Notch, creator of Minecraft: "I love you, dad"
December 13, 2012 2:46 PM   Subscribe

I love you, dad One of my fondest childhood memories is me sitting on a sled, being dragged along a thinly snow covered road by my dad. I was looking up at him and reflecting on the fact that he is also an individual person, just as I am. He has his own thoughts, his own wants, and his own memories. He’d had an entire life to live before I even existed.
posted by winecork (42 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:49 PM on December 13, 2012

posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on December 13, 2012

posted by Joey Michaels at 2:57 PM on December 13, 2012

posted by bashos_frog at 2:58 PM on December 13, 2012

Holy shit. That was incredibly honest and heartbreaking.
posted by maudlin at 3:03 PM on December 13, 2012

posted by koucha at 3:03 PM on December 13, 2012

Wow. Just wow. I lost my grandmother just last night and I don't know if reading this is helping or not. It's just so incredibly sad.
posted by DavidHogue at 3:08 PM on December 13, 2012

This probably needs a trigger warning.
posted by empath at 3:08 PM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

posted by deezil at 3:12 PM on December 13, 2012

I was 9 when my father lost his father. As the years went by, I noticed that Dad never seemed to really get over it.

Dad died ten years ago. Now I understand.
posted by Egg Shen at 3:13 PM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Notch is one of the coolest guys on he internet. What a crazy couple years for him.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:20 PM on December 13, 2012

My father was shot and killed 19 years ago, last October. We didn't get along, but I don't know how much I would do, how much I would sacrifice, just to talk to him again.

It won't get any easier, Notch. We all seem to be in this boat together, at least.

posted by thanotopsis at 3:21 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm glad these comments served as a trigger alert, as it were.

The bittersweetness--and probably impetus--of an amazing reconciliation with my father is that I think we both are acutely aware that we don't have forever, given his advanced age. (I was a late-in-life baby.) I love him so much that sometimes I'm already grieving his inevitable loss from my life.
posted by availablelight at 3:26 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I lost my father just as I started my family 24 years ago. I never had him around to mentor me and just be dads together. His birthday is next week.

posted by Thorzdad at 3:27 PM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not bawling. Close, though. My dad and I have been distant from each other for a while. I should call him.

posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:34 PM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

I've only really realized that my parents are individuals with full emotional lives of their own over the past few years. During that time I've also learned to appreciate children much more deeply. And just yesterday I was thinking about how incredibly sad it is-- no one's fault, just sad-- that it's unlikely my siblings or I will ever give my dad the opportunity to be a grandfather.

And now I'm crying gently into my cake batter.

posted by WidgetAlley at 3:56 PM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


...People have asked me if I'm "a Daddy's Girl," but Dad and I are not "daddy's little girl" sentimental types, so I say instead that I am more My Father's Daughter. We just sort of...grok each other in some weird way.

I really, really don't like to think about what it would be like to be in a world without him.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:56 PM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

posted by helmutdog at 4:20 PM on December 13, 2012

Holy fuck I wasn't prepared for that ending. Just gutwrenching.
My son is upstairs playing Minecraft right now and I love him so fucking much it's unbelievable.
posted by chococat at 4:22 PM on December 13, 2012 [7 favorites]

I envy you people who had good relationships with your dads. I know it's terribly hard that you've lost them, but what a gift you had while they were here. Mine died when I was 9 and was a terrible person.
posted by b33j at 4:24 PM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

I lost mine at age 7. He was a flawed man (drinking, some anger issues) but a loving father. Growing up with that...hole, it was hard.

That was very tough to read. My heart goes out to him.
posted by thelonius at 4:28 PM on December 13, 2012

Such a touching read, I'm crying too. Makes me happy I spoke to my dad at length, albeit about nothing important, this week.

Oh, Markus, condolences. You are truly living a roller-coaster life with good grace..
posted by gemmy at 4:34 PM on December 13, 2012


I was afraid to read this, I'm afraid that I will completely fall apart when one day my dad will die and this did not dissuade my fear.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:44 PM on December 13, 2012

It was my Dad's birthday the other day, I finally sent him the letter I started writing last year at the the same time, but couldn't finish. I tried to explain to him everything about why I am the way I am. I asked him for forgiveness, and to release me from my anxiety of disappointing him.

He is very happily still alive, but this post made me imagine he wasn't. He could have easily died between this birthday and his last. Folks, if you have a letter you need to send your Dad/Mom/Whoever, do it now.
posted by sarastro at 4:52 PM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

One of the things that always strikes me when I fire up minecraft is how simultaneously lonely and emotionally fraught a world it is. You're hard at work on a task and all of a sudden there's a hiss, a creeper has exploded and you're dead. Or the sun starts to go down and you're running to get back to shelter before the monsters come out. Or you're down in your mine engrossed in digging and you hear wistful music in the distance. Or you're sitting on a hillside watching the sun go down, the music comes up and it's for a moment impossibly beautiful but you realize at the same time that you're completely alone. And that if you wake your wife up again to look at it, she'll be really pissed this time.

