What I wish my dad said before he died


Editor’s note: This is the third installment of cartoonist Jack Ohman’s series “The Care Package,” for PBS NewsHour.

Growing up, Jack Ohman often saw his father with a drink in his hand and little energy to dote over his son. Decades of alcohol consumption left his dad with an entangled series of disabling health problems. In turn, Ohman found himself wrestling with a sense of longing for a childhood filled with “baseball and hotdogs and family outings” that he never enjoyed with his father.

“Is it payback time, or is it step-up-to-the-plate time? When he got sick, there wasn’t a choice for me,” Ohman said. “I just did what I felt I had to do. I couldn’t walk away.”

More than anything, Ohman craved “meaningful moments” with his father. He never expected the man to give him an apology for years of hurt brought on by his father’s drinking, but Ohman hoped for just an acknowledgement of what happened.

“It never came,” he said.


Look for the final installment in Ohman’s cartoon series about his experience taking care of his father, arriving in July.

Read part 4 of 5: In my dad’s final weeks, I was still in denial

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