think of him.

And I'll think, “Fuck him”.

29 thoughts on “A Personal Post”

  1. Let him stay where he is.My late husband had a similar situation, only his father suddenly decided to get in touch with him. It was in the early 70s, and my husband was in his late twenties, he was torn between anger and delight, many letters were exchanged, the missing father having emigrated to Canada, having also left his second family. There was no hands-on contact, so to speak.Then came the exchange of photos; shock horror – husband had hair that passed his collar! Absent Father backed off as quickly as he'd re-appeared. How, he had asked, could he introduce his son to his new redneck friends when he looked like a skid row bum? He wasn't interested that his son was a talented musician, clever, funny, and hard working. You would have imagined that this would have been the final insult and rejection, wouldn't you? There was more to come, about ten years later there was a letter from a Canadian lawyer, Absent Father had died of lung cancer, and one of his final acts had been to instruct his lawyer to send a copy of his will to my husband, where he had made a point of stating that no part of his estate should go to his only son.Let your father stay exactly where he is. He doesn't even deserve to have you tell him what a toe-rag he is.

  2. I suppose there must be some good in him as you and your brother have turned out so well or maybe any “bad” characteristics you two may have are from him. Do you think so? It seems to me that your being single (and formerly you mentioned not liking to share a bed with a girl all night) shows perhaps a fear of commitment maybe because of him? He obviously could not commit and you are wary as you would hate to think of hurting someone else in the way your Mum was hurt. Better to be safe than sorry?

    I'm glad you knew what he was like before he left though, otherwise you might have yearned for something that was never there.

    I'm sure you sometimes wonder what life would be like if you had had a “proper” father. I should imagine your Mum was a Mum and Dad to you both and obviously did an amazing job.

    The whole thing is very sad and you are brave to talk about it, even though you don't care about him you must be livid with him for being so useless. I hope you don't object to my amateur psychologist ramblings, meant with the best intention. *Hugs*

  3. Had a very similar experience when my father disappeared when I was about 6, then re-appeared when I was 13 for a few months. I remember looking out of the window waiting for him to appear.When I left the army aged 24 I used to worry that I would find him drunk in the gutter somewhere (he was a drinker) – then one day someone rang me and told me he had died of cancer aged 55. I didn't know whether to bothered or not. I wasn't until someone told me he died with 2.50 and a photo of me and my younger brother in his wallet – and that's all he had to his name.

    I didn't go to the funeral but I kind of regret that now.

    At least I didn't find him in the gutter – or mentioned in this blog.

  4. Haha, know that. I do hope that on the day you're also thinking “what an ace bunch of presents I got this year” and “oh, what a lovely bunch of HAPPY BIRTHDAY comments I got on the blog”;) Have a good one xx

  5. That's an extrordinary story Tom… I take it his current 'wife' knows he is a bigamist? Good grief. It must have been very hard for your family, you must be very proud of your mum indeed.

  6. Fuck him indeed.My father is also years-absent and I feel much the same way about him. He pops up in my thoughts from time to time, but mostly in the same way as my appendix does (bear with me here)… it was removed when I was 11 and isn't what you'd call a major part of my life, but every so often I happen to notice the scar, or be talking to someone who is for some reason talking about their own appendix, and I'm all “oh yeah,” and remember having the stomachache and going to hospital and recovering afterwards. But in a sort of *shrug*, meh, way, rather than a traumatic, wailing, “WHY?!?” way.Families need fathers, sure, but only the fathers who are prepared to work at being fathers – men who, as you say, contributed a few cc of genetic material and precious little else, can just bugger off.

  7. Joyeux Anniversaire, Zum Geburtstag viel Gluck etc..Parents can be nightmares, about the only thing I agree with this gov't on is parenting classes in schools. Very nanny state (pun intended), but I would go further, mandatory contraception for those that fail. My mothers sole 'raison d'tre' seems to be to inflict as much damage' to those around her as possible. And having read all the books and knowing all the 'right' answers re childcare, it's still bloody hard to break the pattern. Do you, like me, somehow feel that it's your own fault you're a bit screwed up?

    Sending hugs

    j

  8. Have a good birthday, and remember, the march to the grave is every moment of the year, not just when the number rolls over.”I include myself in that assessment” – Don't. You never abandoned a child. Despite your cynicism, you try to be a force for good, not evil.My father stayed and messed us up. So loyal, ha. Lack of imagination, I think. I always wished he had left. I was made to feel guilty for not 'appreciating' him for all he did to, um, -for- me. “Of course he loves you, he's your father!” That phrase made me feel insane most of my life, until I realized how much of a lie it was. Bury your father, in your imagination, but not in your head. He doesn't deserve the energy you expend on him.

  9. It's because of a joke that I made to my mum about wondering if I'd get a birthday card this year. I have no idea where that joke came from. May be it comes from a place that does still hurt, in fact it hurt's like f**k,

    The anger at what he did, the injustice of it all, what it put your mum through.

    May be the anger or even the ' joke ' he has become; is a way of fencing off, neatley packaging up what is a deep messy unresolved hurt?

    Sorry, what do I know…. its your world.

    Birthday, (hug) older is wiser!

