Creative Commons License

Tuesday 10 January 2017


Dear Dad,

You died twenty one years ago today, at about this time, although I wasn't there, I was on a bus coming to see you.

I was 17 then and not nearly a man. Perhaps that is why you withheld so much from me, you thought I wasn't old enough to have those talks with, but when were you going to do it? It's well past too fucking late now, isn't it?

So, yeah, I'm angry. I'm still fucking angry, 21 years later. Not that you died, but with you. I'm angry with you dad.

I never knew you. I'll never know you. I'll never know why you didn't talk to me. Not when I was a child, but when it mattered, when I was a teenager, when I was a young man.

It's that you didn't try that really bothers me, or perhaps you did but some internal conflict or doubt stopped you. For me, all I'm left with is; wasn't I good enough or worthwhile enough, wasn't I considered articulate or intelligent enough?

You've left an imprint of your personality upon me; the miserableness, the sarcasm, the love of solitude, respect for nature, but most of all, the short temper and the boiling pit of anger.

You were an angry man too, weren't you dad?

I remember you smashing things, or storming away and denying with delight the possibility of a calm resolution to whatever small thing had upset you.

What made you angry dad? Was it your father? The fact that he never fucking spoke to you? Imagine that. Imagine just being left, with no help, no advice, no kind words, fucking nothing. No wonder you were angry.

I was sick of being you. Trying to do the things I think you'd want for me. Indeed, I did stop. I stopped years ago, when I was 25. I remember realising that I had nothing to prove and no way to fucking prove it to you anyway. I started thinking for myself properly. I often think that you're the reason I decided to study philosophy. To consider the 'good death'.

You didn't die well did you? If we're given the time to 'put our house in order' before we die, and many people don't get that chance, you should take it. I don't think you did, but perhaps I just wasn't included. Were you protecting me? Or were you just protecting yourself from having to actually talk about your own death to a young man? Or was it talking about your life that was the problem?

Will I do any better, could I be a different father? Hopefully, I'll get to answer those questions, but the potential of failure fills me with fear. Is that what stopped you, dad? Fear?

Dear reader,
Perhaps this all sounds unfair to you. After all he was there; he wasn't earlier deceased, or in prison, or runaway, or on drugs, or abusive, or violent. He did teach me to respect nature and naturalness, to appreciate art and music, to regard working hard at something you value, and probably many other things too. Perhaps it is unfair, perhaps this is just based in my anger, perhaps someday soon I'll learn to live with it or work past it.