Note from 11/23/16.
4th year without my dad and my children
Screaming inside so loudly I almost can’t hear anything outside me
The descent feels faster by the day…
Pain grips me so fiercely, I just can’t express myself.
Listening to Neil Young, Cat Stevens, and Led Zeppelin while I read the words, understanding, and compassion of a child alienated from her parent in Mother Erased: a memoir on this Father’s Day – without either my father or my step-father, and without my children due to their father, her words strike me in both my deepest fears and my greatest hopes. Of course, heavy thoughts of my daughters weigh my heart down.
But I’m also reminded how diligently and covertly my own mother attempted to do this to my father and me. I’ve not had many great gifts in my life other than my children and my dad, but I’m reminded to be grateful that in spite of my childish, innocent, desperate adoration of my mother, her alienation tactics didn’t work. Sure, she succeeded in creating and maintaining a great deal of physical separation between my dad and me while I was growing up. Yes, she succeeded in planting ugly lies and accusations in my head regarding my dad too. But it never went to my heart nor did it ever fully cloud the truth I saw with my own eyes. My dad was my only enduring and reliable source of truth and compassion and joy for me as a child. He didn’t live in a huge, brand new home or have much money like my mother married into after she left him, yet I greatly preferred my dad’s tiny little meager house to the big fancy one I lived in miserably with mother. Money just never mattered much to me. I preferred joy and laughter, safety and understanding; of which there were plenty resonating throughout my dad’s tiny home… and none in mother’s palace.
I have always had the cursed blessing of a great and uncanny depth of intuition. And although at that age, I couldn’t possibly have believed mother would (ever!) lie …yes I’m snickering/scoffing/psh-ing at that ludicrous thought now… I just couldn’t reconcile the off feeling in my gut that something about her words just might not be exactly true. I mean, back then as a child who blindly worships their parent, I was sure she wasn’t lying exactly…but something seemed off, felt dirty, smelled fishy every time she’d tell me heinous things about my dad…
And just five minutes with my dad would shine light and fresh air on that ugliness she regularly planted and spread, until it either didn’t really matter if it was true ( I would love him anyway!) or I maybe convinced myself it was some kind of misunderstanding between mother and daddy.
My sister didn’t fare as well, but then my sister is a replicated minion of mother now, so I’m not sure if that was a success back then or if it grew into it as the years passed. Nor do I really care at this point.
Mother was still trying to plant ugly, nasty ideas in my head when I was 19 and had lived, alone, several years with my dad and her physical power over me had greatly diminished although I still very much wanted her love.
I think of how desperate those continued attempts were. It borders on ridiculous. I was living with my dad for years; she had cruelly abused me my whole life up until the point when she kicked me out to live with my dad, and still she believed her power of persuasive ugly suggestion to me might overcome the truth I lived every day.
In hindsight I realize it’s because she had wanted me to be miserable. She had hoped my dad and I would have constant problems! We had a typical teen girl/ dad relationship. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good. This was not the punishment she’d wanted to inflict on me by kicking me out – not happiness???! Not LOVE?!!?? NOT laughter?!?
My dad and I had a couple of conflicts, all of which I would consider very normal for my age at the time and never was my dad unduly cruel or out of line in his parenting tactics. I was punished when I deserved to be, but properly and justly so, not cruelly, excessively, indefinitely punished for any even slight typical childhood infraction.
This drove mother crazy! So, she continued her interference and her little evil plantings and ever-so-subtle persuasive, factless suggestions long after I lived the truth!
These tactics while I was even a young adult worked well though, to alienate me from my step-father. She has full control over him and his knowledge of situations, unlike with my dad and me; she only maintained some intermittent control over what we believed versus what we knew was true.
As much as my 6th sense has been a challenge in my lifetime, this is one instance where I consider it a great blessing. I think of this blogger who finally saw the truth and thankfully, isn’t suffering the worst of the lifelong after effects of parental alienation (like I’m desperately afraid my children might), but I realize my mother’s non-stop efforts to destroy the greatest, truest love I’ve known in my life – that of my incredible dad’s – and I can’t help but feel the hugest sense of relief that I did not miss out on that like she desperately wanted.
I would be truly beyond lost if she’d succeeded and if I’d seen the truth when it was too late and he was already gone.
I blame myself often for this now – the innocence, the stupidity, the childish faith and trust in the goodness of people and the inherent honesty and depth of love for a parent’s child to supercede and rise far beyond any evil personal agenda. I blame myself, but my experience is the exact reason why, short of murder or molestation, I’d have never ever, EVER have kept my daughter’s father from the beautiful gift of a relationship with his daughters. Mine with my father is what sustained me. Except for their own protection or safety, nothing that man or my mother could have done to me would have made me hurt and punish my children by poisoning that possibility of love from family for them in their lives.
My children’s alienation with the combined efforts of their father and my mother, has been remarkably, wildly successful and thorough. I don’t believe my children will come to the truth ever. I hope I am wrong about that, but the alienation has been so successful that at this point, knowing the truth of what’s been done to (and taken from) them, might destroy them as much or more than the lies they choose to believe. It’s a great catch-22 within itself… a web of tightly woven lies surrounding them that might choke them should they ever attempt to wiggle free.
