Something I’ve Been Wanting To Ask My Father But Don’t Know How To

If These Walls Could Talk, I Would Try To Ignore Them

When my dad was a teenager, he came home one day to find his father hanging from his neck. His father, my grandfather, killed himself. I never knew my grandfather.

How do I know this happened?

I grew up in a house with a basement, a middle floor and an upstairs.

When my parents would argue – which was quite often – they sometimes made their way downstairs to vent to each other. I’m guessing they didn’t want to do it too much in front of my brother and I. But that did happen sometimes.

Whatever, stuff like that happens all the time all around the planet. It’s not like there was any physical abuse, which is ten times worse than some yelling.

A Lingering Memory

One day while I was playing with toys (6inch GI Joes of course) in the upstairs hallway, I could here some loud voices coming from the basement. Although I couldn’t make out what they were saying.

As the voices got louder I figured out what was going on. Mom and Dad were fighting. Here we go again, I’m sure I thought.

I don’t know about any of you, but, when my brother and I were younger we used to get worried about whether our parents were fighting about us or about some other thing. It was almost always about some other things that had nothing to do with either my brother or I.

But, just to make sure, we had a way of finding out without being in the room or getting caught up in the yelling matches.

The upstairs bathroom was equipped with a laundry chute that opened up underneath the sink. It made its way through the middle floor of the house down to the laundry room in the basement.

Sometimes my brother and I would go into the bathroom, open up the laundry chute door and listen to them arguing.

On this particular day, the laundry room door was open. Lucky me. I could hear everything.

Say What?

(Dad’s Name) just because your dad killed himself around Christmas time doesn’t mean you can act like this around this time each year!”

It wasn’t so much that these words came from my mothers mouth. For the purpose of this post forget for a minute what you know about hypergamy, solipsism the FI and all that fun stuff. This isn’t about her. I love my mom. She is a woman.

What I remember first thinking was, “How did I not know about this?” and “How the fuck would you handle that?”

The Selfish Gene

After years of on-again off-again pondering of this moment, I’m really just left with some thoughts and some questions to ask myself, and maybe my dad.

Who am I to think that I deserve to know this information?”

That is my father’s private memory. A situation from his life that he had to deal with. Not mine.

How did he deal with this?”

I’ve often tried to put myself in that situation – opening a door to a room to find my father’s dead hanging body.

I almost immediately feel fear, guilt, shame and it’s as if I’ve lost everything.

Did him (and his 3 brothers and 2 sisters, my dad being the oldest) see a psychiatrist when they were young? If so until when?

He must of had some psychiatry work done on him in his youth, right? Although I can only speculate.

My father was a youth counselor for a lot of his career. He’s good at dealing with troubled youth. Could this have been a catalyst for him becoming a counselor?

Goddamnit, I was/am such a spoiled little prick. My dad didn’t/doesn’t deserve most of the verbal barrage from my youth/now.”

As I’ve mentioned before: It’s long past the time for me to be angry at my father.

Close Call

My old man is exactly that – an old man. He’s 70 years old. He had a heart attack about 4 or 5 years ago.

I was standing outside on the balcony of my downtown sublet apartment when I got the phone call.

Dad had a heart attack.” My older brother said.

My chest sunk. Tears started to form. “Is my dad going to die?”
I thought.

He pulled through. He was air lifted by helicopter to a hospital for coronary specialists. That was the closest I’ve come to knowing what it’s like what my dad went through. Still not even close.

One Day

My father has a hell of a sense of humour. I get mine from him. He’s told me some great stories about funny stuff he did in his youth.

But when it comes to his family, he doesn’t talk much about his past. Hell, I didn’t even know one of his sisters existed until 3 years ago.

I respect that of him. Like I said, it’s his past, his history and his private memories and they all belong to him.

I want to ask him so badly – What was it like losing your father the way you did?

All that is left for me to do is to just ask him. I’m at an age where I think I’m comfortable enough to ask him. We’ll see.

Thank you for reading. It means a lot to me that you did.

Now, I put it to you – Do you have lingering questions and things to ask your parents, but were too afraid to?

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10 thoughts on “Something I’ve Been Wanting To Ask My Father But Don’t Know How To”

  1. Some thoughts:

    “Who am I to think that I deserve to know this information?”

    Is that your ego speaking? How about turning it around and wondering: Why can I not allow myself to be curious about this?

    To want to know somebody intimately is nothing to be ashamed of. That does not mean you must not respect his wish to not tell about it, but to never even ask seems overly shameful. You overheard it, so stand by it.

    “How did he deal with this?”

    Since my father left me alone with my mother before I was born, I would probably feel a little sad and angry and think: There you go, motherfucker. You failed as a father and now you are too weak to even die with self-respect.

    “Goddamnit, I was/am such a spoiled little prick. My dad didn’t/doesn’t deserve most of the verbal barrage from my youth/now.”

    Why beat yourself up over it? You are what you are. You are not a slave of your father’s sentiments. I heard this nice sentence called ‘Sons are there to terrorize their fathers.’ Nobody is perfect; consider to forgive yourself and let go.

    “As I’ve mentioned before: It’s long past the time for me to be angry at my father.”

    Why do you have such trouble accepting your anger? What emotion triggers it in you? What do you expect your dad to say? What emotion would you feel, if you did not mask it with anger? Can you allow yourself to feel that emotion? You may learn something you may not yet have admitted to yourself. I do not know what, but as a commenter on my blog said: Anger is like an orchestra and one has to know all the instruments well to direct and understand it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tom. You gave me things to think about.

      Is it my ego – perhaps it is.

      “You are who you are.” – you’re right Tom. The sooner I accept that the better off I’ll be.

      “one has to know all the instruments well to direct and understand it” – wonderful metaphor.

      Meaningful comments like the ones you left here, and the one you shared from your blog, is one reason why I blog.

      I got some thinking to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t ask him anything. At eleven years old I tried to hang myself by slipping a belt around my neck and securing the loose end through the bifold closet door. I lost consciousness and woke up on the bedroom floor. I’m now 60. I don’t want to relive it. And your old man doesn’t want to relive his experience with suicide either. They are his demons and his alone. At his age all you will accomplish is to awaken those demons. Don’t torture an old man to assuage your curiosity about things that are long gone and best forgetting. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Than you for sharing that John. I’m sure it wasn’t easy.

      You make a good point about reliving the experience. I’d imagine he wouldn’t want to. However, I don’t know for sure.

      “Don’t torture an old man to assuage your curiosity about things that are long gone and best forgetting”

      It might be best to wait it out and see if he ever brings it up (although I can’t see why he would).

      Thanks for helping me digest some things.

      Like

    1. Hey Wald.

      No I did not ask. I will wait until he brings it up, if he ever does.

      When it comes down to it it’s his stuff to share or not share. I’ll respect that.

      Like

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