Half my life has been spent waiting. For a phone call, for a text back, for confirmation of exactly when and where we were going to meet up. Most phone calls went unreturned. Most text messages, unanswered. This made confirmations impossible—resulting in me seeing you maybe once a month, for a few hours, if I was lucky. Sometimes we went an entire year. Maybe two.
My own father. My own father, who told me I’d always be “number one,” but can’t even reply to my text messages or return my phone calls. You’re supposed to protect me, support me, and offer guidance and advice, right? But instead, here I am, doing the protecting. The supporting. Offering advice. Guidance. As best as I know how.
The tears I’ve cried could fill a swimming pool—and for years, I thought it would be easier to just hold my breath at the bottom.
I wouldn’t have to search endlessly for answers to all of these difficult questions—polling every one of my friends, family members, and significant others for their advice.
Am I doing enough?
How much monetary and emotional support am I required to provide, if it’s draining me of everything I have?
How involved in his life do I need to be?
What’s best for him and for me?
Is it my responsibility to look for a detox facility?
Do I cut him off completely if having him in my life has done more harm than good?
It’s been 26 years, and no one’s had the answers. I wish I could say that I’ve stopped expecting them to, but I still have hope that someday, someone will be able to take this very grey situation and make it black and white for me. I would no longer have to spend every day wondering what the truth about your situation actually is. If you’re really clean, or you’re still finding ways to get your hands on your next fix. Whether I should be doing more than I am, or stand my ground in attempt to teach you a lesson.
At the end of the day, only one thing is true. You’re still my dad. Maybe I haven’t really learned to cope. Maybe I never will. But I do know this: I’ll never stop loving you. Even when it hurts like hell.