So I’ve great fear my children may not be as fortunate to not suffer the long term effects of alienation, but I still have great hope that their first 13 and 15 years of living with a mother who encouraged and assisted them to have all the love in the world that was theirs, might some day still be deeply embedded in their souls and at the least, maybe help keep them from being the worst of the parental alienation statistics.
It’s a rainy, reflective Saturday afternoon here in my dad’s big old house and I can’t help but think of the many rainy Saturday afternoons my dad probably sat here, watching golf or westerns or gospel videos on his big tv. It’s a safe bet that he’d call me or the girls at least once (or maybe 5?) times to just say, “Hey bayyybeee” in that deep southern baritone voice of his. I’d guess these would be the rare days when one of the three of us hadn’t asked him to do something for us, take us somewhere or buy us some desperately wanted thing we “direly needed”.
I feel sad when I think of how many of those times I wasn’t really doing anything important, but I’d hurry off the phone after a few minutes of chit chat. I really don’t believe my dad knew lonely though. He stayed so busy golfing and taking care of us til the very last end that he never could have felt unwanted or very much alone. We needed him too much. I believe he felt sad when mother left him for her boyfriend. I’d imagine he might have felt lonely then, but I’d guess it was more sad and heartbroken than actual loneliness.
The last few months of his life though, in hindsight it was almost as though he knew it was almost time to go. He wasn’t sick or anything, he just started seeming more eager for company. And he suddenly started being irrationally worried about me. Almost as though he feared I might get in trouble somehow and need him and he might not be able to be there this time…
My dad was not a perfect man by any means. There were a few times in my life he really disappointed me. We only saw him once a month or so growing up, but often he’d get a babysitter and go on a date… And I’d be bummed because I wanted every second possible with him. Sometimes my dad would drink too much, usually while playing old country music songs and reminiscing about mother. This made me uncomfortable because mother talked so horribly about him that it broke my heart to see how much pain he was in about their divorce. In hindsight, I realize my mother was leading him on and sleeping with him long after she left him to marry my step-dad, so no wonder he was so torn apart for so long about it.
Once, he took us to one of his clubs where he socialized and drank frequently and got rip-roaring drunk. He got so very drunk that around 10 pm when we got in his car, he just sat there with his head slumped over the steering wheel – not saying anything. I was scared. I’d seen my daddy a bit drunk a few times but never slumped over his steering wheel in total silence! After awhile, I felt so scared I said, Daddy are you okay? He didn’t reply. Daddy? Daddy??!? Finally he mumbled, “go back in there and get Bob for me, ok?”
Now, I was really scared! I ran as fast as I could back inside to get his best friend and drinking buddy, Bob Taylor. Bob was also very drunk and started teasing me, laughing “What’s wrong? Your dad too drunk to drive y’all home?”
I didn’t think it was very funny and I didn’t think that was very nice to say.
But Bob’s girlfriend got us home and daddy apologized the next day. You couldn’t have given me a million dollars to tell mother that had happened! I would have bit my own tongue off before I told her anything she could possibly exaggerate and run around putting my dad down about.
No, my dad said he was sorry and I never thought of it again. It never happened again either. Unlike mother, my dad wasn’t ever afraid to apologize or admit when he was wrong.
My dad was an imperfectly perfect human being. He never made me feel bad when I made a mistake. instead, he made me feel loved by forgiving me and never bringing it up again. He didn’t throw things in my face repeatedly or act as though he was beyond reproach because he was my dad. He was human. He was wonderful. He was patient (usually!). He was generous, kind, loving, and forgiving.
My dad never once made me feel like he didn’t have the time for me…not even when I was being ridiculous or when I was depressed and talking nonsense. He never shamed me or made me feel ashamed to be me.
Toward the end though, I treated him like I didn’t have the time. And look at me now, with not a single person in the world who has the time for me. All those important friends I had…catering to my children…too worried about this or too busy with that….
Where’s all that stuff now?What did those “important” things add up to be? Nothing. And certainly nothing of any importance compared to precious time with my dad. I’d give anything for 5 more minutes to just hear his voice, to sit and drink a beer with him, watching tv and chatting about this or that…
I suppose I deserve to know what it feels like to be treated by the world as though I don’t exist at all or as though everyone’s just too busy for me. I did treat my dad like that sometimes and he, of anyone in my entire life, did not deserve that.
My dad was most incredibly amazing. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to accept or reconcile that he’s gone.
I’ll never forget the first time a therapist suggested to me that I wasn’t realistic about my “dad’s part” in my childhood abuse. I was furiously defensive. My daddy had never abused me!! Dr. Patty caught me off guard though when she said, Don’t you feel some anger at him for not protecting you from your mother, though?
Um, NO! My dad loved me and that’s all I ever wanted from a parent. It’s not that my dad never punished me, he did when I deserved punished. It’s not that he “didn’t protect me”, it never once occurred to me that anyone would be brave enough to take on Darlene! Meanwhile, I realize now the game she played with our fear of her. She just filled my head full of awful things he’d done to hurt her (none of which ever rang true to me even at just 4 years old) and then she’d tell my dad horrible things about me. This part never occurred to me though because as a child I couldn’t imagine my own mother would tell lies about me to anyone, much less my dad.
But she did. And I never corrected them because I had no clue my dad didn’t know the truth of whatever latest ordeal she’d put me through. And I assumed he knew the truth and that he would spend our brief, precious moments together showing me love and laughing together so I could get the strength to return to mother and better try not to upset her.
