How To Use Your Deathbed To Be A Bad Father One Last Time

Shani Silver
10 min readAug 1, 2022
That’s him. And that’s me.

CW: Parent loss, I guess.

I’ve been writing on the internet for ten years and I’ve never once written about my father. While part of me was probably keeping things to myself out of fear, the other part of me really didn’t give a shit. I don’t actually think he used the internet and I tossed his last name in the trash like Amazon packaging long ago so I doubt he would have ever come across my work, but there’s something about the fact that he’s dead now that makes this easier.

My biological father died sometime in July, I think from Covid. I don’t actually know when or how he died because he wasn’t found and his next of kin (not me by the way) wasn’t notified until weeks later. Before you feel sad about this, I can assure you his death was extremely reflective of the life he chose. Also, condolences are not necessary. My stepfather, who I love and who loves me and makes himself an actual part of my life every day, by choice, is alive and well. My stepfather texts me about inclement weather and new wildlife he spots on the back porch. I have what I need.

The person who died, contributor of half my DNA, who decided to create me and then about ten years later slowly, but very steadily, pretend I don’t exist—that’s who’s gone. The last time we spoke was my 21st birthday, when he called and then never called again without any explanation of any kind. It was a pleasant phone call, the kind you get on a birthday. No reason at all for it to be the last. Could I have pursued a relationship with him? Sure. But six months later my grandmother, my favorite person, died and he didn’t feel any need to check on his daughter. It was the last entry in a very long list of disappointments, dismissals, and general rage-inducing frustration that for two decades I couldn’t just have a father, I had to have a problem instead. It’s also when I decided my entire life would feel better without him in it. I was right. A weight was lifted and I’ve never regretted my logical choice that followed his unexplainable one. I could have pursued a relationship with my father but I was his child and that was his fucking job.

My biological parents divorced when I was six, the standard late-80’s every-other-weekend-and-holidays structure ensued. If you think this is the only time I’ll write…

Shani Silver

Author, podcaster. shanisilver@gmail