“My father committed suicide a year ago. I didn’t cry.
Content Warning: This article is about suicide and could be a trigger for some readers.
The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.
“You better make up. You don’t want to leave things unsaid and have regrets.”
“You will feel awful if he dies and you haven’t spoken.”
“Don’t you think it’s time to forgive poor old dad?”
When my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, those who knew about our estranged relationship were quick to persuade me to make amends, to reestablish a relationship before it was too late. Although well-meaning, my general feeling about these attempts at reconciliation was simple: why?
For all intents and purposes – now 34, married and with a baby – my father was “dead to me” (said with all the dramatic aplomb of a The Bold and beautiful end-of-season cliff-hanger) for the better part of a decade.
grow watching father of the bride and The little Princess, I remember sobbing when I was seven or eight years old, even then painfully aware that the bond on the big screen was not mine.
Years and years of neglect in every sense of the word: broken promises to come see me play hockey at school, decades of cheating on my mom, years of watching my little sister cry when he doesn’t didn’t bother to get up from the couch to play tennis with her as promised, countless forgotten milestones; even simple things like forgetting the names of boyfriends, or worse, meeting them, deciding he was bored and getting up from a table in the middle of a conversation to go find someone more interesting, were all added.
At some point, isn’t the most mature and self-preserving option to simply say “enough”?
Family is family, blood is thicker than water and all these similar phrases fail to capture that family is so much more than those you share DNA with. In 2022, the definition of family is broader than ever. Why should you persevere in blood relations if it does more harm than good, all in the name of “family”?
If you have a snake in a bag and you keep putting your hand in that bag and the snake keeps biting, is it your fault that you keep putting your hand in the bag expecting a different response – or is it that of the snake?
Of course, there were times – sometimes months at a time – when the relationship seemed to improve.
When my first marriage failed, ironically my dad became a good sounding board, just being there on the other end of the line. But as always, something – sometimes as simple as a disagreement over where to eat for dinner – would burst just below the surface and her true feelings for me would spill out.