He didn’t know what was really happening though. He only knew her lies and in my childhood trusting innocence, I never told my version of events; never even fathomed that mother would just change the story so I’d look worse than I was and she’d look far better than she was.
It’s like when I was molested at school, it never occurred to me to complain to an adult. After all, an adult did it so he couldn’t be wrong, I had to be wrong. I had to have deserved it. I had no right to dispute any adults choices! Darlene effectively enforced that so thoroughly that I was too spineless to ever feel I had any rights to protest other people’s actions against me.
Because of this, I never blamed my dad for not protecting me. And it’s obvious that my entire life, I was an easy victim to the world because I had no sense of having and right to even be here, much less rights as a human being for respect or dignity. Probably why I was an easy target for rape and abusive men. Spineless creatures with zero sense of self worth are the easiest to prey upon and mold to accept the abuse.
My daddy loved her more. I’ve been aware of that for many years, but he loved her more only because he never knew the truths of her and he knew all my truths, good and bad.
Only once did I think he started to get a clue of her truth. His pastor preached on abusive parents. And after the sermon, daddy bought me a book called Toxic Parents and brought it to my house, as though something had happened and he saw a glimmer of truth in my life struggles stemming from the abuse. He didn’t say he understood or believed and I didn’t ask any questions because my dad’s loyalty was fierce and I never wanted him torn in the middle. I knew he had blinders she’d carefully sewn on his eyes and he was most comfortable with those blinders. I never had the urge to rip those off completely. I loved him too much and as hurtful as his devotion to her in spite of it all was to the little girl in me, I understood it better than most and I adored him for that quality of unconditional love. I had no real interest in changing that or hurting him by destroying his carefully plotted necessary false idea of her.
As my daddy was getting older toward the end, he’d become not quite senile, he was still cognizant and clear mostly, but his fears for and about me became irrational and confused. In hindsight I see that he knew his time was coming and he wasn’t scared about anything at all… except for me and my children.
I didn’t realize it at the time of course, I thought he was just being irrational and controlling. I wish so much I could have understood why before he passed away, but I did not. And one of our final talks was him apologizing to me for his irrationality and saying to me, I’m sorry baby, but I promise you I’ll do it differently. You tell the girls that “they’re gonna see a BIG change in papa. I won’t do this to y’all again.”
And of course I had been very angry with his recent irrational actions but I could never stay mad at my daddy who always owned his mistakes and apologized immediately for them. So I knew he recognized his mistakes and I was relieved and grateful for his apology.
I could never stay mad at my daddy. He was too genuine and good down to his soul to ever hold any mistakes he made against him.
Darlene attempted to take that apology after he died and make that her story with my dad. And amidst a huge amount of bizarre and random discrepancies surrounding my dad’s death related directly to my mother and my sister, I know she’s lying with dramatic poetic license. She makes stories up all the time because she needs to be seen as the victim she made me into. She must be seen as the sparkling angelic “victim” of her actual victims.
There will never be recompense or exposed truth of her lies. She’s told them so long to do many people now that I know even she believes they’re truths now.
I fell deeper into that pit of despair a few weeks ago when my daughter reached out to me because her boyfriend had roughed her up. Previously, I had thought I had already hit the bottom of that pitiful pit. True to my inability to fully accept that it can always get worse (which I never seem able to let penetrate my mind), I’d enjoyed (for lack of a better word) the belief and feeling that at least I had hit the bottom of the misery pit. That provides some relief in itself. As I lie there on that cold hard scratchy floor from several different drops lower and lower over the years, I breathed a sigh of relief that although it was miserable and I was confused and terrorized from the various drops, I could breathe that I was, at last, on the actual bottom. There could be no more sudden shocks as that floor disintegrated and I fell another story or two or twelve down the pit.
What a false sense of desperate relief! More was to come as my daughter dangled the carrot of hope in my face…inches from my mouth…so close my mouth watered at the thought that I might actually get to taste this carrot of her love again.
As I scrambled, crawled, and begged for the dangling carrot of my daughters love and presence, I stumbled upon a thin part of the floor of my misery which broke it open. I tumbled further down the Rabbit Hole of despair and confused bewilderment.
For several days, I simply plotted my death. Desperate for the final solution to end this pain and prevent the possibility of more carrot dangling in the future, I had the answer, but not the sure-proof means and this is one thing in my life I simply cannot allow failure.
Without the means, I reached out for help. I started taking antidepressants again after nearly a year free of them and I went to a local domestic violence shelter that provides free counseling. It took some pleading and finagling to talk them out of calling an ambulance to have me scurried to the hospital and admitted, but I did it! In exchange, I agreed to try counseling (sigh….again).
Today will be my 2nd appointment. My task given at session #1 was to find the one trauma point from which to begin this trauma treatment: a pivotal point, if you will.
In terror as though my life depends on it (no pun intended), my brain has scrambled for a week trying to select the point from which to begin this process. It’s as though I have one bullet to hit the moving target.
Was it when my daddy went on vacation and only his dead body returned?
Was it when I was gang raped at 17? Or raped at gunpoint again later at 31?
Was it from the beginning, any number of soul-injustices and spirit-murders I endured at her hand in my first 26 years of life?
Was it when my ex abused me mentally, emotionally and physically while I carried our first child only to add more abuse after she was born? Or when he cheated over and over and then yelled at me for asking questions? Was it when he spit on me and our infant daughter when I asked him what a receipt was for when I was reconciling our checking account? Was it that moment I held her nursing and he looked me cold in the eye and said, “I’m on a downward spiral. You and Lexi can come along or get the fuck out?”