I've always attributed that lonely melancholy to its Swedish origins, but maybe there's more to it than that. I found this really painful to read. Notch is one of those people whose work online redeems the internet from a thousand pimple faced sociopaths.
posted by R. Schlock at 5:09 PM on December 13, 2012 [15 favorites]

I hope he has kids some day. He'd be a good dad.
posted by alms at 5:36 PM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by postcommunism at 6:07 PM on December 13, 2012


My 11-year-old son plays a lot of Minecraft, and one time notch said hello to him on the chat thingie. He thought that was about the coolest thing ever.
posted by jquinby at 6:25 PM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Insha'Allah, we will all lose our fathers: so much better than vice versa. I feel so lucky to have made peace with my father before he passed away, after only a half a year or so of suffering from a brain tumor. Suffering from losing language, not from pain. But he died knowing his six children loved him, and he was seventy. I consider myself lucky. The author of this article and many men and women posting above: my heart goes out to you. "Love is all, all is love," and with love distorted into anger and/or substance abuse, well, that reflects on the often tragic nature of our lives, something that never has "closure," unfortunately.
posted by kozad at 6:29 PM on December 13, 2012 [12 favorites]

posted by limeonaire at 7:16 PM on December 13, 2012

I ignored my dad as a kid, idolized him as a young adult, and have come to truly understand and love him since I had kids.

He's got a number of health issues, and recently announced his determination to live to see my oldest daughter graduate from high school.

She's 3.

I'm holding him to that goddamn fucking promise.
posted by xthlc at 7:22 PM on December 13, 2012 [7 favorites]

My parents divorced when I was four. It was just a matter of "and now we're going back to live with grandma." For a long time, I only saw my father a couple times a year, mostly around my birthday.

It seemed to be my grandmother's greatest hope that I should grow up and take revenge on my father for having had been a bad husband. I never understood why. It wasn't something I begrudged him, it was just something that happened to my mother and him.

My parents married young. Neither one of them seemed to be very good about knowing what they wanted. Their parents had a lot of sway over them. There was some bad blood. It didn't work out.

My mother remarried when I was 11. From the start, it was a pretty dysfunctional relationship. I think she did it mostly to leave her mother's house. Her husband had an instant dislike for me. I was allowed to see my father more often.

I occasionally visited his new family on weekends. He was an okay guy. He had had another kid. They were okay people. He was a little distant and timid. He let me borrow some of his sci-fi to read. I played a bunch of 8-bit games with his kid.

When my mom and I moved to the States, we lost touch. Over the years we kept hearing from relatives that he had developed an alcohol habit, that it was ruining his health, and that it was more evidence of what a bad person he was.

My father died of lupus when I was in college. I didn't find out until a few weeks later, when my mother mentioned it casually in conversation. I think it was about his family being deadbeats and not paying for a proper gravestone. She found a measure of vindication in that news.

Dad, I don't know what happened with you and mom. You seemed like a cool guy. I wish I had known you better.
posted by Nomyte at 7:42 PM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

Damn. Beautifully written. Been thinking about this a lot recently, what with losing my own dad, and also being a dad.
posted by carter at 7:56 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

My dad died in 1993. I cannot believe it's been almost 20 years; I miss him all the time. For years I got sad and depressed around the anniversary of his death because I miss him so much and the memory of sitting with him and his passing is still vivid.

Then a couple of years ago I decided, while I will always miss him and always be sad he's gone, that I was going to try to remember happy times and celebrate his life more than mourn his death. I'm not always successful but it helps to commemorate the happiness he brought me and my family.

Billy Bragg's "Tank Park Salute", his song about his late father, captures a lot of what it's like to lose your dad for me ("You were so tall/How could you fall?"). I can't listen to it or read the lyrics without sobbing.
Kiss me goodnight and say my prayers
Leave the light on at the top of the stairs
Tell me the names of the stars up in the sky
A tree taps on the window pane
That feeling smothers me again
Daddy is it true that we all have to die

At the top of the stairs
Is darkness

I closed my eyes and when I looked
Your name was in the memorial book
and what had become of all the things we planned
I accepted the commiserations
Of all your friends and your relations
But there's some things I still don't understand

You were so tall
How could you fall?

