“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.”-Washington Irving

I am emotional. I have all the same problems as the rest of the world does. I am constantly confused about which path to take, which side to choose, and why we are the way we are. I have mood swings, one minute I am super optimistic, the next I’m banging my head against the wall wondering what’s it all for?

Tonight I shared some time with my 19 year old. The older he gets the more guilty I feel. It tears me up every time I am around him. They say to blog like nobody is watching, whoever they are, and for whatever reason I care what “they” think. I contemplated not sharing my feelings, not getting too personal, to save it for the therapist someday. The problem is the thoughts and the feelings are gobbling up my brain, and I have to let them out.

I have three main problems. I don’t talk to my parents, my sisters, or really any of my immediate family. Those ties were severed almost 4 years ago now.

I wasn’t a good father to my sons. I can give you all the excuses you want. I was young, I was selfish, I had no idea how it would affect my life. The problem is, these are all bullshit. There is no excuse for being a mostly absent parent. It haunts me every single day of my life. I cringe when I think of how many times there feelings were hurt because of me. Once I lost that connection with them, something else went away too. I don’t know what it is. I have a hard time communicating with them, I can’t look either one of them in the eye, I always get easily annoyed when they are around. This is through no fault of their own. I can’t explain it. I lost the fatherhood bond with those boys. You can’t be a father to kid every other weekend, it doesn’t work that way. I know that now. My daughter gets my undivided attention, I know that bond now, and it makes me feel even worse for the boys.

I still see them, but the visits are becoming more and more sporadic as they are growing up and becoming more independent. I was 19 when Brendan was born, he is 19 now. He just got his first job working in a retirement community as a dishwasher. Tonight he was telling me how hard it was, how it bothered him that there wasn’t more time for training, and that it was taking him a little longer to learn how to do everything then what they liked. I could relate to this plight, and I wanted to tell him to just get used to it, because that’s how it goes in the world of odd jobs. I wanted to tell him that jobs like this are one of the prime reasons you should get a college degree so you don’t have to end up being the lowest guy on the totem pole all the time. Instead I just agreed with him and showed him some empathy because I didn’t want him to feel like I was preaching to him. There isn’t enough time in between visits for me to try and make up for all the parenting I failed to give him in the first place. Brendan & Riley have heard me apologize for this over and over. I try to be so blunt about it that I think it might actually be one of the things they don’t like about me, the fact that I am always so apologetic, always projecting my guilt onto them. That can’t be fun for them.

I don’t know how many of you out there know this feeling of guilt, but I know I can’t be the only one. I still see my sons as much as I can, I try to make myself accessible to them, and I feel like they try to do the same, but I also feel that very empty void, that missing piece, the disconnect between father and son. There is something unresolved that I can’t quite put my finger on, and may never be able to.

Guilt makes it hard to enjoy life, I always feel like I don’t deserve it when something good happens to me. I dwell on it, stew in it, and let it just completely consume me at times. It kills me a little bit each day. So I wrote this, and now I am going through the second guessing stage. I’ve come to far to delete it now.

I just wanted to let it out, and I feel better for it. I should be doing some homework right now. I can’t though, not with the weight of this guilt that has taken over my brain. I can’t even explain why I don’t talk to my parents. It’s beyond my comprehension. All I can do is keep taking one step at a time. My mom used to always say that, so even though we aren’t speaking to each other, I still hold onto the little pieces of advice that she gave me throughout the years.

To everyone: I’m sorry.

I can’t think of anything journalistic at the moment, or any clever way to twist my words to make my writing seem better. I feel empty inside, there are too many things holding me back from my full potential. I guess that means I need to come to some sort of resolution or acceptance.


That is the only solution.

Good night.




16 thoughts on “Guilt

  1. Jeremy, your words move me. Has anyone ever told you you’re a good writer? I hope so, because you are…

    I am not a parent yet so can only empathize so much, but… I will say that it is obvious that you love your boys, and even if there is a void that you don’t know how to bridge, I know they know it, too. And that’s important. Don’t ever discount that… There’s no going back to the past, of course, but there *is* hope for tomorrow. The fact that Brendan was there telling you about his job at all means something. It means a lot. It means he hasn’t totally given up, either… Even if there’s resentment, and regret, and anger, and emptiness… He loves you, too. Both of your boys do. I’m sure of it.

    I can relate a lot to feeling optimistic one minute and banging my head against the wall the next. I do this every day… But… Through what I see of you on your blog, no matter what, you are a great person, and you absolutely DO deserve any happiness that comes your way! I’m thinking of a couple of great quotes… “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, and “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ― Mother Teresa.

