I’d Like to Convey a Message to My Father Who Abandoned Us

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female civil servant in my 30s. When I was a junior high school student, my father disappeared to escape from his debts, and I haven’t seen him for 20 years. All I know is that he is still alive somewhere, but I want to tell him that I am happy now.

My father’s debts were triggered by his love of cars and motorcycles. I heard he continued to accumulate debts and ended up abandoning everything and running away from us.

When my mother told me tearfully that he had canceled without her permission an insurance policy that would have covered my educational expenses, and used the money to pay off his debts, I thought that he had completely abandoned his child-rearing duties.

If my father were to pass away, I wonder if I would be notified. If given the opportunity to see him in his final days, should I do so?

My mother and husband seldom put themselves in my shoes. They tell me there is no point in thinking about such matters, so I lie awake at night thinking about my father.

Now that I am raising two boys of my own, I remember all the fun things I used to do with my father. Please tell me how I should feel about him.

A, Hokkaido

Dear Ms. A:

Regarding your father, I think he is self-centered, from putting his own interests first and even dipping into funds for your education, to abandoning his family. I’m sorry if that was harsh.

But I think this is the real image of your father that your mother remembers.

I imagine that she has gone through a lot of hardships to raise you, overcoming the painful reality that tore her apart. I wonder how she feels when you talk about your happy memories and struggles with your father now. She may be mentally more hurt than you are.

Your memories are yours alone. In general, it is not easy to share the same memories even among family members. It is inevitable that your feelings cannot be conveyed to her. Don’t feel bad if other people can’t understand how you feel. Keep them to yourself and hang in there.

Memories are beautiful stories that were edited with past experiences. They allow people to accept their past and survive today. I hope that you will be able to build a happy family with the memories your father left behind for you.

Tomomi Fujiwara, writer