I’m going to do a special Father’s Day post because, let’s be honest, part of my bipolar disorder stems from my father’s genes.
The past few Father’s Day celebrations have not been easy for me, as I have lost two fathers; one physically and one because that is the relationship he chooses to have with me. Up until I was 24, I always associated this day with the one who raised me, gifts and fancy dinners and hallmark cards. It wasn’t until our relationship fell apart that I realized I had been celebrating the wrong man, that I should be honoring the very man who gave life to me. Even though I don’t know much about him, I am more connected to him than the father I spent 24 years with… and that’s saying a lot.
I don’t remember the conversation about my adoption, I just remember it was something I always knew. It was never hidden from me or talked about in secret. My mother was very open and honest about everything, which I am very lucky and thankful for. But there are some gaps in my birth father’s story, one important fact that seems to change every time I hear about him. And that is how he died. I’ve been told a few things; that he passed in his sleep, that he had a heart attack, that he accidentally overdosed on heroin and that he committed suicide. As I got older, the story seemed to change from heart problems to full blown drug addict.
But with the knowledge of him being a troubled teenager combined with how I felt growing up, suicide doesn’t seem so far off. I’m sure that’s going to offend some people but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve considered taking my life, not so much these days but it was a common thought (and sometimes an attempt) until I was 21. There is a darkness in me and I’m certain he had it too. I was raised by a man who doesn’t believe in mental disorders or depression (yet I’ve never met a more depressed human being) so there was always comfort in that, the idea that someone understood, that I wasn’t crazy. I know pain and struggle and iniquity are not uncommonly felt, I am not special here… but knowing that it was experienced by someone who had the same blood running through their veins was consolatory. It was almost as if I wanted to get through the depression just to prove to him that it was possible, that he wasn’t a failure for taking his life… that in all reality, it gave me back mine.
I don’t know if you believe in the paranormal but I most certainly do; some people have embraced it, most people have found it strange. But I know that my birth father is there, I have felt him and even seen him on many occasions, mostly during the moments where the darkest corners of my room were most comforting. Sometimes I swear he just shows up to remind me that I am not alone, that I have a father, that I’m safe.
I just wanted to take this day to celebrate you, a man I never got to meet but is a better father to me than the one I grew up with. And if that makes me sound crazy, it realy wouldn’t be the first time.
Rest in paradise.