As I write this, some two and a half years later, my word still holds true. I told my amazing step-daughter to collect what she wanted from the house, because she was never coming back. I don’t know how many times I had to grit my teeth and clench my fists and will myself not to even attempt to beat some sense into his senselessness. Part of me will always regret that the last time I seen my mother alive, she was on what we all believed to be her deathbed, completely unresponsive. I never told her goodbye in person, even though she arose from that bed, only to go into a battle with cancer she would eventually lose. But I refused to take my family back around him, even on the phone he was a tad unhinged.
Prior in my life, either my wife guilted me into calling him, or I felt like humoring him with a silly project that I knew he’d enjoy hearing about. It always took a toll to talk to him, but I did it because of some sense of respect for the man. Maybe it was the long talks with my mother about how much I hated him as a child, maybe it was the fact I wanted to believe that blood does tie a family together. I’ve learned that to be wrong many times over, watching other people. Blood is no tie at all. The only true tie is respect and I cannot recall a single time I had the respect, that wasn’t in some way condescending, of the man who impregnated my mother nine months before I was born.
I can never fault anyone for being a hard worker, but 12 hours a day, 7 days a week is just pushing yourself into something that is not even a life. I learned several lessons from my parents, every single one of them was to not be anything like them. I struggle as hard as I can against the genetic behavior, but other things were completely easy.