My Dad passed away March 28th. All I really have to say about that is I’m sorry our relationship was so tortured, and I am as much to blame as he is. I hope and pray that he is at peace now, moving on to whatever comes next, joining all his loved ones who have gone before. I believe that he is young and strong and healthy and beautiful again. That’s how I see him in my mind when his memory comes around and demands my attention. I asked him once, when he thinks of himself, what was his self-image? How did he see himself? He said he still thought of himself as a 22 year old kid. That’s how I see him now. He was a handsome guy, strikingly handsome.
He was very active in his church. His fellows at the congregation loved him dearly and told wonderful stories of his generosity, especially with the needy kids. He paid for summer camps, shoes, winter coats, Christmas presents. Wonderful guy. Yet…my 2 children…his own grandchildren…never a birthday card. Never that $25 check for Christmas. Which kept me angry at him. And my anger kept him from having the space to reconcile earlier family dysfunction. So, on this earth, he & I were worlds apart. Ever it was, ever it would ever be. It’s very hard to hear the wonderful stories of my father being the first one to step up and help out, no matter the need when all I ever wanted was for my kids to be a part of his life. I have no idea how he might have felt about them privately, for all I know they were ever out of sight, out of mind and the thought of them never, ever crossed into his thinking. I do know that in his daily world, they just didn’t exist.
No. This didn’t start with my kids. This goes back to my being a kid and a mentally ill mother and it’s all just too much anymore. It’s…just…too…much. Because of course, during my childhood, no one knew that much about mental illness. So, now we’re all grown up, the parents are passing away and it is high time to just move on as best I can.
My father wanted us all in church. I know I can’t lay down all the anger and resentments from childhood and young adulthood on my own. I’ve been carrying that around for decades. So…I asked his pastor (and his next door neighbor and his BFF!) to baptized me. It’s what my dad wanted, he got so much out of his congregations and really, really became a wonderful, hero-type personality doing good things for other people. I can’t see where that behavior would hurt me one little bit.
RD & I have already started church dating. We went to a service last Sunday, our first Sunday back from my Dad’s, but yeah…that one? No. Thank you, no. One of those new-fangled non-denominational thingys that wasn’t a service at all but an informercial for their lobby coffee cafe and book/gift shop where their new I ♥️ Jesus hoodies in 6 colors are in and available for sale! Hurry! You’re going to want to grab one up, and remember all your family members when you buy yours, before they’re gone!! We sat thru 45 minutes of an informercial. Then we realized that for these guys in the skinny jeans, this was the service. RD began riffing about what was and was not on sale in the cafe-gift-book store, as only he can do, and it got to the point I was afraid I’d burst out laughing so we got up and quietly left out the side door. He’s still riffing on it, and in his telling, it just gets funnier and funnier.
Tomorrow, we’re going to Fellowship Baptist Church around here and give them a speed dating try. It seems more traditional, which will work better for us, I think.
A further note on Dad’s passing. My brother is reaching out. Our younger sister passed in 2001. His wife passed in 2016, now our Dad. Our poor mother is even deeper into her mental illness. That’s never going to get better, or easier to deal with because, I’m afraid that quite a bit of the make up of her illness (paranoia) also includes her being a sociopath. I’m not a doctor so I can’t say that is the definitive diagnosis but from what I’ve read…and she has a cold cruel, unfeeling, no empathy for others streak to her. Yet, she is smart enough to be able to mask it for short time periods, and on the surface she is quite clever enough to come across as a sweet little old lady. She can’t mask it for long, as an aunt just recently discovered and it shocked her to her core. Welcome to my world, Aunt.
So, basically, other than our own little families…it’s just my brother & I left. I’m going to *stop* letting anger damage that. It stops now. I’m so tired of it all. It’s exhausting. I’m done with it. From this day on, we are moving forward in a new direction.
If it takes joining a church and constantly hearing messages of love and forgiveness and a better plan for life and the hereafter…well…all I got to say is….
LET’S DO THIS!
Speaking of my own little family, mine is going to grow by one. My daughter is 4 mos pregnant again! This is Baby #6, but I’m hopeful by the time he/she comes, we’ll be calling it by a proper name. Maybe I’ll just call it “6” for the rest of its life! Dunno!
Rest in Peace, Dad. You deserve it. You were here and walked among us and left your mark.
That is all.