My Father

Sorry I haven’t been around again. I’d love to just blame the absence on the looming deadline or chaoticness of motherhood, but, unfortunately, being an adult isn’t that simple. Last Sunday night I got a call that my biological father was in critical condition in the hospital and a half hour later he’d passed away. So I’d also love to tell you that I’ve been grieving his loss for the last week but it’s not quite that simple either although I sure wish it was. Again, tangled emotions and complicated situations make me long for the simplicity of being a child. Not that that was so damn easy either.

My father and I were never close. My parents divorced when I was four and my mother moved in with my father’s best friend six months later. Neither “father” was all that crazy about their situation and I ended up a girl without much fatherly influence in her life. I’ve dealt with that in past posts but maybe purposely avoided the whole “bio dad” bit. We didn’t have a whole lot of contact once the Sunday Dad visits dwindled to once or twice a year and then finally I moved away completely.

As I have definitely mentioned, things were pretty horrendous with my step-father so I secretly harbored a hope that although he’d never been interested before, perhaps one day my real father would turn out to be a great guy who just hadn’t been given the opportunity to be in my life.

I kept up with my father off and on -mostly off – but eventually I moved back to Los Angeles hoping to have a relationship with him. I found that the father I’d fantasized about was in reality about as screwed up as you can get. He was only interested in borrowing money and feeding a drug addiction I hadn’t known about but was soon to know too much about. I stayed in his life for as long as I was emotionally able but eventually, after years of struggling with the guilt of trying to help and the longing for some sort of normal relationship that wasn’t to be, I was drained of everything I had to give.

I hadn’t been in touch with my father at all for the past five years. He’s never met my daughter. My father, who has been married and divorced four times, sadly had not one intimate relationship in his life at the end which makes me incredibly sad. But as a comedian he had a remarkable genius and charm that influenced a great many people and in the end, left an indelible legacy.

The thing is, you never know how you’re going to feel about someone dying. There have been times where I was sure that all I’d feel was relief that there would be no more phone calls threatening suicide unless I paid his electric bill and no more guilt that somehow the way he lived was my fault. But I don’t feel relieved – just confused.

I do know this for sure: I will always look up to him for his incredible, subtle, dry sense of humor (my absolute favorite), his awe inspiring talent influenced me to follow in his stand-up comedy footsteps and eventually led me to my writing career. He gave me laughter and he gave me life -for that, he will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, dad.

Thank you for all the nice comments but I’m closing them now because, really, what can you say? If you have a story to share about your own parents you are always welcome to email me directly!

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 14, 2007 2:10 amUncategorized18 comments  


  1. Carla said,

    I am sorry for your loss. I haven’t seen my dad for 5 years. I will be as confused when he dies as I am now. You honor your father by remembering what you loved about him.

    | August 14, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  2. MereCat said,

    How tragic. I am so sorry for all that you have been through, and for what you are going through now. Life just shouldn’t have to be that hard. It’s not fair. Thanks for sharing your story.

    | August 14, 2007 @ 8:14 pm

  3. Melissa Garrett said,

    WOW! I could have written that post myself, as it has been nearly a decade since I have seen my dad. He’s never even acknowledged that fact that I have three children. This was the first year I sent neither a b-day nor a Father’s Day card. I often wonder how I will feel once he passes away. However, like you, there are certain things I love about my dad, regardless how terrible he was to me. It’s those things to which we cling.

    Hope you are doing well otherwise.

    | August 14, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

  4. Laural Dawn said,

    I’m so sorry for your loss – even if it’s a weird conflicted feeling you’re going through.
    I think it’s amazing that despite all you’ve been through you were able to pick out the wonderful gifts he’s given you – not just the bad stuff.
    Hang in there – I’ll be thinking about you.

    | August 14, 2007 @ 10:34 pm

  5. PDX Mama said,

    I am sorry. I can relate in many ways – with the lack of fatherly influence and the disinterested father – the guilt of whether I was doing enough daughterly things (he had multiple physical ailments, which only compounded the guilt), mourning that I didn’t have what I wanted & needed from him. My father died a couple of years ago and I had an eerie experience, only one or two days before his very sudden death, I thought to myself that I’d feel relieved if he died. In actuality, I felt anything but.

