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You were born on 1 March, 1942. If you had lived, today would have been your 81st birthday. You were William John Guillum – Scott, Jr. You were my father.

For most of my adult life, every time I think of you, the words of Mike Rutherford have echoed in my mind. Every generation blames the one before. You were my father, yet I felt as though I grew up without a dad. Up until I was five years old, I was the apple of your eye. You would show me off every chance you got. You would take me on ward rounds with you. You were my first hero. I wanted to be just like you. And then, a day came – then nothing. All of a sudden, you pretended like I didn't exist. What did I do that was so bad? How did I embarrass you so much that, in an instant, you no longer wanted to be my father?

I asked you once, shortly before you died – what was my first word, dad? Your answer; I don't remember, that wasn't really my thing. Did you know how cruel you were? Did it ever cross your mind that you could crush me in an instant? Did you even care? I have wanted to say so many things to you for so long. For most of my childhood, I never found the courage. I remember the day you left so vividly, how you shoved me to the floor, how you kicked me in my stomach. As an adult, I get it. Your wife had chosen to divorce you. She had embarrassed you in front of your friends and colleagues. But, tell me this – what could a 10 year old little boy do to deserve that kind of a sendoff? Why did you hate me so much?

It wasn't long after that I made a promise to myself, if ever I was blessed to have a son or a daughter of my own, I would move heaven and earth to be the sort of parent to them that I never had. The sort of parent you never were. Why did you have children, dad? I feel the worst for your second son, of course. You chose never to devote a single day to him. At least I had those first five years. What made us such a burden to you? How were we such an embarrassment? Up until today, I still ask myself if I did anything to make you proud. Never once did you lower yourself to the point of actually telling me.

Yet, I exceeded everything that you had accomplished up u