Last night my younger sister contacted me to inform me that my father had passed away at the age of 61 with a suspected heart attack.
I am sad to say that the only emotions I am feeling right now are relief and a little anger..
I am angry that my sister and I begged and pleaded for his attention whilst we were growing up and had given him many opportunities to be a part of our adult existence.
Now he is dead.
He chose to die before attempting to reconcile with his children.
I feel relief.
I am relieved, as him being alive and choosing not to participate in our lives was like torture.
I have believed for a long time that once he passed away that the anger and grief I deal with would gradually dissipate.
That I would then be able to grieve and go through a process in which time will eventually alleviate.
Today we have subsequently found out that he has no funeral arrangements in place and certainly no assets to cover any costs.
That he had a second exotic holiday booked for later this year.
He has spent his entire life in pursuit of self-gratification, regardless of the detriment caused during the process.
It is ironic how the only 3 people who are willing to go and pick up the pieces are the same people who have suffered the most because of him.
My mother, Sister and I.
The only contact I have had with him over the past 25 years is when I decided a few years ago to go and visit him in Manchester for a couple of days to try and make my peace with him.
I travelled to him, I bought him shopping to fill his empty cupboards, I took him to the local pub and bought him drinks, I told him I loved him and was sorry for whatever he had been through that had made him abandon myself and my sister.
Last year my sister invited him to spend Christmas with her.
This would have been an opportunity for him to meet her husband and his grandchildren for the first time.
It took a lot of courage for her to make such an offer.
She has previously explained to me that the full extent of the effect the turmoil and experiences we endured during our childhood have only become fully apparent since becoming a parent herself. (Something I have to look forward to I guess)
His response to this undeserved olive branch:
“I do not like travelling.”
The saddest thing about my father passing away is that I am not sad.
I am going to use everything I have experienced positive and negative to improve the lives of as many young men as possible who experience similar issues growing up without a positive same sex role model.
To channel my anger into benefiting others.
To offer them the experiences, opportunities, education and support I never received.
To help as many other Lads Without Dads as possible.