I've been estranged from by Father for 5 years now, give or take a few months.
I decided to break contact for a variety of reasons. These boiled down to the influence of my step-mother on my father. My father felt that he had to make a choice between her and her family or his sons. This is a false dychotomy, because he ignored his responsibility to build a bridge and make sure that the two families came together.
Instead, he chose to drive the wedge in deeper by choosing her and her family.
My brother stopped speaking to my Father before I, as he and his husband received very insulting treatment from our step-mother. I believe they stopped communicating 6 years ago, or a year longer than I had.
My step-mother has since died. My Father has an apartment somewhere in the Austin/Round Rock area, and that's that. My step-mother absorbed most of my father's assets in exchange for my father's healthcare and living situation settled until his death. As expected, my Father's adopted family don't really seem to care much about him and, as far as I can tell, don't communicate with him at all.
This revelation I'm sure came as a surprise to my Father, but was of no surprise to my brother or I.
My father embodies the modern, american conservative ideal of "I have mine, fuck you and get yours".
He expects my brother and I to want to maintain a connection with him, despite the emotional abuse leveled against us by him and our step-mother through the years.
I'm told I should reconcile. But for whom am I reconciling? I have a dad, my step-father.
A Father results from sexual congress between a man and a woman and the successful implantation of a fertilized egg in her uterus.
A Dad results from being a parent. A parent means consoling injuries when the bactine stings. A parent means encouragement when it seems dark and bleak. Being a parent means proud smiles and laughter when things go great. It means hugs and kisses, every day. It means back rubs every night. It means putting your own desires aside and playing with them, loving them, and being a part of their life, being a mentor for life.
That is my step-father. He is my Dad.
My Father stopped being my Dad two decades ago. He was often rude to my wife, stooping so low as to make snide remarks about incidental housecleaning while she made him lunch and she was 8 months pregnant. He was rude to my friends when he'd visit me in college. He showed as little desire to be a part of his Grandchildren's life as he did mine. When asked when they could visit, he and my step-mother would claim poverty, yet we'd be told stories of their numerous cruises around the Pacific or Caribbean.
We're often told to forgive and forget.
When it comes to by Father, I'm not sure I can do either. I don't think that he deserves forgiveness, and I cannot forget and appreciate the repercussions these choices had upon his children.
My GameUX Summit keynote: (Dis)Assembling Games
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