Some photographs of a summer's day
A little boy's lifetime away
Is all I've left of everything we've done
Like a pale moon in a sunny sky
Death gazes down as I pass by
To remind me that I'm but my father's son

I offer up to you
This tribute
I offer up to you
This tank park salute
posted by kirkaracha at 7:57 PM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

Sitting on a bus in the sun listening to U2's 'Electrical storm' , randomly. Bono is telling me 'baby please don't cry'. It is not working.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:21 PM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

My dad slowly drove everyone from his life. He was sort of the prehistoric Men's Rights poster in that a woman broke up with him--my mom--and he decided women were all heartless bitches out to get him and the court system was hopelessly stacked against him--largely because he insisted on acting as his own attorney with no idea what he was doing--so he should never trust anyone again. He was like a slow acting poison in everyone's life and when I stumbled on the whole Men's Rights thing years after I cut him out of my life, I got cold chills of recognition. But at the same time, it feels like someone should've noticed over the years as he slowly slid from "The government is gonna take our guns" to "No the government is literally outside coming to take my guns personally." And I guess I'll never know what was going through his head right before he pulled the trigger and took his own life, but I would like to know.

In a way, it felt inevitable. He was--again, I use the MensRights comparison because they feel so similar--the sort of person who desperately hated being alone but was such an unrepentant asshole he'd systematically alienate you. I suggested he get a computer and email account once so we could stay in touch easier and got back an eight-page single-spaced rant about how I thought I was better than he was and was basically a terrible person.

I don't have a happy ending, just want the people with darker stories to know someone's out there and understands.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:12 PM on December 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

I keep wanting to post something here about my father, and the strange pseudo-relationship I've had with him--from my memories of when I was a young child (which was actually pretty good), to my crazy adolescence (where I pretty much opted out of any sort of relationship with anyone, to now . . . where, as an adult myself, I do not have the opportunity to really have any sort of depth of interaction, as dad now has pretty bad dementia--though he still knows who I am. For now.

But I lack the words to articulate these thoughts in any sort of meaningful way. Poetry could come close, I think, but every time I try, I abort the attempt.

This is another thing though . . . it must be very painful to lose your father in such a sudden and violent and incomprehensible way.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:26 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

He has his own thoughts...

Only, not so much while he's dragging your reflective self through the snow!

I miss mine too.
posted by Twang at 11:28 PM on December 13, 2012

Last month I had to delivery the following eulogy. I was standing at the pulpit in the church using a cane, because the morning after the hospital visit mentioned below, I woke up with a slipped disc in my back and paralyzing pain. I simply could not walk. By the time of the funeral, I was barely able to hobble, each step a small wince, and just staying on my feet and not moving took all my willpower. That all felt somehow appropriate.

A little over a week ago, I spent a somewhat grueling evening in the emergency room with my father. It was late, and we were both physically and emotionally exhausted. He was preparing to be put in a room for the night, I was getting ready to leave.
I put my arms around him as best I could in his hospital bed and gave him a hug, and he said "I love you L__. I love all my sons. I love them all differently, because they're all so different. I never wanted to make any of them feel like they had to be like me. I just wanted them to find something that made them happy".

Now, I'll leave it up to you to decide if he had some sort of idea that he was getting near to his time, to have something like that suddenly pop out of his mouth. Regardless, I just want to state for the record, that when it comes to that sentiment, my dad did not just talk the talk. He walked the walk.

When it became clear to him that I held fundamentally different opinions on ideas that were very dear to him, he never for a moment stopped giving me unconditional love. Even if I made a choice or took a took a path that was wildly different from the one he would have chosen, he never made me feel like he was disappointed. He only asked that I be true to myself.
He did this for all of us. When I think of my father, and myself and my 4 brothers, I see him as a prism, the five of us shining from him, all completely different colors, yet all obviously coming from the same source.
Now, one of the marks of being lucky in the parental lottery, is, it takes you awhile to find out just how lucky you are. You know, it wasn't until I went out into the world, and started talking to other young adults, and having them recount their life stories to me, that I thought..."boy, those things I wasn't quite happy about regarding my dad? They're starting to seem pretty trivial compared to a lot of the stuff I've heard. I actually had it pretty good!" And I never stopped discovering in new ways, right up to the present day, how lucky I was that he was my dad.

Now, I have to say, in all honesty, that of the few positive attributes I might possess, I would probably give my mother credit for most of them. And I am 100% certain that my father would agree with that statement. He would not be insulted by it!

I, and my four brothers -- we have all been blessed with a very finely tuned bullshit detector. And credit for THAT goes straight to my dad, and many is the time I have silently thanked him for that great gift.
Thank you for your attention.

posted by the bricabrac man at 5:11 AM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

Well...there goes my happy Friday.
posted by stormpooper at 6:47 AM on December 14, 2012

To get unconditional love from a parent should be every child's birthright, but to be able to give that unconditional love back - not to the parent, but the flawed person they are - is an exceptional gift for both parent and child.
posted by saucysault at 7:16 AM on December 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

posted by drezdn at 9:00 PM on December 14, 2012

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