Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

Recently a dear friend of mine lost his father and it got me thinking.  I came to realize that I've subconsciously blamed my "deadbeat dad" for many things over the years.  I sometimes think that if he had just been there for me as a child, as a teen and now as a young adult looking to start my own life, maybe, just maybe I wouldn't be so lost.  I want to have a dad, one that says those three magic words I don't ever remember my father saying to me.  My father was not always gone, there were periods in which he was in my life  but we were never close.  I have a father out there, somewhere.  Once in a while my mom receives a child support check from him for my younger siblings.  I've never truly had a dad though. 

I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

My friend got to tell his father how much he loved him.  He got to tell his father everything he ever wanted to tell him.  He was lucky to have such a wonderful relationship and a real dad.  Not any man can be a dad.  "Dad" and "father" are not the same thing.  Father can be nothing more than a sperm donor, but it takes work, love, and caring to be a dad.  I have no strong religious background because neither of my parents really have strong beliefs about much of anything.  Some days I miss having a dad, other days I feel lucky not to have to deal with my father.  It's been almost four years since he's even tried to call us.  There is so much about me he will never know just because he never bothered to ask.  There's so much about him I'll never know because he has never given me the chance to ask.  I don't think I've ever had a true conversation with the man my mom called her husband for two separate marriages. 

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got

During the times when he was visiting us I'd make notes of what to say to him but never managed to say the things I needed to say.  Instead I just pretended everything was fine and tried to enjoy the pizza and tokens he'd gotten for us to keep us busy during his three hour visit every couple weeks or so.  The only conversation we had was over the food and perhaps my new hair cut or about his new family.  I have never told him the way I feel about him and I'm afraid I never will. 

You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defense

We always kept the conversation light and about the here and now.  Both of us afraid of what might be said if we didn't.  I envy my friend and his relationship with his parents.  He has always been close to his parents, closer than I have ever been to anyone.  They have conversations.  They make sure to not only say they love each other but to show their love.  They talked of good, they talked of bad.  The important part is they talked. 

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts

Conversation in my family always seems to lead to argument.  We cannot talk of the past without someone bringing something up we begin to argue about and the conversation ends with everyone feeling anger toward everyone else.  We don't get together with family anymore.  We do not talk of the future, nor the past.  Only the present, but the bitterness remains.  The loneliness remains.

So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day

We don't argue much.  We just keep our mouths shut and let the anger build within us.  Never revealing our true feelings until it builds up so much we explode at one another.  The future is the present, nothing ever seems to change.  We never seem to learn.  We never seem to change.  Nothing ever seems to change, but yet I keep on hoping that someday things will be different.  I keep wishing for a better relationship with my father and my mother. 

And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be o.k.

Every time I feel like giving up I turn to my dear friends who are so strong and have shown me that not all families are like mine.  I keep hoping the phone calls from my mother will end in "I love you" like they used to.  Nowadays she only says that if I say it first, and even then its rare.  My dearest friends have shown me hope, have helped me not to give up.  They tell me I'll be okay as long as I don't give up.  Maybe I'll be okay if I can just quietly keep pretending...

I wasn’t there that morning
When my father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

My friend got to say goodbye and tell his father how much he loved him and to thank him.  I'll never have that.  The only reason I even know my father is alive is because the courts still garnish his wages for the over one-hundred-ten thousand he owes in back child support. He owes just on the three children he had with my mother, not to mention how much he may owe on his other children. 

I'll never get the chance to tell my father that I loved him anyway, yet hate him too.  He left us.  He never bothered to call, never acknowledges our birthdays, or Christmas, or any other holiday.  He hasn't been part of my or my siblings lives at all for years and when he was he visisted the minimum amount he could and admits to only coming to see what he has to give his hard earned money to see.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear

Oh dear father, why have you done this?  Why were you such an jerk to my mother, to me, to my sister, to my brother?  Why did you abandon us?  Why did you treat us so terribly. I know you never physically hurt us but your words hurt us and your lack of love hurts us.  There is an empty spot reserved in my heart for the daddy I never had and never will have.  The emptiness will never be filled.  I'll never even get to tell you goodbye or perhaps thank you for staying away.  Why have you ignored us all these years?  Why haven't you heard our wishes for a dad?  I know you can hear. Why will you never be there to answer my questions I've had bottled up inside me for years and years?  Will I never have the chance to tell you to your face, "dad", what an jerk you have been?  Will death take me first?  Or perhaps take you first?  We'll never face the truth about us will we father of mine?

It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

CST Approved

Lyrics from "The Living Years"
As performed by Mike and the Mechanics
Used within fair use.

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