Since then, I have had zero contact from him save one call attempt this past April. It was the day before my DS' birthday and I had been on the phone with NM at the time (who continues to be on great behavior ironically enough) and didn't answer. Just over a month later, this past Sunday, I received this email from NEF in my inbox. The subject line read simply "cancer". Nice, eh?
Hi [DA], I have tried calling you but you did not pick up. I miss our talks on the phone. I hope all is well with you guys. I just thought you might want to know that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the end of March. I have been in and out of the hospital for a few months. I just had surgery on May 8. I am at home now recuperating. I hope to get back to work in 4 to 6 weeks. I go back to see the doctor on the 30th of May. I should get the results back then. God's Peace be with you! Love you guys! Dad
For the first couple seconds, I had an initial adrenaline rush of panic. About all I saw was the word "cancer" and my NEF's name and I, of course, thought the worst. Despite the fact that he's a rabid, malignant N, he's still my father and, right or wrong, I love him for that reason alone. I don't like to think of anyone dying from cancer, even if it is someone who's brought almost nothing but pain and heartache to my life. After the initial shock however, I forced myself to re-read the email and tried to be rational about it. I told myself to pay attention to the wording, that this was obviously a hoovering attempt on their part to reign me back in. I then reminded myself that many men, my FIL included, have dealt with or are dealing with prostate cancer and 9 times out of 10, it's not a big deal at all. In fact, I know of two men in particular whose doctors haven't done anything about it except to say they would "keep an eye on it". That's how little of a deal it apparently is.
More than anything, yes I'm hurt, but I'm also just angry. The way NEF's email reads to me is, "I have tried calling you but, being the disappointment of a daughter you are, you didn't pick up despite the fact that I have done nothing to deserve such treatment from you. You SHOULD know - and you WOULD know if you bothered to ever call me like a good daughter should call her father - that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the end of March. WOE IS ME! I've been in and out of the hospital for a few months. If you were any kind of a GOOD daughter, you not only would have known about all that is going on but you'd have been there at my side, holding my hand and comforting me. Instead, I was forced to go through it and my subsequent surgery alone. Despite it all, I am at home now recuperating. Unfortunately, I'll likely still be expected to go back to work in 4 to 6 weeks. Seems a saint's work is never done. I go back to see the doctor on the 30th of May. I should get the results then. You'd better have called me by then to find out how I'm doing or else it will prove what a horrible, rotten, disappointment of a daughter you really are. Love you guys! Dad".
Nowhere is there mention of how I might be doing or how my life is going. There is no apology for how horribly he spoke to me last or for throwing me under the bus - yet AGAIN - and trying to make ME out to be the bad guy in everything. Nowhere does he ask what he can do to make things right or to fix things between us. It's all about HIM. What HE wants. What HE needs. What HE misses or desires. And it's all strung together with a heaping dose of guilt for being such a horrible daughter and not being there for him in his time of need. Nevermind what a shitty father he's been, clearly HE doesn't deserve this and I'd better shape up and get back into line! And once again the message is loud and clear - I don't matter. He doesn't care about me, only what I can do for him.
On a GOOD day I wouldn't need this shit, this incessant N game-playing and narcissistic drama that promises only further hurt and chaos. But I especially don't need it so soon after the loss of my sweet furbaby which has hit me quite hard and thrown me for a loop. Such a loss is bad enough in and of itself but coupled with an anxiety disorder and PTSD, it's downright unbearable at times. Things ARE improving but I'm still very much grieving right now and the last thing I need is some malignant narcissist coming along and trying to put the spotlight on them in the midst of my pain and suffering.
If my NEF had approached me and said anything that could remotely be construed as caring or giving a shit, I very likely would - at the very least - give him an opportunity to say what he had to say and hear him out. But over a year of NO CONTACT whatsoever from him followed by an attempt to call and drop this bomb in my lap, the day before my son's birthday no less, and now some bullshit email titled "cancer" in which he can't even be bothered to pretend to give a shit about me and I'm supposed to what? Run up to his home state and hold his hand? Rush to the phone and call him up and apologize for being a horrible daughter? Whatever. In the words of Die Antwoord, Fok Julle Naaiers "daddy".