adapting, black sheep, Daddy, DENIAL, depression, desperation, dysfunctional family, estranged, fear, grief, gullibility, hopes, life, loss, loveless, manipulation, mean mothers, Mother, parent issues, sadness, safety, sister, trust, unforgivable
So the latest…. If only I’d written as it’s gone along so recording such a flurry of outrageous events would not be such a daunting task.
I did not though. Truth is, simply remembering to breathe through these ordeals has been tiresome and taxing most of the time. And somehow, like all truly emotionally crippling life events, I’ve found myself often unable to do the one thing which has always brought me a tiny semblance of peace – write. My mind has been boggled. My thoughts run askew. The order and structure of my mind, the quality of my words, descriptions, and sentence structure have all been impacted…nearly dripping with the incredulous pain it’s all created in the deepest place of my spirit.
My father passed away on March 23, 2012. A life shaking, altering, traumatic loss of the greatest person I’ve ever known. In a sense, he was my partner in life. He was my best friend, my confidante, my supporter, my critic, the foundation from which I managed, understood, and lived my life. Subsequently, as a single mother, he was also these things to my two daughters. To simply say this was a tragic blow is like saying Hurricane Katrina was a bad storm. It doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how this sudden, unexpected event rocked my world.
My dad was on vacation in Los Angeles when he died. He was with my sister (who has claimed we “aren’t sisters” since 1998) and my mother (who I’ve described bits and pieces of in this blog and whom also has not spoken to me or acknowledged my existence since 1998). In his later years, my dad often vacationed with my mother, his ex-wife, who left him around 1973 for a well-off man 25 years her senior. A strange situation indeed, but one which attests to two things: one, my mother is indeed a master manipulator sociopath and two, my dad was capable of levels of forgiveness and acceptance to which I will always aspire.
My dad disliked that my sister and mother were estranged entirely from me. My dad would simply never treat family like that; doing so would have gone against the grain of his heart. He could just never comprehend anyone choosing to eliminate family from their life, much less their heart, but this was the choice of my mother and sister. And since association with such cold-hearted and unloving creatures was far from healthy for me anyway, I never did much about it except learn to accept what is. However, these two women did desire a relationship with my two daughters while simultaneously deleting me from existence in their worlds. Thus, my dad served a unique purpose for their endeavors. His father-like stance in my girls’ lives along with my utter devotion, exceeding gratitude, and absolute respect for the man, father, and grandfather my dad was, all assisted in this oddity of a situation in which my father frequently vacationed with his ex-wife. Their relationship was based around my children, assisting in my mother’s ability to eliminate me, her daughter, while still affecting a relationship with my children, her only grandchildren. My father was useful to his ex-wife. He was her tool to fashion herself as a grandmother.
And he died on vacation with her. I got the call from my sister. My response was, “Oh my God, no! He is all I have in this world”. My sister, I suppose in a rare moment of compassion, responded, “No, you have other family; you have mom and me.” I do??!?
In my grief stricken moment of confusion, loss, and utter devastation, my defenses were naturally down and I allowed this to comfort me. I let down my wall of reality and I allowed the innocent delusion of my mother and my sister actually caring about me; caring about my mere existence for the first time in 13 years. I suppose I desperately needed to believe they did. And they, knowing my emotional weakness as well as my close bond with my dad had been cruelly and abruptly severed, would have fully understood how much I needed to buy into that delusion. It worked.
I was devastated, but grateful that perhaps, at best, this might bridge the gap they chose from me and although I’d lost the most important person in my life, I’d maybe gain a mother and a sister. Could it be possible? I’m not typically so stupid. I lean toward the side of too naïve, but I hadn’t been naïve about how these two women felt about me in years, as they’d made their feelings very well known. The depth of my desperation is evident in the mere fact that I allowed myself the luxury of believing this might be true. Maybe they did actually care about me? Maybe they were family to me after all? Could it be? Could it be that I’d lost an amazing, accepting, loving father, but gained a mother and a sister??
In hindsight, I’m still kicking myself for buying into this deluded deception. But, c’mon…?! In the world of usual families, this would not be so far-fetched. In defense of my ridiculous stupidity, you have to admit, this could happen. Isn’t it normal that sometimes a major loss among normal people in families might draw people together?
I thought it might have…could… would… After all, my sister who’d not spoken to me in over 13 years, was saying that I had a sister and a mother. She was telling me this after telling me directly in 1998 that “we had not been sisters in seven years” and that she “had no interest in being sisters now”. I had believed her when she said that. I hadn’t understood at all why or how that came about, but she demonstrated very clearly over the next 13 years that she would no longer hold up the pretense that I was family at all, much less a sister of hers. I ceased to exist in her world. It was painful. It boggled my mind. It ripped my heart. But I had no choice but to accept her terms. After all, you can’t force someone to be your sister any more that you can force the woman who gave birth to you to be your mother.
And after all this time, right when I’d lost my dad, she was telling me, I did have a mother and a sister. Outrageous? Yes. Odd? Of course. Fantastical? Well, I suppose so, but wouldn’t you have wanted to believe in this amazing miracle too?