Was it the moment my beloved oldest child attacked me verbally after my dad died and fabricated the ugliest lies I could imagine to set me up for her plan with my ex and my mother to destroy me once and for all?
Was it when I lost the only man I’d ever loved other than my father and yet he strung me along for years afterward declaring his undying can’t-live-without-you-love until I’d believe him finally and then he’d take it back again?
Was it when I was molested by the janitor at my elementary school? Or when my babysitter Marcy molested me repeatedly a few years later, but I didn’t understand it was molestation because she was a female?
Was it when I trusted my ex enough to move our children across the country to make his life and relationship with his children easier only to watch him break their hearts in the very ways I thought I had protected them from?
Or when he stole our home and tried to make us homeless by threatening my dad not to help us to punish me for not accepting him breaking our children’s hearts every day? Was it when I listened to my children sob in depths I had never before had to sit helplessly and watch over this cruelty from their dad? My heart ripping and the first time I felt rage in my life?
Was it when I was 2 months pregnant with my youngest daughter and suffered a massive stroke and told I’d never walk or work a job again on my own or be able to raise my babies on our own? Being too ashamed to take a shit because I was mortified at the thought of someone having to wipe my ass for me at 28 years old? Or that the prognosis given at the time destroyed my every idea of being a momma as well as lynched my independence and autonomy?
Was it two years ago when I spent 40 thousand dollars in court pleading my ex for a visit with the children I had raised alone for 15 years only to be granted the right , fly across the country, and was told (in so many words) by my oldest and youngest to fuck off because they changed their mind when I brought up a promise Lexi had made to my dad, her papa, about piercing her face?
When was the pivotal point of trauma from which I haven’t returned or recovered?
Last week was the 3rd anniversary of my daddy’s death. I still struggle so much with the fact that he’s gone. All day, I just cried and begged, “Daddy, take me with you!”.
This made me remember all the times over my lifetime when I felt that way. I pretty much always felt that way and asked every chance I got. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to just be with my dad…
At 3 When my parents separated, I wanted to go with my dad. At this young tender age, most children can’t stand being away from their mothers. When asked, my 5 year old sister instantly jumped up with “I want to go with you, Mommie!”. This is one of my first memories. I vividly remember wanting to follow suit with my sister and latch onto the natural maternal pull at such a needy age. I know my very first thought was that. I remember the instant I thought to repeat my sister’s desire, I looked at my daddy and just the thought of not being with him created an instant pang of sharp pain in my heart and my gut. Maybe it was the wounded, defeated look on his face? Maybe it was the wise intuition even way back then, that I was extremely unwanted by my mother? Or maybe it was simply that only with my dad have I ever felt safe and loved? I don’t know what my 3 year old brain was thinking for sure but I vividly recall the sharp pain in my heart at the thought of not being with my daddy.
Please can I go with you Daddy?
Of course I was forced to live with my mother eventually. And I saw my dad for occasional weekends when mother permitted. My dad took my sister and I on summer vacations to Cherokee Lake, TN with his boat to visit Aunt Maude and Uncle George and fish on the lake.
I loved these vacations! Except my dad would get up at the crack of dawn to go fishing and I’d wake up with him already gone. I didn’t like that! So every night before bed, I’d ask, “Daddy, are you goin fishin early in the mornin?” Usually my dad would say something funny to direct my thoughts and attention somewhere other than asking to go with him (i chattered to my dad incessantly and played with the minnow bait when he fished… I was not the best to take fishin!). I would know he was avoiding my question with jokes because they were going early to catch fish and I impeded that. So it became like a game between my daddy and me. I’d always ask every night and say, “stop teasing me Daddy and please take me with you in the mornin?”
Please can I go with you Daddy?
Usually, desperate to not miss when he left, I’d try with all my might to stay up all night to catch him leaving and naturally, then I’d oversleep and not wake in time to insist I go…they’d sneak off while I was sleeping and when I’d wake up and see him gone, I’d impatiently wait til he got back shortly and let him know how mad at him I was for not waking me to go with! He’d tease me about something and we’d laugh and I wouldn’t be mad anymore. …just grateful he was already back…
As a teenager, living in Hell and dreaming of being loved and safe, I literally lived for my visits with my dad…brief and random as they were under mother’s strict and fierce control… One time I was having a chat with my dad and I desperately told him, ” nothing can ever happen to you Daddy. If it did, there’d never be anyone to love me or kiss and hug me!” My dad of course said this was silly talk that I was loved by many….
I went through a brief period of time during therapy where I acknowledged I was maybe angry at my dad for not saving me from Mommie dearest . That didn’t last long though. I realize from deep within that truly good people with pure hearts have a hard time recognizing evil. I lived with it and still it took years to convince me it was what it really was. I have the heart of my daddy. How could I ever blame him for not seeing evil when he had not an ounce of evil in him ? Of COURSE he couldn’t see it!