  10. It's because of a joke that I made to my mum about wondering if I'd get a birthday card this year. I have no idea where that joke came from. May be it comes from a place that does still hurt, in fact it hurt's like f**k,

    The anger at what he did, the injustice of it all, what it put your mum through.

    May be the anger or even the ' joke ' he has become; is a way of fencing off, neatley packaging up what is a deep messy unresolved hurt?

    Sorry, what do I know…. its your world.

    Birthday, (hug) older is wiser!

  11. Tom, you've contributed so much to us out here in the ozone (to say nothing of the people in your “patch”) that I'll be celebrating your birthday, even if you aren't. (Go on. Celebrate a little. It's more fun that way.)

  12. The only words my father has spoken to me, in 12 years, is “Two, please”. This was a response to the question “do you have suger in your tea still?” at my grandfathers wake. My grandfather was the man that raised me and my stepdad has been the man my children call Grandad.Remember it only takes the 10cc of genetic material to be classed as a Father, but a lifetime of being there to be a Dad.

    Happy birthday for when ever it may be.

  13. There are some really nasty people in this world. I am seeing the start of all of this with my aunt and her son and step son. The father has deserted both of them for yet another woman…he sows his seed then legs it, but he drags the children into it.Be grateful you didn't have you're head messed with Tom.

    And Happy Birthday for when it comes around x x

  14. Thats how I felt when I read the post too, because no matter how better off you are without him, we ll need the “closure” thing, and you can't have that till you've told him how you feel.Writing it down helps, I hope blogging it was some kind of therapy, a tip someone gave to me was to write everything you would want to say .. every last little thing, in a letter to said person, as if it was a proper letter.. then just burn it, or maybe put it somewhere with the intention of posting it if you ever get an address.

    It worked for me is all I can say.

    (hugs to you all)

  15. Happy BirthdayI do know some nice dads, but it's amazing just how many of the good people I know and have known had complete tossers for fathers. Me, too.

    So yeah, fuck him. Fuck the lot of them.

  16. I can feel your pain Tom. My own father walked out on us to live with another woman, and thats a massive thing to try and understand when your eleven. I gradually learned over the coming years through family and friends just what a man he was, and it made me ashamed, embarassed, and really rather sick. I had to come to terms with the fact that the man i called Dad was an animal.I made the concious decision from a young age however, that it would not make me weak. I took his behaviour as an example, an example of what not to do rather than the other way around. I have taken strength from his diabolical behaviour, and set out to prove to myself, and anyone else who wishes to look, that whilst I may be my fathers son, I am nothing like him.

    You are not your father. You are a wonderful and caring person who devotes his days to the welfare of others, and you have nothing to prove. Sometimes only the worst can bring out the best in us.

    I hope you have a good day, our thoughts are with you πŸ™‚

  17. My biological father was of the “eats, shoots and leaves” variety – it hurts, but at least I have someone to blame when I'm a complete bastard myself.And he finally got replaced by someone fit for purpose, which is a bit of good luck by any definition.

  18. MAN.Talk about HARSH.

    If I were that lawyer, I would've never carried out that final act of cruelty. I am SO SORRY that happened to your husband, chairwoman, but so very glad that he had you there to love, support and comfort him, when it did.

    Tom – I'm glad that you felt safe (?) enough to share that story with us. You're a good man (and you don't need affirmation from any of us on that one), nothing like your dad.

    I'm sure that if we all could, we'd give you a great big hug (and some smashing pressies!) for your birthday. Hopefully that will be some small consolation on the day.

  19. Tom, we KNOW about you. We read your blog, we buy your book, we rely on you where we're ill.HAPPY BIRTHDAY, have a drink on me. Another your older, another year to be proud of the man you have grown up to become.

  20. Happy Bithday Tom. Family stuff is crap at times, don't dwell on it. Have a great day, hope you arn't working on your birthday.

  21. having lost my dad 20 years agood he drop down dead in front of me my be tom you should try and speak to him before it is to late may be i am wrong still love reading your blogg h

  22. Happy Birthday Tom. Just remember – You are a caring, sensitive person with a close, supportive family and you have this (in part) because of the lousy behaviour of your “biological genetic doner”. Birthdays mean thoughts about chocolate cake not the fruit cake that left you!Look on the bright side mate – you are obviously nothing like him!

  23. I've been reading your blog on and off for a while. It's so candid and well-written!That was poignant….

    I saw my father after 21 years, wasn't impressed with his reply to, “Why no birthday cards at the very least?” and haven't seen him again since (1994).

    Have a good one!! πŸ™‚

  24. Your dad's a bigamist? Blimey, that is indeed unusual. I can see why you'd think he's a loser. As they say, you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. Happy birthday for whenever it is, I hope you have a good one.

  25. my husband had a similar story, he had never seen my son (15 now).I cant believe I felt pity for the man, we were all at a family wedding. My husband's cousin, his father's niece. As my husband's mother, had kept in touch and exchanged presents over the years this was the first time that the two were due to meet face to face. His father walked into the reception, no one invited him to sit on their table so he turned an left. My husband's mother the women scorned had a table of close family. She might have been left poor – she did have years of misery but to me as the observer of the years of hurt – this was a satisfactory conclusion. Was he really a winner?

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