I Wish I’d Known That Guy

My father died on Thursday, November 6, at 5:15am. He had a massive stroke on Wednesday night, and he died a few hours after being taken off life support. He would have been miserable if he’d lived, they could have operated but he’d have never walked again, probably wouldn’t ever have spoken again, would have been blind. I’d rather be dead, too.

I was supposed to meet my stepmother for lunch on Thursday, she was coming here for a meeting. She called me Wednesday night to tell me she was at the hospital, and my brother called me later that night to tell me he wasn’t going to make it. Neither of us knew how we felt about it. I guess what I mostly felt was “That’s too bad.”. I had just talked to my stepmother a few days before and she’d asked me, if I were ever in Dallas, if I’d be willing to go out to dinner with them. Because I haven’t talked to my father in almost four years. I took a lot of shit from him over the years, but his racist comments about my baby and my husband pushed me too far one too many times, and I gave up on him. There was no point, he was a toxic presence every time I ever let him into my life. I grew up, let go, and moved on.

So now he’s dead and it’s very strange. My brother, my sister and I all went to Dallas for his funeral. We have a half-brother, he’s 23 years younger than me, and as horrible of a non-father as he was to us, he was the exact opposite kind of father to Steven. I listened to Steven eulogize him at the funeral, he broke down a couple of times, he really is going to miss his dad. His pain almost brought tears to my eyes, but not quite. Because I didn’t know that guy he was talking about. That father who was there every day, who taught him to play golf and went to all of his football games. My father doted on Steven. He never, ever doted on the four of us. He left us to fend for ourselves, and when we did see him, he exposed us to all kinds of crazy shit (as you can tell from my occasional posts on this blog). He was a pathological liar and a total narcissist, and if you asked me if he ever loved anyone but himself, I’d have to say “no way” from our experiences. But if he ever loved anyone, it was Steven. That would honestly be the only nice thing that I can say about him.

I’m glad that at least he didn’t spend his entire life treating all of his children like they didn’t exist or matter. But it was very difficult to be at that funeral, and to accept the condolences of people who knew him when they were introduced to us. At least there were no awkward questions from anyone.

I’m glad we went because I got to see my brother and sister together, which doesn’t happen often. I’m glad we were there for Steven, I think he has questions about why we were never around but he isn’t ready to ask them. But I know it was good for him that we were there, he has four siblings that maybe he can get to know now that our father isn’t in the picture. It’s kind of strange, he doesn’t resemble any of us in any way, or my father. But then, my brother and I don’t resemble our father at all, and my other brother looks exactly like him.

So, he’s dead. I don’t quite know what to do with that fact yet.


  1. I want to say I’m sorry, but I think that from this post, and the posts you wrote about him previously that it wouldn’t appropriate. I am sorry that he wasn’t a better father, father in law and grandfather. Even that seemed trite…


  2. Powerful stuff here. I’ve read your posts in the past, and I imagine there isn’t much in the way of grief on your part. Some people we say goodbye to long before they pass . . . But I do like the hope that sneaks into this post. This can be a time of healing among you and your siblings, especially with the one who was doted over. I hope you all find a way to bond now that the captivity is over . . .


  3. Kathryn:I send you my prayers and thoughts, at hearing about this change, and pray that closure will be more complete on this past, painful period of your life. I wish you (and your siblings) peace and love. Take care, my friend…


  4. This was particularly interesting for me to read, as my dad is in ICU right now and for the first two weeks we didn’t know if he’d make it.I’d have been devastated, as would my sister and my dad’s siblings.I say your post was interesting because I asked one of the nurses one day if it was ever frustrating to be at work and see patients whose families never visited.She said she used to be, but that she’s developed a theory: you get what you give.”We feel sorry for people in ICU because they’re helpless and vulnerable, sure…but we don’t know who they were or how they treated people before they ended up here. If no one is coming to visit them, you have to wonder why.”I have a relative or two who would fit the profile of the largely unvisited, and whose deaths would leave me not sure how to feel.I don’t know what I’m saying, really, other than that I can understand your confusion when it comes to what to feel and what to do with whatever feelings you’re having. Sorry you have to go through it.


  5. I imagine this is such a strange place to be. And I’m sorry for the confusion you feel and for the lack of the father that you needed. And I’m sorry, too, that he died before you could work it all out. Peace to you.


  6. Wow, your dad sounds a lot like mine. My father has not passed away yet…..at least not that I have heard about. He is however, not a part of my life. I decided yeas ago that he only made me sad so why bother trying to have a realationship with him. It will be very odd to go to his funural…been years sicne I have seem my 1/2 brother and sister.


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