So a few months before his death, he was working on his will and called me to discuss it. I remember exactly where I was sitting when he called about this. As soon as the words came out of his mouth I said (as a grown woman now and single mother to two teen girls), “No daddy! You can’t ever go away! Not EVER! I have to go first or you have to take me with you! I just can’t be in this world without you!!!” And I was sobbing. So, my daddy changed the subject. Of course, he could never stand to hear me cry…
Now, he’s gone and just like those crack of dawn fishin trips he snuck without me, he didn’t take me with him! Only he’s still not back when I wake up in the mornin. I can’t stomp my feet and tell him I’m mad he went fishin without me. He can’t tease me and make it impossible to be even playfully mad at him. This time, he’s just gone.
Shortly after his death and after my children turned against me after his funeral, I went to a Christian retreat to deal with this unbearable pain and loss. I don’t know what I think about these things really, I just know lost people in desperate pain will try about anything , so I went.
There, on the last day, I finally shared my grief and they told me the problem was I had “unholy grief” for my dad and my children. And they prayed over me to rid me of this “unholy grief” and the demons they associated with that specific “evil “.
I was mad at this “diagnosis “! WHAT?!?? I tried to accept it though with the hopes that my pain might subside even a little if they were perhaps right.
It didn’t work. I still ask daily, Daddy, please can I go with you?
Is my grief “unholy”? I know many have painfully lost parents way earlier than I and seem to eventually go on about life and living. Why cant I?
(Everyone is looking at the camera. I’m looking at my daddy.)
Death comes in so many forms and wears many different disguises. I just lost another dear friend. That’s five in only two years. I really can’t wrap my head around this, much less my broken, tender heart. It seems I can’t catch my breath from one til the next. I know people die and that’s a part of life. I know, I know, I know…. I guess I just never imagined that it would start at this age. I really always figured maybe around 60 or so, I would have to start dealing with multiple and/or possible frequent deaths. Wrong.
At the same time as this, I was fortunate that my first love who first introduced me 27 years ago to this man who passed happened to be in town when Andy passed. Or, so I thought it was fortunate at first, when I found out Wednesday morning…
I can’t figure out if it’s just me or if I happen to be surrounded somehow by non-sentimental people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging them for that. If anything, I am deeply jealous of their disconnection from emotion or maybe it’s just that they have a “healthy” disconnection/connection to their emotions while mine is not?
Death makes me cling almost fervently to the people I love: those I once loved, those I currently love, those I love as friends, loved as lovers, even those I love as good acquaintances for who they are in this world. It has hit me like a vehement sucker punch to the heart that beyond the distance life creates naturally as people grow up, mature, and develop lives totally separate from the people who were once a daily piece of your life – which feels like a death when you reconnect with them and you experience that awkwardness that distance, time, and change has inevitably created…that canyon between you that formed while you were just going about life. I mean, the friendship is still there… sort of… Or, is it not really friendship? Maybe it’s just that space you once shared together of memories and good will? More like a mutual honoring of the past that’s gone and dead and stands in the exact spot where the actual friendship, as a living, breathing, growing thing of its own once stood?
Several phrases have grabbed me through these past two years and feel particularly poignant to me with this loss I experienced while also reconnecting with my first best friend ever who also happened to be my first lover as well: “Not friends – just strangers with memories.”
And the other I can’t recall or find because although I posted to Facebook to remember and use for later (which is now), Facebook’s new idiotic “selective” post recollection is freakin preventing me from finding it unless I want to spend all day hunting for it through the “hidden” areas of my timeline. FUCK YOU FACEBOOK! YOU STUPID IDIOTS…WTF?! Good Lord, that is frustrating as hell!
Anyway… I feel like a freak because losing my daddy really made me realize that I don’t have forever with the people I love. It made me want to cherish them more and commit to making more efforts to keep in touch and keep communication ongoing and regular. Strangely, it apparently did the opposite to every other person in my life and in my daddy’s life. The other people closest to him withdrew from me(my children) or shit on me (my children and the rest of my blood relatives).
And now, again, I feel like I want to hold close to these friends from my past whom I’m reconnecting with on George’s visit here. I feel sentimental and enthusiastic to institute a new, solid bond like we once had. I realize that we all have separate lives now as adults so it can’t be the same…but you know, just establish that the connection, history, emotion, and experience is significant and matters enough to not want to resume the disconnection with this person, but to establish that it’s too important to let it slip back into the borders of oblivion (infrequent and rather formal texts now and then saying “how are things” or the yearly “happy birthday” contact).
So, in my little ways, I have tried to do this and met with an apathy which really hurts. Hurts like a death. Like it says to me, our bond as a primary, living, and cherished thing is dead. I’m content with our surface contacts and will wait til you die to think of making an effort to cherish what we share(d) between us.
Is there something wrong with me? Am I the only person who feels the pang of regret at allowing distance from those whom were once so important to maintain and grow bigger? The only one who feels the overwhelming bigger picture of loss and thus, the deep desire to at least make an effort to express the importance, the love that lingers, and hope to reestablish something less fleeting with this once so-important relationship?
I recognize that I’m typically more sentimental than the average person. I know that’s a fact…but I’m just surprised at a deep level that I seem to be the only one I know whom feels this when a death occurs. That, to me, feels like apathy for the relationship – past, present and future. And then, I can’t help but think to myself if the relationship and the connection is NOT worth that….then was it ever really of the importance it once seemed to hold at all? I mean, I’ve come to realize that if you are willing to dismiss a person you once loved so completely, then it’s most likely you never really loved them at all. Of course, I’m not talking about the toxic people you must remove yourself and emotions from for self-preservation, sanity, and mental health; I mean, the ones you loved so dearly and you parted or separated just due to life and circumstance. I’m talking about those people who once said things to you like, I would die for you…you’re the best friend I ever had…or, you showed me what love/friendship/happiness really is.
