All I have left

Matt Janak By Matt Janak, 16th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Parenting

Ever wish you could go back and say the things you needed to say when someone was alive? Here are my thought to my departed father, and my regrets at thing left unsaid.

My thoughts on the past

My Dad was a Vietnam veteran, a country boy at heart, a native Texan, a kind soul, a proverbial "Southern Democrat", an alcoholic, a racist, and emotionally unavailable the majority of my life. He was raised dirt poor in a Texas town so small they rode horses to school because they didn't have a car. He was the subject of abuse from his own father, as I would later learn, and as such vowed to never so much as raise a hand to me in anger. I was is only child, my brothers and sister shared a mother with me and the house for seven years but nothing else. My earliest memories of him besides drinking in the garage all night and passing out in the living room recliner, were watching war movies with him and asking the typical innocent questions children ask about war, not knowing the true implications. I knew what divorce was at an early age, and would tell my mother "If y'all get divorced, I wanna live with you." Her answer always being the same of course, "It's up to the judge." It's not that I was afraid of my dad or anything, he didn't hit or abuse me or anything else. I just knew early on that he wasn't emotionally available in the same way as I saw everyone else in my life. When my mother died shortly after my 14th birthday, it was my childhood nightmare come to life, living with him and him alone. We went though some of the worst times of our lives together, in the same house but not of the same mind. Out of fear and loneliness he married again a woman who turned out to be the reason I can't visit a certain town, or smell a certain perfume without having a flashback,and for years I hated him for it. After joining the Army myself I came to respect the man once again as I had as a child, and in the years that followed I lived with the regret of not speaking to him more and utilizing every opportunity I was given. I fought so hard to not be like him in any way, to be the anti-Ernest, to not drink, smoke, or marry a crazy woman just to have someone to be there. But the more I fought against it, the more I realized I was more like him that either one of us realized. I never picked up the bad habits he had, but the work ethic, the desire to help others in any way possible, even at one's own expense, the very long fuse with a very big bang at the end, it was all his influence. The moment it hit me most was when he had to go in for a surgery to correct an issue with his veins, and I watched this once giant of a man disassemble himself like a knight taking off his armor in front of the crowd. His glasses, his watch, his dentures, he took it off and handed it to me, the only one standing there, neither of us knowing if it would be for the last time. When my father did die it was sudden, on a Wednesday, in his bed. He knew they would soon take his other leg, and he would be resigned to a wheelchair for the rest of is life, so he gave up. It was the only time in his life he ever did. He drew up his will, made sure his affairs were in order, gave me what (he thought) I needed and drifted off to sleep, my last words to him being "See you later", although not planning a specific date in mind. I buried my father two weeks after is 67th birthday, and with all the questions I never got to ask, and emotions I never got to express, the feelings I never got to share, were buried with him.

The advice to my younger self?

If anger is all you have towards someone, anger is all you will have left of them


Dad, Father, Father And Son, Father Knows Best, Fatherhood, Fathers, Fathers Day, Fathers Love

Meet the author

author avatar Matt Janak
Army veteran, living in Texas, former aspiring comedian, current husband and step-father, lover of Star Wars, and hater of spider flatulence. My profile pic is from my book, Dark Part of the Mind.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
18th Jun 2013 (#)

What an excellent write Matt, but how sad the story . I really pray that you find peace in your heart now , free of regrets and painful memories . Forgive and be released my friend .
God bless you

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