    We have only today. And, if I may say so myself, the man who you are today ROCKS!

    Best wishes (and I really do mean it! and really hope this comment isn’t coming across preachy, because I don’t mean to at all!!!),


    • This is my third try at replying to your comment! ( I was on my iPhone earlier and every time someone leaves a new comment I get kicked out of the comment I was working on! I just wanted to say thank you so much, for reading and commenting, and listening to my story. The quotes you provided are awesome, and the insight you gave me really is helpful. I’m so glad I just posted it and didn’t just internalize like I usually do. This way feels healthier!


      • I’m so glad you chose to share, too, Jeremy! Honestly, what you said resonated with and moved me. I may not be able to comment on every post, but I am really glad I found your blog… I meant every word I said, and I’m really glad you liked those quotes. I do, too! I firmly agree with Mother Teresa — today is what counts!… And on that note, I hope you’re having a great day!


  2. Juan Martinez says:

    I understand how you feel my friend. Guilt is a bitch. I did it to myself but Ive learned slowly to try and let it go and try to be better than I was. A little at a time. Everyday if possible. Im hoping that makes up for what I did.


    • Keep your head up brother! I’m not glad that you are going through similar feelings, but I am glad that you shared them with me. I imagine that there are a large number of us walking around carrying these type of burdens. I appreciate it so much that you follow the blog and read what I have to say. You are one of the only ones that I served with that talks to me about stuff like this. Thank you my friend.


  3. God… this was like reading about my own feelings… I had this odd feeling, almost like a connection or a feeling of familiarity… whenever I clicked on your profile to see who it was that had just started following my blog. The odd feeling makes sense now. I woke early this morning in tears because of the guilt and shame that consumes me.


    • Sometimes it is just overwhelming and that’s all you can do. I love that notion that we are all connected, I am living with that belief now and I never am disappointed when I reach out for that connection. I hope you conquer your guilt and rise above it!


  4. Maizy says:

    Forgive yourself. You are love and you are genuine and you are human. Some of us get caught and pay a higher price than others, but all of us make mistakes…especially in our youth. And as the grown adult of an absent father, i know the pain of that missing bond. But i also know the peace i have found in forgiving. It didn’t take the pain away, but I no longer take action and make choices based on regret and anger. And that is a huge step in being present and finding peace.


  5. Jeremy,

    I had an absent father. Worse, my mother did everything she could to turn me against him. For years we barely communicated. But you know what? We have a good and loving relationship now. Let go of the guilt. It isn’t productive. It’s not good for you or your boys. Embrace the relationships you have today.

    No, you’ll never get back what you missed. Both my dad and I acknowledge that we will never have what we lost. But we go on. Today. Taking what we have TODAY.

    Take what you can, give what you can, and live.

    Do that. Embrace today. And when your kid talks about how hard it is at his job, let him know you hear him. And if you throw in a little advice, that’s okay too. You can always temper it with, “I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life, so you can ignore this if you like …”

    As was said above, he’s still talking to you. That means he still feels connected to you. Embrace that.

    Peace to you.


  6. "Occam Blade" says:

    Terrific expository piece. Your emotions are palpable. But like others who’ve commented, learn from your past and move on. Remember, the past has come and gone, the future is always a dream, so you only have the here and now. Namaste…


  7. I love your writing AND your photography. Both, spectacular! — It seems like not talking to your parents baffles you, as opposed to something that ‘happened’ that you are mad about and that you can put your finger on. So I just wanted to ask you this. If you were told that your parents had died, would you feel differently about them or seeing them? Just think of that now, and decide, before it happens.

    Blessings and thanks. You inspired me today 😀


  8. A few weeks ago my granddad died, none of my immediate family had spoken to him in about a decade. He had been a recovering alcoholic since about 1980 but before that he had been a wife beater and generally not a very nice guy. My Nana left him and took the kids when my dad was about 9 or 10 years old. They didn’t really talk again until I was born. We did see him a lot when I was a kid but once I hit my teens he started dishing out parenting advice to my dad. This didn’t go down well (my dad went by the notion of ‘who was he to start dishing out parenting advice?’) and after a while this caused a major rift. Both were at fault for not establishing a more solid basis for their relationship than simple genetics, and neither budged in all the years that followed. Sounds like you’re establishing your relationship, it won’t be the same as it could have been but at least it’ll be/ a relationship. You shouldn’t feel guilty about that, you’re trying and that’s all any of us can do.


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