A lament for lost opportunities with Dad
|It has been nearly 25 years since my Dad died.
When he died, he and I were not on the best of terms. I thought he was too demanding – too hard on me. I was right. He thought I was too lazy – not living up to my potential. He was – is right.
He wasn’t the problem because I do have more potential. I misunderstood his nearly tyrannical demands because he was constantly telling me I could do more. I was constantly disappointing him.
I am not the problem either. I am doing my best. He didn’t believe me when I told him I had done all of my homework. He had good reason not to believe me because I had not done all of my homework. I wasn’t lying. I had done everything I was aware of.
It sounds like a crutch, but it isn’t. I have ADD. He didn’t know that. I wasn’t diagnosed until about 10 years ago.
When I said I had done all of my homework, I was telling the truth – as I knew it. All he could see is another lie, another failure, another disappointment. He could not fathom I was being truthful when I would later say, “I thought I did do all of my homework. I didn’t know about that assignment.” “All of the other kids knew about it,” he’d say. “You have no excuse.”
Dad, you were wrong. I was – I am doing my best. Dad, you were right. I was – I am not living up to my potential. Dad, I still need your help.
Before you died, I didn’t know what the problem was. No one did. I know now that you really loved me. I wish I could have experienced that love without the despair caused by constantly disappointing you – and receiving your disapproval. I can only hope that, if you knew how hard it is for me to work through this disability that I would have received your approval – and help I could have used.
You never met my first wife. Honestly, I wish I had never met her either. She didn’t understand the ADD either, and we have had a bitter divorce. Our two sons are both adults now, so we don’t have to deal with each other any more, but her betrayal of my love still drains me.
My oldest son has been convinced by his mother that I am so manipulative that nothing I say could ever have a positive value. He won’t speak to me. As painful as his rejection has been, my relationship with my younger son has been very fulfilling until last year when he decided to leave the business we built together.
My second wife loves me, but her love has a negative edge to it which is hard to take. Our son is wheelchair bound and not conversant, so my relationship with him is not as fulfilling as it could have been. Between the two of them, I still often feel alone.
Medication has helped tremendously over the past few years, but it is too expensive. Up until this past year, there have been programs where I was able to receive the medication at no cost, thanks to the manufacturers. This past year, however, it has been nearly impossible to receive the medication at all until this past month. Now, however, the new low-income program will not allow me to receive all of the medication I need, so I find it quite difficult to resume interrupted tasks.
Compound the effects of the missing medication with the rejection and missing assistance of my son, and it has become nearly impossible to survive. I miss his companionship to be sure, but keeping him busy quite often gave me the incentive to begin the day. Now, I find starting or resuming tasks as difficult as carrying an anvil around the house.
The lack of business success is depressing.
I’m not sure how to get out of my malaise. Is it caused by irregular/missing medication? Is it caused by the seemingly insurmountable business problems caused by the slow economy and lack of assistance? Is it caused by the negative comments from my wife? Is it caused by my sons' rejection of me?
The one thing I am convinced of is your love, Dad. And you’re gone. I miss you.