Fatherless

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“Can you tell me anything about your father’s medical history?”

“No. I don’t know him.” He shrugged as if it was no big deal but his voice said otherwise. 

Next patient…. 

“What about your father’s medical history?”

She scrunched up her face. “I think he’s still alive? I don’t know for sure. I never knew him.”

Next patient…

“So your mother is alive and has diabetes. Do you know anything about your father?”

“I’m not in contact with him.” The disdain came across loud and clear in her voice. “I hope he’s dead.”

If fathers ever think they don’t matter, they should sit in my seat and listen to the pain they can generate even when they are not there.

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107 thoughts on “Fatherless

  1. Your timing on writing this post could not be better.

    Later this week I will be meeting with someone who once worked with me and is presenting a product to my company. I knew he was expecting twins late last year and I asked him about them when we spoke yesterday. He suggested we save that part of the conversation for last.

    When we got there, he admitted that he didn’t like being a father, didn’t feel he had much to offer his kids. On the other hand, as a black entrepreneur, he felt he had much to offer other young African-Americans, and didn’t feel he could do both. “Don’t judge me, Elyse,” he said. He went into a tirade about slavery, and how he felt uniquely qualified to improve the lives of African Americans.

    “Bullshit,” was how I began my response. It went on from there. In a nutshell, I explained that life and parenthood are not mutually exclusive.

    I will be having lunch (prearranged) with him on Friday after his presentation. this post will come along with me. Thank you for the concise bit of ammunition!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Absent fathers might be “absent” for many reasons. My doctor recently cut his patient load by more than 2,000 because he said his six kids needed him. I am sure his wife did too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Victo,

    Nature’s fundamental drive to perpetuate our species allows all males to potentially father irrespective of their suitability for the role. Sadly there will always be those who are drastically inadequate, totally irresponsible, wholly undeserving, and inhumanly vile, whilst others flourish and thrive and will have visitors in their old age.

    You wrote, ‘generally some father is better than no father.’ I believe this is true. Of course there are exceptions…we have a Child Welfare Benefits System in the UK that makes provision for children of families, single parents, and other wards of court between the ages of 0-16. There have been many instances where the same father has spawned offspring with different women purely to capitalise on the benefits available – often opening doors to free/affordable accommodation and further benefits – and thus providing an income to them. I believe the father of all fathers fathered 16 children all told. One wonders if those born to this magnificent specimen of manhood will ever want to know any part of their father at all? I know I wouldn’t. I guess the word abuse has many meanings, a word used frequently these days to embrace an ever growing multitude of sins. What a world we live in.

    Thank you for the quiet reflection. Another poignant and thoughtful post Victo.

    Namaste πŸ™‚

    DN

    Liked by 2 people

    • The father you speak of is another side of the coin. I have a fair number of patients with over ten half siblings… from their father. Men can be such a powerful influence in their children’s lives. It grieves me when I see men not engaging.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Victo,

        I don’t think it is just about engagement per se, but more about the quality and integrity of that engagement and the manner in which it is delivered: far better when given from the heart with love than when given resentfully through obligation or legal requirement.

        Namaste πŸ™‚

        DN

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Is it just me, or does it seem like there are more young people in this situation than ever? Growing up, I can recall only a handful of kids in my entire school who didn’t have fathers, and most of those had lost their dads to accident or illness. Today, it seems like a two-parent family is simply not trendy so it’s not done.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A friend of mine’s dad left over thirty years ago. Prior to that he was a very abusive husband. A nursing home rang a year ago to let him know he was there and not well. He and a few of his brothers went. He made a peace of sorts but on his fathers death he was so upset, for the dad he never had rather than the one he did have.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Although my father could be an abusive drunk, I was glad SOMETIMES he was in my life. A lot of my health issues stem from his side of the family so it is good to have that history.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The volume of patients that I see in this community without knowledge of their father is just staggering.

    Yes, well you should move to this community with one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Australia and a whole, brand new, generation of children growing up without fathers.

    Liked by 1 person

      • One of our High Schools runs a “Young Mums” programme where the girls – with their babies – can go back to a class that is two classes in one, a crΓ¨che and facilities for baby and mum to “bond” and feed in a private area and a sort of classroom. They can look after their babies and at the same time finish their schooling and perhaps take a craft class where they can learn extra things that might help them. The school also has access to other avenues of assistance for the mums and their babies. This is free – so they are not abandoned!!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. For father’s who were absent, it’s not too late to send a letter or a card of apology if you are going to be respectful and not bring a bunch of drama into your children’s lives. Same with grown children who might want to reconnect. But it’s okay not to, especially in the case of toxic relatives, in which case keep your distance and remember this: “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. When I got married I took my wife’s name because my father’s name was irrelevant to me. How do you like them apples? For years I thought that people who bitched about their parents were first world babies who needed to move on. There are worse things. But do you know what? That stuff stays with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fathers make a huge impact in a person’s life. Children that grow up without fathers end up having so many issues. Parents can seriously affect adults and their future marriages/relationships due to poor parenting or lack of a parent. It’s truly sad and can take a lifetime of therapy to undo in some cases.

    ❀ it piece, as always your posts are fantastic. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are the incredible doctor that we all can only hope ours is like..

    To meditate and ponder the impact of answers to otherwise routine medical history, shows your nature, as a physician and a human πŸ’›

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I wasn’t talking to my dad on and off. He tried getting back in touch with me and passed away shortly after. His funeral was on my birthday last year. I had very mixed emotions, but I don’t feel guilty. He and my mom have always been train wrecks. But it does hurt knowing that I feel like I never had a real dad in my life.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Well said…..it made me think of my kids who are know reaching 30 and 40 years of age….my daughter went to a new MD and couldn’t for the life of her answer any questions about her mum or pops medical history, other than the ones that are dead…she knew what they died of anyway….so I get a call…mum you have a few minutes to answer some questions….LOL and hour later she is know well informed of her mums medical history…..she said she already called her dad and quizzed him….I told her to share mine with her little brother so I don’t have to go through this again….LOL amazing at what they don’t know about us, let alone an absent father…..so sad…..xxkat Happy Easter

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. This is such a theme in my life. Not only was my father adopted from an orphanage in another country he does not speak to me so I have no idea about his health.

    It’s important. Men have no idea how much their absence permeates their children’s lives forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. After my parents divorced the second time I stopped caring about whether my father would stick around. I never mentioned this but I always felt that if my father did not have the guts to stay around I had to become stronger without him.

    If ever I become a father I make sure to be there for my kids. Cowardice is setting a bad example…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Today I saw two new patients. One knew his father was dead but had never met him and knew nothing of his medical history. He had several half siblings that he had never spoken to. Of the other four physicals I did, two did not have any contact with their fathers. 50% have no contact with their fathers? That seems high to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It does seem high when you think of the people you know, or socialize with. But then you also have to look at the sociodemographics of your clinic. Come to think of it it would make for an interesting paper. Reasonably easy to write and – I think – publishable. πŸ™‚
        (Think of all the health implications of not knowing your father…)

        Liked by 1 person

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