Does this not remain for most people? Do pieces of that – important pieces- not remain in the hearts of most people? Am I truly just a sentimental, freak of nostalgia?
As the numbers of those whom I love, past and present, continue to stack up in this, I’m really reflecting on has anything ever mattered? Does it just die in all ways for most people? Like, yeah, I’ll feel sad when they pass away, but not sad enough to hold onto the bonds we share or give them a little more time and attention than I have been prior to losing this most recent friend or loved one…?
Does anyone in this world really mean it when they say they love you? Do those words carry any depth beyond just that moment in time anymore? For anyone but me?
RIP Andy. I regret letting our lives distance as it did. I’m sad you are gone and I hadn’t made an effort to stay better in contact with you over the past few years. You were a bright spot of encouragement and genuine friendship in my world so many times. A friendship I cherished enough that I wish I could go back a week ago and make an effort to reconnect and catch up with you and your world…and be sure to let you know exactly what you meant to me. And that you meant enough to me to not let life keep growing the divide without making an effort to bridge it. You were my friend. Thank you.
I hope you can read this from wherever one goes after death…and I hope that place is the Heaven I believe in.
And, I guess…to all those whom are still alive that I cherish and hate to think of you passing away…those who seem apathetic toward this concept. If this isn’t important now, then I don’t know why we’d bother to reconnect here and there anyway. What’s that even for? And maybe, just fuck you. if I don’t matter much at all now, not even in the wake of losing a childhood friend , then I couldn’t have mattered much back when you told me so often I did. That makes me sad and it hurts, so yeah, fuck you.
The scariest of all to me in this sad realization, is that if none (and I mean none) of the past relationship ever had any real importance, then how do I not filter every new and blossoming relationship or friendship through that knowledge? I mean, if I already know nothing lasts forever for other people …not even love or friendship…then what is any of it worth as people say the words “I love you” or “you matter to me” important even as they speak and claim they feel them?
adapting, black sheep, childhood, children, Daddy, DENIAL, depression, desperation, dysfunctional family, estranged, fear, frustration, grief, history, hopes, invisible, life, loss, loveless, manipulation, mean mothers, Mother, nightmares, nostalgia, parent issues, rape, sadness, sexual abuse, sociopath, suicidal, the ex, trust, unacceptable, unforgivable, unforgiven
Loss – true, deep, profound, crippling loss – is a loss beyond imagination and to a great degree, that loss is more profound and crippling when it’s an unnatural loss. The loss is exponentially pervasive into one’s life when it’s a loss brought on by betrayal, deceit, hatred, or brought on with the sheer intent to punish you for some unknown and/or unintentional “misdeed” of sorts, even sometimes a “misdeed” that’s merely fictional – a fabrication created solely from the dark billowing folds of a sick and twisted mind of a sociopath. I mean, there just ain’t no sunshine after this kind of loss.
People say; move on with your life. Let go of the pain. Recreate yourself. Recreate a life for you that you love. Have faith. Everything happens for a reason.
(Which by the way, I could now happily punch myself in the throat repeatedly for EVER thinking “everything happens for a reason” is EVER appropriate to say to ANY one! Except maybe (big maybe here) in the case of divorce or breaking up with a sociopathic narcissist. In THOSE cases of using the term “loss” so loosely, then yes, it really does happen “for a reason” and you are truly better off. Other than that, then everyone who falls back on that phrase (myself included), can fuck off!)
So, you look in every hidden corner of your life, your heart, and your mind…stretching your limbs and your definitions to find that possibility. You become a detective of possibilities, looking for them anywhere and in anything:
Maybe this book will help. Maybe that book will release my mind from its torment for a moment…or this movie…or a conversation with this person about the struggle….or a conversation with that person about anything but the struggle? Maybe art, perhaps painting or coloring or creating a DIY project will provide a moment of relief?
Maybe God? Worshipping Him, being grateful for the many wonderful things you know are there but no longer bring any joy, forcing yourself to look for that joy and insist it is there? Maybe singing to Him, or listening to music praising Him?
Maybe a new pet, a colorful squawking bird or an innocent playful puppy or a soft fluffy cuddly kitten?
Maybe reminiscing? Or not allowing yourself to reminisce, removing as many painful reminders of all the places joy once stood? Maybe cleaning until your skin is raw, bleeding, and cracked and looks like your heart feels? Maybe not cleaning? Living in squalor, letting everything get and stay as messy and unkempt as your life and your thoughts feel?
Maybe music? Country music? Classic rock? Reggae? Heavy metal? Classical? Gospel? Hard rock? Really loud music? Really soft, subtle background music?
Maybe gardening? Putting your time into cultivating a beautiful plant which signifies life? Or growing tomatoes to remind you to survive, you must eat? Maybe plotting the revenge you don’t believe in and would never seek? Maybe imagining karma or refusing to allow yourself to believe you “don’t deserve” this kind of pain? Or forcing yourself to think you deserve this and much worse? If “much worse” exists? Maybe fantasizing about how “much worse” might be or feel?
Maybe too much time on Facebook or Twitter or blogging or Pinterest? Maybe joining support groups and reaching out to help others who are hurting? Maybe volunteering for a domestic violence shelter or the humane society? Maybe do daily affirmations in the mirror? Or practicing the Law of Attraction?
