Bill: The Death of My Biological Father
My father just died.
I’m not even sure what to do with that.
How do I mourn the loss of someone who’s been gone for over half of my life?
That’s just one of many questions he left me with.
That he left my brother with too.
Like a will written in riddles.
He made many choices over many years.
The ones that had everything to do with my brother and me will never make sense now.
Would they ever?
Any and all answers died with him.
His choices couldn’t have been clearer though.
He made so many choices.
“I won’t be a part time father.”
He opted for being no father at all.
I think at some point people started to see that saying I have my father’s eyes wasn’t the compliment they meant it as.
I didn’t know what that meant when I was younger
I didn’t know what I meant when I was younger
I just knew there wasn’t an immediate model to learn how to be a man by
(But I lost that long before he died)
I made my peace with the idea that the man I got my middle, and then last, name from had voluntarily left my life.
And that all of that defined me in more ways than I could, or ever will, possibly understand.
I was never at peace with that though
I’m still not
I don’t know how he did it
How he turned his back on two boys with such purpose and drive.
A model of being a man showing us that his only desire was to put himself as far away from my brother and me as he could.
That the hardest I can remember him working was for digging the largest gap he could between him and his sons.
So now I write this
Because he’s passed away
Because I really don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about that
Am I sad for lost time?
Am I sad for a life lost?
I don’t know if it was wasted.
I don’t know if the energy and time I’m spending on every thought I’ve ever had for the man was, and is, a waste.
That at 3:something AM all I can do is think and write about a man that never showed he, at some point, ever thought about me,
Or my brother,
Is a waste.
This sure as hell isn’t a tribute to some great man.
There won’t ever be a tribute.
Not from me anyway.
I’m betting it won’t ever come from my brother either.
How do sons honor a man that acted without honorable mention?
So I write.
With all the thoughts and feelings that circle back to something simple.
In showing me all the ways he did things, made choices,
Moved through his life,
Lived, then died,
I know, concretely, fiercely, angrily, emotionally, and yes, even proudly,
The man I never want to be.
The man I never want to be for _____.
The man I never want to be for anyone I love.
The man I never want to be for anyone who loves me.
Through choosing nothing, you gave me everything Bill.
So, thank you for that.
In showing me what not to do, I learned what to do.
It was a formidable and hard school to graduate from.
But, believe me,
This isn’t a backhanded thank you at all.
In fact, it’s the only thanks you’ll ever get from me.