It’s Father’s Day, right?

I woke up today at the crack of noon to call my father and wish him Happy Father’s Day. The call lasted about a good fifteen seconds — an ample amount of time to show my gratitude to him. I’m passed hating him, but in the back of my mind I’ll always think about the things he did and said to my mother and how it affected each of us.

The times where he brought in his outside squabbles into our home. The times where he shouted as loud as he could that he resented being married and having children. The never ending arguments with my mother where he promised to kill her, his children, and the po’po’s who would show up after we dialed 9-1-1. The times where he mocked her for being raped. The times where he subjected us to his blasphemous rants. The times where he would creep into our rooms in the middle of the night to either explain his drunken rages or spew his venom at us.

I always knew exactly when he was ready to start an argument. Holidays, particularly Christmas and Father’s Day. Every few weeks there would be something different to argue over, though I was assured of hearing:

“Fuck you, Di.”

“Imma kill you, Di.”

“Die Bitch.”

“I swear in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost I’m going to kill you.”

“Dial 9-1-1. I’ll shoot at them, too.”

“Fuck all yal.”

And we all knew at one point we needed to get out of bed just incase things were becoming too hostile between our parents.

For many years I wished death upon him. There were even times where I was an inch of way of killing him myself. I resented my mother for keeping us in that environment, though I understand now that she couldn’t take on even greater financial restraints. The fear of being on welfare, in addition to breaking a vow to God was too much to bear for her. I get that now.

My father has done even worse, but you pretty much get the idea. I know there are far worse stories out there, but mine still pretty much sucks.

My father was abused as a child. His father would beat him profusely — even holding up a loaded shotgun to his chest. His mother ran off and married another man. I’m sure he still hates her…and I can understand why. No one ever bothered to help him, so he sunk into the pitfall that is alcoholism.

We don’t talk for long. Simple hello’s, how are you’s, and the like. Recently he told me he wish that he could have gone to school like me and made something out of himself. He also told me that I was his nigga. Not a big fan of that word, but his heart was in the right place. While I’m glad he shared all of that with me, I would much rather talk about other things. For instance, did he, as I did, have nightmares of his father killing his mother or vice versa? Did he ever wake up in the middle of the night just to think about how he could run away and escape the situation he was in? Did he ever stop to realize that he’s repeating the mistakes of his father? Does he know how fucked we all are because of his actions? And the biggie, how can my brother and I break the cycle?

Because of him I don’t ever plan to get married. I would never want to bring that type of pain to people I love. Up until recently I wouldn’t even drink, for fear that I may too become an alcoholic. His brothers are alcoholics. One even became addicted to heroin, eventually dying of AIDS in the early 90s.

I’m still conflicted over how I feel about him. Part of me will always hate him for how he behaved; the other realizes that it’s best to put my feelings of resentment aside so that I won’t become him.

I think my calling him without being instructed to by my mother is a step in the right direction. I’m honestly not sure of how much time he has left, because while he appears to be in tip top shape, the damage he’s done to his body will eventually take its toil. Then again, his father lasted until he was 70, so evil can survive. Whatever happens, I’ll try to make him proud by not following his footsteps. Maybe I’ll even one day muster enough courage to talk to him about all of this.

Happy Father’s Day.

Comments

  1. the expressive one says:

    i feel you. i had to force myself to call my dad too. we’ve mended our relationship but i still dont feel close enough for father’s day to have a meaning. our conversation lasted all of about 30 seconds and he was sounding all depressed when i called. on days like these dads tend to remember all the wrong they did and think about it and maybe even feel remorseful. alas, the day serves a purpose to folks like us after all.

  2. Jasmine says:

    I have totally been there…my step-dad was doin the same shit…and of course my dad “sperm donor” wasn’t in my life..hell i thought he was my damn uncle until i was 12 but anywho…we have mended our broken relationships and everything will take time..just trust in the higher power and everything will be ok!

  3. Morgan-Nichole says:

    I definately understand. I don’t have a story like yours, but my father wasn’t an intergral part in my life and hence has f*cked my mom and I over time and time again. At least you called, I didn’t even think about doing it.

  4. Danyel says:

    my heart goes straight out to you. please keep coming from the heart.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sounds all too familiar .I have been able to cast those feelings aside (or surpress) though .Don’t ask how , my therapist is trying to work it out.

  6. greg says:

    thanks for sharing michael.

  7. Ms Nisha says:

    I’m sitting here fighting back tears… I’ve never had those experiences with my own father but I’ve had friends who’ve endured similiar things. I pray that you can let the pain go because it will imprison you. Everything takes time and prayer and I’ll pray that you can be freed from that mental abuse that is still reoccuring in your life now.

    May God bless you and keep you!

  8. Chelle says:

    I’m in the alcoholic father’s club as well. I get it.

  9. Mia says:

    Wow, I’ve been there as well, I still carry the insecurities that my Father passed on to me, but I guess I’m lucky that i was able to make peace with him a couple years before he died, even to point of us being friends, when he confided his hellish upbringing to me ,I realized he was the only father he knew how to be, I didn’t forgive him for him, I did it for MYSELF, I’m hoping you all are lucky to do the same.

  10. i stan for cynics says:

    wow. never knew we had more in common than being aries cynics. uh yeah. “i’ve been there,” to pretty much everything in this entry. however, i am thankful that by God’s grace, i don’t have to be the alcoholic that my dad was or the drug addict that my mom was. and i don’t have to have the marriage that my parents had.

    i’m telling you… coming to understand who God is and the grace and forgiveness that He has shown me through what Jesus accomplished on the cross has really helped me forgive my father. and pray for him. also knowing that God was always there, even in the darkest times, has also helped me a lot.

    praying for you cynical mike!

  11. wow. i knew as soon as i read the title of this post i had to brace myself. father’s day is a hard topic for me too…

    i found your blog through your mary j blige entry on aliyasking.com and what a banger of an entry to start with!

    i cannot imagine what that must have been like for you, growing up in such an ugly environment. but you are the beautiful flower who rose through the hardship.

    people say it takes pain to be a real artist. i don’t know if i agree with that, but consistently, i find that most of the artists and writers i admire do have some sense of tenacity. of spunk. of being infinitely powerful in a world that constantly tries to tear you down.

    you are one of those people. you are one my heroes!

    i have my own father’s day story to tell. while my story is a bit different from yours, it also is the story of growing up mired in despair due to daddy issues. i call it my “fatherless day” post. you can read/watch it here (it’s a vlog as well) http://hvmntlst.com/avYhiB

    i pray that you can break the cycle. usually, it takes growing up in such homes to know how to break such cycles, plus, our generation is lucky that we can use the internet to seek support from others in ways our parents couldn’t. so in that way we have a definite advantage.

    i think more activist programs should work on the older generations issues as well. it’s frustrating to me that we keep trying as a society, to heal generational dis-eases with single generational approaches.

    and we wonder why the family structure continues to weaken…anyway, thank you so much for your openness.