I open up on this forum. I try to be as vulnerable as I can. It helps me get stuff off my heart and might help someone out there relate and find peace. This journal helps me cope with life’s bull shit. There is always one topic that confuses my brain. I set out to figure it out. I think, I talk, I write but in the end I remain baffled. I’ve tackled some serious issues in my life. I stand tall on the work that I’ve done. I’m proud of my survival amidst the figurative hand grenades I’ve dropped at my side. I’ve dodged them and in some cases put them into extinction. One remains indestructible.

My dad and I have a relationship. For over a decade (more actually) I carried hate and anger in my heart for the man. Quick background: they got divorced when I was very young, 3 I think. He left our life. For almost 30 years I was under the impression that it was because of alcohol. Boy, was I wrong. I live in a “if you don’t ask, you’ll never know” family. Well, I asked and got a final answer. There was another woman. I finally understood my mother’s pain. I can wrap my head around it though. People fall in love. It happens, often. I get it. We’re human. But what I don’t get is why he left me behind, seemingly no fight. I’m his only son…

Over my younger years there were visits. He would come get me a few times a year and we would have pretty fun weekends together. I have fond memories of painting demolition derby cars, those are my favorite. Around my 12th birthdayish, the visits stopped. The cards stopped, everything stopped. I always thought it was me. It was something I did or said. I thought it might have been something my mother said. Their relationship is not good, so that made since to me. So I asked him. He said, “time got away from him and he wasn’t sure how to be a father…”

A few years ago, I did some serious therapy on this subject. I came to the realization that I had to let go of the hate and anger. They were getting in my way. I wrote letters. I talked. I cried. Eventually it was gone. The disappointment remained but the ferocity was gone. I felt lighter. We would meet later that year and from there on we would have a relationship. He even made the grueling trip out here to my wedding. I could feel him trying. And then, a month goes by, two months, three months…nothing. We talk and it’s nice, mostly small talk about weather and other non-emotional subjects but it’s something. And then, a month goes by, two months, three months…nothing.

We have another kid, his second grandchild. We haven’t had a meaningful conversation about it. We talked about our little guy once but I am under the impression he doesn’t remember. He’ll call and not leave messages or leave somewhat upsetting ones. I feel the emotions of the past creeping in but I evaporate them with newly sharpened tools, tools I could have used as a kid. I haven’t called back. It’s my turn in this perpetual back and forth. I think I feel like him. Time is slipping by at an extreme rate. “It’s getting away from me and I’m not sure how to be a son.”

I don’t know how to proceed. I know what advice will be. My Christian friends will tell me to forgive, it’s divine. All the while they hide their own grudges. My atheist friends say it doesn’t matter, why let it matter? Both of those groups have tremendous ego issues. My Buddhist friends would say that I need to forgive myself and find peace in my heart. The rest will fall in place.

I am a man. I wish for a better relationship with my Dad. I like drinking beer, watching sports, beef jerky; you know manly shit. I’ve had to figure it out for myself.

I think. I cry. I pray. I hope. I wish. I write. I remain confused for now. Is it simple or as complicated as it feels.