    Confusion sums it up pretty well.

    I wish you peace with it all eventually. Hugs.

    | August 14, 2007 @ 10:55 pm

  6. Suzy said,

    Stef, you know how I feel about your loss and my own Dad story. As I’ve said a thousand times in my life, they put adoptive parents thru the ringer, they refuse gay partners the right to adopt in some states and yet fathers like ours were allowed to procreate with abandon.


    | August 14, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

  7. Lena said,

    I relate to so much of this, Stef.


    | August 15, 2007 @ 12:48 am

  8. cry it out! said,

    That just bites ass. I wish there was something better to be said in these times, but there never is. Sorry for your loss never seems to cut it for me. So just wanted to say that you pretty much encapsulated my relationship with my own dad, and I feel the same confusion. Thanks for putting it into words, something I don’t have the strength to do. I hope everything else is going well.



    | August 15, 2007 @ 2:08 am

  9. Neil said,

    I’m sorry for all the emotions this brings up. I’m someone who actually knows of his work and had no idea of your connection. Hopefully, you take away something positive from your relationship. I’m sure you got your sense of humor from somewhere.

    | August 15, 2007 @ 2:16 am

  10. momomax said,

    I’m so sorry Stef. I know I tried to say something in my lame email before, but I’ll try again. I am such an admirer of yours because of your wit and lightness. I guess I have your father to thank for it. We focus on the good qualities in a person when they’re gone and I love that about human nature and especially yours. That was a beautiful post.


    | August 15, 2007 @ 3:01 am

  11. surcie said,

    I’m sorry for the difficult time you’re going through, Stefanie.

    | August 15, 2007 @ 4:22 am

  12. dobeman said,

    Glad I’m not the only with with a dysfunctional family.
    Adopted at 2, found my “bio-mom” when I was 28.
    Adopted family split, now have 4 moms and one dad.
    It’s a struggle keeping up with everyone…and I too often wonder what I’ll do and feel like when something happens to one of them. My condolences and empathy to you.

    | August 15, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

  13. gmcountrymama said,

    That is a beautiful bitter sweet tribute to your dad. So sorry you are going through this confusing sad time. I’m thinking about you.

    | August 15, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

  14. Anne Glamore said,

    This was so interesting to read- We’ve been going thru crap with my dad for ages and I rarely see him, and really couldn’t say whether he has any friends or not.

    In the end I, like you, have had to protect myself and my family.

    Stay strong.

    | August 15, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  15. Christine said,

    Stefanie, I am sorry for your loss. My relationship with my father was similar in many, many ways.

    When he died, I did feel relief. Relief for myself that I didn’t have to fear him anymore, and relief for him that he was no longer living the everyday hell that was his existence.

    The thing is, I’d mourned losing him years before he died. The Daddy I’d once known and loved was gone, and living in his body was a man who didn’t want to be the way he was.

    | August 15, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

  16. Val said,

    I just wanted to say that I am sorry. And that I can relate, to a degree. My husband’s father just passed away about 3 wks ago, and your stories are so similiar it’s just crazy. My husband has been dealing with guilt, and resentment, and anger and a touch of actual grief, but he’s very confused, and feeling like he doesn’t quite know how to feel, or what is even normal for this sort of situation.

    My thoughts are with you.

    | August 15, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

  17. just4ofus said,

    I hope you find peace with the loss of your father. It sounds like you are on your way to that.
    Sorry for your loss

    | August 16, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

  18. Catwoman said,

    I’m so sorry about your dad and I’m sorry that he missed out on so many great things in your life.

    You are under so much stress between the pregnancy, your career and now this, I don’t know how you do it so gracefully, girl.

    | August 16, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

peel n stick customized labels

use the code babyonbored and save 10%

Gummi Bears Should Not Be Organic: And Other Opinions I Can't Back Up With Facts
Buy the Book:


Barnes and Noble


I'm Kind of a Big Deal
Read an Excerpt!
Buy the Book:
Amazon | B & N

It's Not Me It's You
Read an Excerpt!
Buy the Book:
Amazon | B & N

Naptime is the New Happy Hour
Read an Excerpt!

Buy the Book:
Amazon | B & N

Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay
Read an Excerpt!

Buy the Book:
Amazon | B & N