Maybe drinking too much wine? Or not allowing yourself to have any alcohol? Maybe writing letters? Or emails? Or joining causes you believe in? Laughing foolishly about the silliest stuff your brain can think of?
Maybe planning your suicide? Writing your will? Organizing vast piles of paperwork? Maybe dancing like no one is watching? Playing in the rain? Hand writing letters to lonely souls in prison? Reaching out to long-lost friends? Reconnecting with friends you’ve grown distant from? Maybe having sex with an old boyfriend? Or going on a date with someone new? Maybe drinking more tea? Making infused waters? Maybe browsing through hundreds of old photos? Or hiding every reminiscent photo?
Maybe living in another state? Or another state again? Or the same state where you lost everything? Maybe changing your name? maybe writing of the abuse you’ve never spoken of? Maybe writing of anything but your grief, sorrow, pain, or past abuse? Maybe writing the stories of your multiple rapes? Your mounting dealings with injustices? Maybe giving compassion to others who’ve endured similar experiences and not even speaking of your own?
Maybe get a tattoo? Alter your flesh somehow to tell yourself you are now officially and physically not the exact same body who experienced these things at all?
After a while, you listen to everyone tell you how to move on, let go, live again. And you are a detective of
joy survival; madly and frantically searching for brief any flashing moment of joy happiness serenity peace relief to alleviate the pain and sorrow that has somehow infused itself into every recess of your brain.
Maybe beg for a lobotomy?
adapting, black sheep, childhood, children, Daddy, depression, desperation, dysfunctional family, fear, frustration, grief, history, hopes, life, loss, mean mothers, nostalgia, parent issues, sadness, safety, sociopath, trust, unforgivable
Humans of New York (http://www.humansofnewyork.com) posted this photo with the caption “Dad let go of her hand, but she never let go of Dad’s hand.”
My earliest and perhaps most innocently poignant memory is of having to let go of my dad’s hand. I guess myself at around three. My mother and father were viciously arguing. My sister and I were hiding on the stairway. My heart was racing; scared of the fighting and petrified I’d get caught for sitting on those steps listening to all the loud yelling I didn’t understand and be punished for my curiosity. Two policemen showed up. They appeared larger than life and what frightened me most was the Billy club each had dangling from his belt. Menacing, baseball bat looking clubs as big as my leg, which I knew were there to be used. In my confusion for sitting on the stairway…or maybe it was the automatic assumption I’d carry with me for the rest of my life that as usual, I’D done something wrong …whatever it was, somehow I knew instantly that Billy club was to beat me with. The minute I saw it, I ran as fast as my legs could fumble themselves up those stairs in my panic, too scared now to even worry about being quiet!
I ran straight to the top of the stairs and turned into the first door on the left, my parent’s bedroom. My bedroom was straight ahead and the same distance to run, but somehow I felt sure that Billy club would come looking for me in MY room. So, I thought I was quite clever to hide in my parent’s room where they at least wouldn’t come first looking for me, maybe buying myself a few precious seconds before the beating.
The yelling downstairs had ceased. I could still hear talking; the policemen and my parents’ voices, but no more yelling. I wanted so much to hear what they were saying…to know what I had done this time…and get a clue as to how bad the Billy club beating might be….ohhhhh, how I wanted to know! Sheer terror kept me hiding behind the leather rocking chair in the corner of my parents’ bedroom, though. I didn’t DARE peek out and be nosy with the Billy club policeman man there, no matter how overwhelming my curiosity was!
My sister had gone under their bed. I stayed behind the chair for what felt like my last eternal moments before my inevitable death, making myself as small as I could to hide completely and occasionally putting my head sideways against the floor to peek under it and see my sister under the bed.
That lasted forever and I must be missing some time in there because the next thing I recall is my mother standing in front of my dad by the big wooden front door downstairs. My mother facing my dad directly, his face looked sad and hurt, not angry and mean like my mother’s and I knew something was horribly awfully wrong. My dad smiled and laughed perpetually. I’d never seen this look on his face ever. Not once on my entire three years! My mother held mine and my sister’s hands on either side of her, facing him and saying to us, who do you want to go with? This was a hard question. I didn’t want to hurt either of my parents’ feelings and I didn’t know what the right answer was. I love my mommy so much and I love my daddy too! And forever without one of them seemed an impossible choice. At that moment, I really believed this was the most final and permanent decision I’d ever have to make in my lifetime. My sister immediately piped up with, I’m going with you, Mommy. She either knew the right answer because she was an older, wiser five years old or it simply wasn’t the dilemma for her that it was for me? I didn’t know. I was looking at my dad’s face right that moment, still that sad look that was hauntingly unknown to me and I knew I couldn’t leave my daddy alone no matter what. My sister had already picked mother. I couldn’t leave my daddy alone with that expression on his face and I could feel the hot anger seething off my mother, while my dad felt quietly just hurt and defeated maybe…somehow seeming much safer than the alternative. I stepped over to my obviously wounded gigantic daddy and said, I’ll stay with you, Daddy.
