My own father denies I exist. I called him after 10 years of not speaking. The impulse was confusing at first, but I listened. I was taking a bath, enjoying my evening and all of a sudden after 10 years of moving on with my life, I felt I was supposed to call him. I rationalized there was a reason I couldn’t clearly understand. I had found his cell number on an old iPhone I don’t use and I wasn’t sure he had the same number. But, I tried. I wasn’t expecting a warm reception. And I wasn’t expecting to rekindle a relationship that dissolved many years ago. I simply dialed his number and waited for the universe to work it out. When he answered and realized who I was, he clearly and slowly said repeatedly, “I don’t know who you are.” Assuming he doesn’t have an onset of Dementia, a concussion or couldn’t hear clearly, I received his message loud and clear.
I don’t exist.
I needed to hear that. Thank you.
When I hung up I realized why I was guided to call him. The challenge of accepting our own existence without anyone else having to validate it is the reason. Having a birth parent deny they gave life to a child, is the ultimate denial of anyone’s existence. Or is it?
I started to think about why I wrote the story, Come Die With Us. If a person takes their own life, they are believing they will no longer exist. No one else has that claim. Suicide is the elimination of one’s self by that person’s own choice, free will. Murder, abandonment, disease are all external eliminations. Meaning, someone or something else has eliminated a person from this life. I could argue disease may be an internal elimination. Or at least it’s an interesting debate to say we may suffer from some diseases through stress, eating habits or we’re simply born with unlucky genes which cause a person to die. Addiction, is self-inflicted. Crossing the street without looking and getting hit by a car, or falling off a cliff are likely accidents.
If most of us fear death and no longer existing because we don’t want to leave our loved ones, or it’s simply a matter of faith – what makes a person different who decides to eliminate their existence by suicide? Why do those individuals decide to cross a line that seems inconceivable to the rest of us? Maybe those are questions for another post, but the point I’m trying to make is existence is valid if we accept who we are and forgive who we’re not. It’s up to each individual to look in the mirror and see for themselves they do exist.
Choose to celebrate your own existence.