People would tell me that I needed my dad, or that the boys needed their grandad, and for a while I kind of believed it. I kept thinking that although none of us deserved to be treated like an inconvenience that maybe one day he would change and we would get to see him for more than half an hour and actually have him listen to what we had to say rather than listening to him talk about how wonderful other people in his life were/are.
A daughter shouldn't have to beg to see her dad, especially when she had two amazing grandchildren for him to treasure and who he should be eager to see and want to spend time with.
For 13 and a half years I have been drained by my dads behaviour, by the fact that I constantly have to work so so hard to keep him in my life. And last year I had to let go.
For the sake of my mental health, for the sake of my energy, for my mum who has to hear constantly about the latest thing that had happened, for my husband, and especially for my boys. They don't deserve a part time grandad. Hardly even part time.
They don't deserve to be bottom of a priority list, they should really be close to the top for.
For 13 and a half years I have battled depression and seen various psychologists, counsellors and therapists due to things my dad has done, hasn't done, the way he has behaved and the things he has, and hasn't, said.
There came a point when enough was enough and I remembered the words I had been telling myself from a certain point last year, to improve my life:
You don't deserve this.
I constantly try to make people happy. To keep them in my life, even if it means selling out on what I believe or forgetting my own feelings. And enough was enough.
I needed to put myself close to the top of my priority list, which is what I had stopped doing.
I didn't recognise myself. I was this needy person running around after a few people trying to keep them happy and it wasn't right. I suppose I had a wake up call and realised that yeah, I don't deserve this.
And with those words in mind during yet another silly argument with my dad over email I told him that I didn't want to talk to him again. I couldn't take anymore of this and that it wasn't fair anymore.
It was hard but it felt right. And I knew I had to be strong.
I knew there would be times I may regret it. And I knew that he may be in touch around birthdays and Christmas (because you know, he had to be seen to be playing his role right?) but I had to be strong. For my sake and for my boys.
Thankfully I was seeing a therapist at the time and she said something which made me feel better about the times I could have caved and contacted him. She told me that despite it not being a loss that involved death, it was still a loss, and I still needed to grieve.
So I grieved. For a few months. In silence.
I grieved for the man he was, for the man he could have been, for the man he should have been.
I grieved for the dad he was, for the dad he could have been, for the dad he should have been.
I grieved for the grandad he was, for the grandad he could have been, for the grandad he should have been. People say to think back on happy times but truthfully, they all seem pretty fake. I don't know when he was ever truly happy. Or what he was doing behind our backs.
But the hardest thing, even now, is that I look in the mirror and I see him.
I see his nose, sometimes his expressions. I see so many facial similarities that it's hard to forget he exists, or to forget what he looks like. Which sometimes I really want to do.
To completely erase all that.
I look in the mirror and I see his face, not my own. And it doesn't make me miss him.
It makes me wish he looked different, or that I looked more like my mum.
I always loved having "the family nose" but now I look and it doesn't seem as important. It's the nose that is the same as a family I have no real connection to anymore, other than blood.
The only comfort being that the boys have my nose so we are almost starting a new "family nose heritage", only as a brand new family.
When I see the image of him in the mirror I wonder if it's still part of the grieving process. I wonder if, over time, I won't see his face anymore, or the similarities. I wonder if I will instead just see me. Or if I will see parts of my boys.
As I lose weight and my face shape changes I see more of my dad in me, which gives me even more encouragement to keep losing weight, so I can see past that and just see myself instead.
Someone surrounded with love from her husband, her sons, her mother and her brother.
Without the need for her father.