I have a really good life. In past blogs I have talked about childhood abuse and I am comfortable with that, but I want to clarify a few things.
First, I have a really good life. I married my high school sweetheart. He is the best person I know, and I am blessed to know some really good people. We grew up together, both went to college, and married afterwards. We have been married for 27 years. They have not always been easy years, but we have stood together through the good and the painful well, and we have loved each other.
I have a good life. My husband and I talk and laugh and we have fun. I have really good friends and family members who I love and adore. I can trust them and they stand by me no matter what happens. We also laugh together and have fun.
Now, about my parents. I love and hate my parents. Yes, they abused me but they are also my parents. They are the only Mom and Dad I will ever have. If I had a choice, maybe I would have chosen different parents, but babies don’t get to decide who they are born to.
Also, everything that has happened to me in my life, good, bad and WHAT THE FUCK, has made me who I am today. I am glad to be where I am today. I am not saying I am perfect or that my life is perfect, but I like me and my life.
My parents and my life gave me my dark humor. My parents gave my the ability to be direct as hell because well, they often could not come right out and say ANYTHING. I often described them to other people this way.
My parents were so indirect that they wouldn’t come right out and ask for a glass of water if their hair was on fire. I imagined the conversation going something like this.
“Wow, sure is hot in here.”
“I could sure use a drink.”
“You know, I’m kind of thirsty.” and on and on.
Eventually they would have to use the stop, drop, and roll method. Trust me. They just would.
My mother passed away several years ago. I grieved her loss. Of course I did. I loved her. I hated the negative things she haddone to me, the ways she had hurt me, but I loved her too.
My father is still alive and has Alzheimer’s Disease. He lives in a nursing home and no longer knows me or anyone else. He is lost in his mind somewhere and seems very content and often happy there. He gets to see my mother and or his second wife everyday. Sometimes I wonder if he sees both of them at the same time and I wonder how that works, but it’s his mind, so that is up to him. Frankly, I don’t think my father has that much imagination. And I am not talking about sex, so don’t make it dirty.
I am also not trying to be mean. My father was a simple man. He lived a simple life. That is who he was. I don’t have a problem with that. Wow. I just talked about him in the past tense. That happens because who he was just isn’t there anymore. His body is there, but he is not present.
One time when I talked to him on the phone earlier in his disease, when he still knew who I was, he gave me hell for not being at work with his second wife. His second wife was dead and I never worked with her but that didn’t matter. He was pissed and the angry tone of voice and verbal abuse was familiar. I had called him to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving. I ended up apologizing for being late to work. Yep, that felt crazy and I got off the phone with him as quickly as possible so that I could cry. Happy Fucking Thanksgiving. My phone calls to him tapered of pretty damn quickly. He did not remember if I called and I realized I did not need to keep subjecting myself to his abuse.
Before that we had some good phone calls that didn’t make a great deal of sense, but he was nice to me. To be fair, I have to say that also.
When I see him, I cry. He does not know me and he does not notice that I am crying. He talks to me like he would a stranger, because I am a stranger to him. It’s really weird. During one of my last visits, a good friend went with me. As we sat at a table in the dining room, my father in his wheelchair because he can no longer walk, my father turned to me and asked, “Who is that?”
He was referring to my friend. She had been my friend since we were children in grade school and had spent countless hours at my home. I said, “That’s Lisa.” Well, my father didn’t know me. He didn’t know Lisa.
In a grumpy old man voice he said, “Doesn’t mean a damn thing to me.”
It could have been funny if it wasn’t such a heartbreaking situation.
He put his head down and went to sleep. Soon a nurse came by and cheerfully greeted him by his first name. She asked how he was doing and he said “Fine but I was trying to sleep.”
He gave me a pointed look.
I asked if he would like to go back to his room. I can’t remember now if he answered me as I was struggling with my emotions, trying not to cry constantly, but I told him I would take him back. Then I did. My friend and I waited until one of the staff could put him in his bed.
He was no longer the monster that had frightened me so much as a child. He was a helpless, grumpy old man in a wheel chair, and it broke my heart. I wouldn’t wish Alzheimer’s on him despite anything he ever did or said to me in anger or otherwise. You know how sometimes people say, I wouldn’t wish that on my worse enemy? Well, I probably would wish some horrible things on my worse enemy but my father was not that.
He was simply a man who made many mistakes in his life. He unleashed his anger on my body when I was a child. He said hurtful things.
Years ago, I Iet my anger towards him and my mother go. I feel some compassion towards both of them. I think that is on the road to forgiveness. I really do want to forgive them someday.
My experiences shaped who I am. I did not feel safe anywhere until I was 46 years old. I had to work hard to get to that feeling of safety. I will continue to write honestly about who I am and the things that shaped me, but for the people who read what I write I guess I want you to know, I love my parents too.