Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cycles, Ever Spiraling Up and Down

While I'm not quite certain just what motivates me to post once again, out of the blue, I am certainly not at a loss for news. The biggest change in my life that has thrown my life into a new spiral was my father's death in April. Those of you that have been following regularly (or, rather, whenever the muses have pushed me to post) know that my relationships with my parents have not been great in the past five or so years. My father and I, for those of you who don't know, have been at odds since I was about 5 or 6. It came to a head when I was a young teen, then, in the year before his death, I just stopped speaking or interacting with him at all. So, when my sister called to tell me that he had six months to live, I said, "Let me know if he asks for me. Otherwise, I've said my goodbyes already."

Harsh, I know. But we all deal with life and its trials and tribulations in the best ways we can. We do what we can to keep ourselves sane.

Then, I heard his time was shortened to two weeks. And it hit me, then. No matter what horrors we (my siblings, aunt and I) were forced to endure at this man's hands, I didn't want to continue that pain and hurt. That loneliness and remorse, that became so abundantly clear one night as I helped him eat his dinner at the facility, was like a red hot dagger. I used to be fully of the school of thought that "what one reaps, one must sow." I still cling to that, but we all make decisions and take turns down paths that cannot be unmade. That night, when he told me, "I'm glad you came," my heart broke a little. That deep loneliness (which, granted he brought upon himself through his ill treatment of his family) was such a limbo as I never would wish upon another soul.

Perhaps it was the way I was brought up; put the happiness of others before mine, no matter how they may treat me. Not a great lesson to learn, and quite difficult to unlearn. Going to the extreme of completely cutting someone out of my life was the only way I knew how to deal with it all. As I've said before, had he (or my mother) been complete strangers, I'd never have let them stay in my life. The simple, biological ties that bind needn't keep one in misery. Respect is earned; it's not a right. But there came a breaking point. I don't regret my decisions to cease communications with my parents. I needed to do that to figure out who I was. And you know something? It worked. But it's not for everybody.

In the five years before my father's death, I hadn't spoken a word to my mother. It was what I needed to do. I was determined to continue that path even while she was here comforting one of my sisters the in the days leading into his demise. Then, the day of, while my paternal aunt and uncle comforted me, my other sister and my brother-in-law, Mom came in with my sister and sis's boyfriend. I didn't even look at her through the anger in my heart at everything that was racing through my mind.

'How dare she? How can she be mourning this person that she no longer loved? How can she be so cruel as to throw her sadness into our lot? She doesn't know what it's like?'

By the end of that day, with my mother, siblings, brother-in-law and sister's boyfriend all around me I realized something major. My heart needed mending. I no longer wanted to be that angry person. Nursing that anger would end in one way, and one way only: loneliness. That same desolate, heartbreaking realization of dying truly alone that greedily ate away at my father's soul as he lay dying. How he endured it all these years, knowing (he must have had some inkling near the end) how much of it was his doing I will never know. I'll make damn sure of it.

So, I resolved to put the past where it belongs and try again with my mother. We speak now, as if nothing had happened. As long as the past doesn't repeat itself, I think that I am finally finding my way out of that murky depth which swallowed my father whole. It almost claimed my heart, too.


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