Dear Barb—The Prodigal Father

Dear Barb:

I don’t know what to do; after many years my father has contacted me.  He left my mom, me, and my younger brother when we were really young.  My mom raised us as a single mother with no help from him.  He never even contacted us in over 25 years.  We just assumed he was dead, but I guess not.  I am living in Ontario and it seems he’s in Alberta.  He contacted me through Facebook and said he would really like to get together with me and my brother.  I haven’t talked to my mom about it, but my brother wants to meet our dad.  I am just not sure how I feel.  Am I supposed to just forget the fact that he walked out on us and be happy to see him?  Through the years I have been able to put my anger aside and carry on with my life, but this is triggering a lot of old feelings.  I don’t want to do the wrong thing, but I’m not sure what to do.  I would appreciate any advice that would make my decision easier.  Thanks, Zack. 

Hey Zack:

Thanks for your letter Zack.  This is an interesting situation that could turn out really well, or not so well.  A lot of it depends on your expectations.  People change and 25 years is a long time and I’m sure your father is a totally different person than he was when he walked out on your family.  A lot depends on his intentions and why he is trying to get in touch with you.  He may want to resolve issues he has been struggling with and simply reach a place of peace, or he may want to become a part of you and your brother’s lives.  It could be any of a number of things that has triggered your father’s desire to get in touch with you, but you will never know unless you agree to meet with him.

If you and your brother decide to meet with your father, it would be good to meet in a public place like a coffee shop.  Depending on your feelings it could be a long meeting or a short one.  Take the time to hear what he has to say.  If you choose not to meet with him, you may end up with regrets or doubts about your decision.  Whatever you decide your feelings are your own, no one can tell you how you should react, just follow your gut.  You may not want to see your dad again, but your brother may choose to have a relationship with him, and that’s okay too.  You will never know unless you take this step.  Good Luck Zack.

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