Hypocrite or Duty Bound?

August 2, 2012

When my parents divorced I was only 5yrs old. Every weekend I would go and see my dad (let’s call him Bob). Although Bob would collect my sister and me, we didn’t necessarily spend the weekend with him. You see Bob was a chronic alcoholic. These visits continued until I was 7yrs old when after not showing up for a number of weeks, my sister and I were asked if we wanted the visits to continue and we said no.

The absent father

Life passed by and at the age of 14 years old, I decided I would go and see Bob. My step sister took drove me over to see him, dropped me off and waited in the car. I knocked on the door and was invited in. Bob talked about his life, decorating his house etc. However, at no point did he asked me about my life, school or anything. He was simply uninterested. I left realising why I had waited 7 years to go and see him again, we were simply two completely different people.

Over half a lifetime

Now at the age of 29yrs old, I haven’t seen Bob for over half of my life. Whilst in recent years we have made contact via letters and cards. This is mainly to inform him of his grandchildren, as whatever I think of him he is still their granddad.

Late last year Bob called me out of the blue to inform me of some health concerns. We have kept in contact off and on since then via the phone. He rings me to keep me up to date on his health and about his life. Again he isn’t too interested in what’s happening in my life or with my family.

It’s terminal

A few weeks ago he contacted me to let me know that his health concerns had worsened and that now, in fact, were terminal. I wasn’t and still am, unsure how to take this news. Part of me is upset to think that Bob is terminally ill, however, the other part of me feels nothing. After all, Bob hasn’t really ever been a part of my life.

So am I a hypocrite or duty bound?

This weekend I will be travelling home back to Carlisle and I am torn as to whether to go visit him or not. I don’t know if I am a hypocrite for visiting someone just because they are dying or whether I’m duty bound because after all is said and done he is my dad.

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