This is the hardest thing I’ve ever written, containing my darkest secret. The thing no one dares admit to.
While you were remembering the ten year anniversary of 9/11 last year, I was holding a ten-years-later moment of silence for something else. Maybe I’m selfish, or maybe I’m human, but the Twin Towers weren’t the worst thing to happen to me that week.
That was the week I lost my father. Oh, he survived the suicide attempt, just barely, but things have never been the same. The thing is that while in my heart and soul I know I don’t really mean this, sometimes I wish he hadn’t failed. I would never wish that upon my Daddy, but my Daddy didn’t survive that attempt. I was left with the broken, bitter shell of what used to be my father.
He is angry at me because he survived, and he’s angry that my sister made him promise he’d never try it again. He's angry at me because I didn’t send money I didn’t even have to help him pay his mortgage. He’s angry at me because my sister hauled him up here when his home was being foreclosed on and dropped him into my home with my family. He would much rather live with her, since she is the special one and none of this is her fault. She doesn’t want him.
His only choices were my home, a retirement home or the streets. He has lived with us for five years now, never paying a dime in rent, utilities, or even towards toilet paper. Yet he keeps a running total of every unasked-for apple and quart of ice cream he buys "for the household.” His mother sends him money a few times a year to cover his food and car insurance. She can’t afford it, but we can’t either. I guess she feels like she is the one most obligated to give him that money. I’m somehow the most obligated to keep the roof over his head. I can't complain about that though, that wasn't her choice. She isn't the bad guy in this whole mess.
He refuses to live with his mother, saying that she can’t afford him. My family is on government assistance and at times, only a few steps from the streets ourselves, but somehow we can afford to house him.
And I do, gladly. Or I would be glad if he was just a little bit grateful and didn’t undermine my authority with my children. But somehow it’s my fault he had no income, was losing his home, and on the brink of starvation.
It’s my fault my sister decided what was best was to drive across the country, haul him from his home, and drop him off at mine. It’s my fault he survived taking enough morphine to down a nation. It’s my fault that my Daddy - the world’s most giving, though slightly oblivious man - passed on and this broken shell is what was left behind. Though, it really is my fault that I wish…
...well, I can’t say those words again.