It was decided. My sister left with our raging, seething mother and I stayed with our wounded, broken hearted Daddy, just knowing I could love on him enough with hugs and kisses to chase that sad look away and bring back his usual jolly smile. Strange that the few seconds it took me to make that choice feeling afraid because I believed it would be forever and I’d answer wrong, was immediately replaced with as much confidence as any three-year-old could have after answering such a question. I knew I belonged with my daddy. I loved and adored my mommy like crazy as any child does, but I knew the minute I took those few steps over to stand by my daddy’s side, that that was exactly where I belonged in this world, even if it DID mean I’d never see my beloved mother’s face again. I felt sad, but I was no longer afraid that I’d answered the question wrong. Yes, I belonged with Daddy; my happy, laughing, loving daddy with the smile that lifted my heart high in the air full of joy every day.
I didn’t understand this was only for the night…or a few days…or whatever it ended up being. I can’t recall. The last thing I remember is feeling that odd confidence that I’d made the right choice and knowing I would be safe forever right next to my daddy, holding tight to his great big warm hand.
But it wasn’t forever. Not too long after this painful choice…a night…or two or three days…my mother returned and took me with her and my sister far away from our house any my dad (to be with another wealthy much older man whom I’d later in life discover she had already been seeing and cheating on my dad with way back then). And, my daddy had to let go of my hand. I never let go of his though. Over the next 14 years, I held onto my daddy’s hand once in a while in person when I was allowed to see him, but every day and night I held onto his hand in my prayers, in my dreams, in my thoughts when I was scared, and in my heart when I felt unloved and unwanted or confused and beaten. And I continued to hold it the 27 years following that as I trudged my way through life, love, rape, abuse, and many scary choices.
Forty-one years later from the year I made that first great big life choice to hold my dad’s hand, I’m still holding that big warm hand in my mind and my heart. My daddy is gone. He let go of my hand again to go to heaven but I haven’t let go of Daddy’s hand.
adapting, adolescence, black sheep, child abuse, childhood, Childhood prayers, children, confusion, Daddy, Darlene Higgins, DENIAL, depression, desperation, dysfunctional family, estranged, fear, frustration, God, grief, history, hopes, invisible, life, loss, loveless, manipulation, mean mothers, Mother, narcissistic mother, parent issues, suicidal, trust, unacceptable, unforgivable
That pre-adolescent time is so awkward and ignorant. As a female, before you understand what’s happening to your body or ever know it’s changing at all, your vagina secretes a light discharge caused by hormonal changes. Healthy, hormonal discharge of a young girl anywhere between maybe 9 and 13 depending on how early your body changes.
I didn’t notice that. I was somewhere around 9. It’s not as though your panties are actually wet. It’s just a little bit of moisture that gets into your panties. So, you throw your panties into the dirty laundry like usual. You just toss them in there, clueless that you’ve done anything wrong…clueless that your body has gotten you in trouble. Clueless until Saturday morning when you’re in your room reading and suddenly you hear your mother scream your name all the way from the basement. You still don’t know you’re in trouble…you’re not sure why she’s screaming so angrily. Still ignorant and innocent, you zip downstairs to see what she needs or what you’ve done this time, feeling fairly confident it can’t be too bad because you know you’ve not done anything wrong or broken any rules. So at this point, you’re mostly curious and maybe the hateful scream of your name was merely to reach the volume level to get your attention.
But as you stand half the size of your 5’2 raging mother, while she shoves your dirty panties in your face screaming, “I’M NOT STUPID! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” you realize you’ve certainly done something wrong or shameful or disgraceful or broken the rules somehow. You know you didn’t pee your pants or anything(you’re very proud of the fact that you’ve not done THAT in a LONG time!), so what could be possibly be wrong with your dirty panties? Then she shows you the tiny spot in your panties that have been sitting in the dirty clothes for a few days now, and that delicate smudge of moisture that your changing body discharged while you were swinging on the maypoles at recess has become the tiniest little dried off-white crusty smudge. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THE BOYS, YOU LITTLE SLUT?” And you don’t know what you’ve done or what a “slut” even is. You just know that boys are wayyyyy yukky…and you DO know you’re in serious trouble by your mom’s expression. You’re not sure why your panties did that yet (that knowledge won’t come for another 3 or 4 years)…you only know that those are your panties (you can’t possibly deny that – you’re the only 9 year old girl in the house) and your body did something disgustingly wrong in them. Your body betrayed you. It got you in trouble. And it’s so embarrassing and humiliating that your dirty panties are so disgustingly unacceptable and apparently tell stories you don’t even know, that all you can do is cry and plead “I’m sorry Mommy” and silently vow to have a LONG talk with God about this horrifying indiscretion later after you’ve tucked all your stuffed animals safely in your bed.
Only later that night, after you tuck all your stuffed animals carefully under your covers, God doesn’t tell you. He doesn’t answer your pleads to understand why your body did something so disgusting and shameful against your will. He doesn’t even tell you what “boys” had to do with it! Mr. Bananas, your beloved stuffed monkey, doesn’t know either or he’s not talking if he does. So the best you know to do is beg God to stop your body from ever doing THAT again.
But God doesn’t stop it. So, further punishment will come. You aren’t going to be allowed to play neighborhood football outside or go sledding with them when it snows with the neighbors for a while…a REALLY long while. And all you can do then is pray that God sends your daddy and maybe your daddy will know why your body is doing that disgusting horrible “slutty” thing and understand that you’re not doing it on purpose. Even though, you’re too embarrassed about your shameful panties to ever tell you daddy…or ask him…
After all, your daddy loves you. You know it. Be