Month: September 2018

Fathers and Sons: I miss my Dad

Fathers and Sons: I miss my Dad

Do you have a father? I did. He’s dead now. That’s the least emotional manner in which I can admit this fact.

Fathers and Sons, a relationship as old as man, and as turbulent as anything else you can think of. It’s been years now, but it still hurts just as much, an empty space, an aching void where he should be. Gods do I miss the man I grew up hating and loving in equal measures. I can trace so many of my issues and my strengths directly to him.

I’m not sure what this post is about, as it was triggered by an overwhelming barrage of emotions that hit me as I’m trying to suss out how I ended up where I am in life now, metaphorically and literally kneeling in the wet grass sobbing and cursing the headstone on his grave.

Let’s start by acknowledging I am a mess of man.

We all like to think we are not that badly put together, truly as a species, man tends toward the rosy version of the truth when it comes to self-evaluation. I have five children by my current wife, one by another that I divorced due to relationship failures too numerous to come back from (and bad decision-making on my part at the outset, why did we get married?).

I have been in two major ( should have died ) car accidents without physical injury, tried to end my own life half a dozen times with alcohol and drugs, and battle depression on and off over the years.

I don’t think I will ever be able to say that I am free of that affliction. It’s been too long in the making to recover in a single lifetime.

Wow, when I say it like that, it sounds like I am reading it off the psychiatrist’s overview report.

So who’s to blame?

At some level, I blame my father for most of what’s happened. He was a hard man to look up to. He was a hard man period. But he was also my father, and as much as I hated him, I also loved him and in some sense idolized his better qualities. He worked harder than any man I ever knew, when he worked.

But before I get too far off track, as Will Smith says (where’s that video? Here’s the link ) there’s a difference between fault and responsibility. Who’s fault it is doesn’t mean anything at all, but who’s responsible for cleaning up the mess that has become me? Well, that’s on me son. Does it really matter that our society’s gotten off the track of the good, following the righteous, and wandered into the easy paths of sin and decadence. The new normal is ease and comfort rather than honest hard work and growth? Granted that’s just my opinion, you’re free to argue with me but this is my breakdown post, not yours, so there.

Again, I can blame anything and anyone I want, but in the end, the responsibility is mine to make the changes, do the work and be the better man, hopefully. I sure as hell don’t want my kids growing up with the same mess of coping mechanisms that I grew up with. It’s on me to make that change for them.

Faith in God, Knowing I have a reason to be here.

Yep, there it is. That religion word again. But call it what you will, I’ll save you a seat on Sunday. If you don’t want to believe in God, then at least know that you have a purpose. Inscribe that on your soul, and wake up each day to the renewed purpose of your life. For me, it took a literal knock on the head to get to this point. See, I have, for most of my life, driven vehicles of questionable quality. A few of those vehicles have failed spectacularly at the wrong moments. Two such ended up putting me in harms way. I should have not walked away from either of them. The worst one, I rolled an 85 mustang coupe down a ten story bank, the car went over and rolled like six or seven times before stopping on its roof at the bottom of the gulch. I crawled out the window and walked away, no worse for wear. The only thing missing was the exploding car at the end of the scene. Luck? Maybe. Once. Twice? Nah.

Now, thanks to unrealistic expectations and dodgy mental health, I also battle depression, not everyday now, I am in a better place lately, but it does rear it’s head. A few times, years back, the black dog tried to end me. The most notable are when I spent far too long binge drinking things that one should only sample in discrete moderation, (think tequila benders, and bad stage dives), and when I was suffering dental issues and recovering from broken bones and also started to drink in excess, (pain pills, whiskey and a death wish thanks to apathy and depression). Both times I should have died. Actually died, according to the doctors involved. I didn’t die. Nobody’s sure how I didn’t die. There’s no reason I should be able to be here typing this for you, but I am.

Once, luck, maybe, twice, ok, the odds are stretching. Considering the vehicle crashes, the suicide attempts, and the rest of the really bad decisions I made in the past, I’ve come to a rock solid faith that there’s a reason I’m still here, and that St. Michael the Archangel at the least, is watching over me.

So, what now?

The value of a life well lived is to know you have a reason for being here, figuring out what that reason is, and then working your ass off to make that reason a reality. Kinda.

Now, I had to take the hard path, figuring out by process of elimination that I am needed here. I tried, intentionally, and accidentally, to end it all, but I kept surviving. Then along comes my current bride, and some insanely cute but truly remarkable kids that call me dad.

So it’s up to me to fix my mess, and not leave it for them to handle when they’re old enough to question their purpose.

As for the needing to know my reason for being here, it seems to me, at this moment, that standing tall as an example of what can go wrong and how to stand weather the storm, to come out a functional man at the end, is what I’m working on now. Blogging and posting about the program I’m working through, trying to come to terms in a public forum so that other lost souls like I was can know they’re not alone, there’s strength in numbers and community and support.

Now, I’ve a beautiful little girl trying to eat my keyboard, so I should go feed her before church.

DFTBA and God Bless.

Duke.