So the thing about dead people is that no one wants to talk bad about them. And as respectful and appropriate as that may be, it's not always the right representation of that person. And at the same time perhaps it's not appropriate to bring anything up, because now that they are dead, you can put your issues with them to reat, sweep it all right under the rug where it never needs to see the light of day again.
When James died it was profoundly sad. For me, obviously because he had died and that is sad, but more so my sadness was overrun with spite. He had 'beat' the alcoholism, done the 'right thing' by joining the Marines, he was a very loving daddy. I was beside myself that whatever pain, addiction, PTSD, undiagnosed mental disorders, sickness, had over run his body and won. I wanted him to have a fighting chance. I wanted to see him rock this world.
Instead, he suffered inexplicably, many times at his own hand, but sometimes not. The pain was real, panic and anxiety real, days at a time of insomnia -slowly loosing his grip on reality, the seizures, the rages, the car accident, the medicine.... it all started to swirl together.
There came a point when I could no longer separate what I should hold him accountable for, and what I should not. Regardless..... it doesn't change the fact that I lived a living hell for years. Hell with an underpinning of love that I still haven't shaken.
As I've taken the last 5 years, I have grieved and hurt and retreated into my own world. Without knowing how to grieve the 'right' way or know what my next step should be, I built him an alter and set him there carefully, delicately. When the girls would talk of their daddy (often, several times a day) we would reminisce about their amazing memories and stories of daddy.
They were good memories, correct recitals, it was all true. It just wasn't ALL inclusive of his life, ALL the memories. I know they weren't present for all of the sleepless, manic, over medicated nights. I know that I sheltered them from a large portion of the crazy scary daddy, but certainly they must remember.....? Daddy sitting in the chair asking for his son. The time he stopped breathing, no heartbeat and grampie had to start CPR while they waited for the firemen, the seizures, the falling and convulsions, the blue lips. Daddy not being allowed to drive on the school field trips, racing unsteady to put his boots on and saying there was a fire, the slurring, the unconsious, the breaking thru doors. Funny tho, those weren't the memories they wanted to share and remember.
I get it. Who WOULD want to?
And, in my heart, do I really want them to remember anything but the good? Or am I all wrapped up still needing validation that it happened at all.
Lu was working on a high school finals project. Pick 30 people and write about each one, why are they your heroes? What a great, thoughtful, project, especially for teens. I loved it. Lu took her time (as she always does) thinking long and hard about each one. She chose an amazing variety and I LOVE her lil thinker. She included the nurse who sings to the child cancer patient, a teacher, authors, her team of doctors from stanford, book characters, our insurance (for being there to cover all of Nat's broken bones), a singer, her boyfriend's mom, etc...and her daddy.
Indeed, that seems like a very thorough, thoughtful list, she just forgot to put me in there. Surely she meant to. Surely if daddy qualified and she (more than the other girls) knows everything that we went thru, I could at least be a contender. No. No, I was not. Do I realllllyyyyyyy care about this, like on a school report level, no. It just really made me sit back and evaluate what I allowed the girls to be exposed to, and their own little filters and how it processed it all. I still feel the sting, but I suppose everyone needs a daddy on an alter who loves you unconditionally.