February 16, 2010 in Features

Until his death, dad denied son

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: My 94-year-old father recently died. Because I was born fewer than 9 months after they married in 1935, he never believed I was his child. When I was 5 years old, they divorced. I saw him from time to time throughout the years.

Two years ago, Dad called and asked me to take a DNA test. It turned out positive, proving I was indeed his child. His response? He said, “I’ve been without kids this far and don’t intend to start now.” He walked out, and I never saw him again.

My wife and I went to the church the day of his funeral and were told by my stepmother to leave because I would disrupt the service. We left. I don’t know how to cope. Please help me. – Buried Alive in N.H.

Dear N.H.: How sad that your father’s misplaced bitterness deprived both of you of a loving relationship. There’s no point blaming your stepmother. While she could have been kinder, she no doubt felt she was honoring her husband’s wishes. You have spent a lifetime being rejected by your father, only to have him die before you had time to reconcile. Please get some counseling. It will help you come to terms with your grief and accept that there was nothing you could have done to change the outcome. Our condolences.

Dear Annie: This is to “Ready to Quit,” whose families tell her she’s a terrible person: Get away from those toxic people.

I lived through the same nightmare, spearheaded by a jealous mother who considered me her competition. My relatives believed every word she told them. I also considered suicide, but realized that would only give them the satisfaction of saying, “See, we knew she was crazy.”

I was filled with self-loathing until I returned to school, got a degree and walked away from my tormentors. I discovered I’m a good person, and now I have many good friends who love me. – Better Without Them

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