I feel conflicted, vacillating between being fully committed to writing down my story and fearful of the outcome. Some days I want to fast forward to the end and the resulting reactions of my father, stepmother, and sisters-to just get it over with. This place we’re in now feels like I’m playing their game, I’m allowing their denial to pollute my life, I’m shushing my spirit again and again, every time that I don’t say what I know is the truth. And yet I also feel that me not distupting the status quo is a requirement for the relationship. I reflect back on all the times I kept quiet because I knew my truth would be met with disdain, or at best dismissed.
I’ve been reading so much about parent alienation these days and so many things my father did were classic of this syndrome. Is that what it is- a syndrome? Or the result of a personality disorder? I find myself wishing my sister Amy would read up on this because if she just educated herself then how could she deny what happened? But I know she will continue to deny because that feels safer. They all will. That is what I believe will happen. I know it is an assumption on my part, but it is it based on years and years of knowing them and knowing how a set belief can require a miracle to shift.
“They’re cowards”, I say to my husband. They don’t want to know the truth because they can’t face the truth. If my father had gotten away with murder it would feel no less infuriating.”
And then I lift myself, with my thoughts, to a place of forgiveness again. And then back. Again. And again. I am so tired of this conversation. It has gone on so long. And I feel I am carrying the weight of it for myself and my mother. I feel her devastation and yet sometimes catch myself feeling annoyed by her woundedness, her weakness. I think that she is not taking any action to heal or undo any of the damage that was done to her. She never confronted my father. Though she was receptive, she never took initiative to reconnect with me. She left me to be parented by the man who ruined her life. How was that okay? Did my father make her weak or was he attracted to her in the first place because of her weakness? I think it is some of both. Then I feel guilty that I have been able to heal and it appears that she has not. I clumsily, recklessly, attempted to reunite with her many years ago and I take much of the blame for it not working out. But it seems a shame that she has closed that door now. Too late kid, you failed in your attempts and it hurt and that’s all I can handle in this lifetime. I imagine that is what she is thinking. I reach out and I get no response. I must truly let go.
This is what surfaces while I am writing my story. I conclude that I just need to stop thinking so much and just keep writing. Just write my story. And if my father chooses to reject me because of it, so be it. But if I did not write it, I would not forgive myself. I would be surrendering as my mother did and I know I am stronger than that.
I think about the agreements in the book of The Four agreements: #1. Be impeccable with your word. I am writing my truth as I know it. Isn’t that impeccable? I may be giving away the less than flattering choices that the adults in the story make, but it is my truth, afterall.#2 Don’t take anything personally. I think I’m doing okay with that one. #3 Don’t Make Assumptions. I need to do better here. Maybe my father will own the past after all. People can change. Perhaps my book will be that catalyst. I am prepared for that not being the case, but I mustn’t assume. I must leave room for surprise. For miracles. Always leave room for a miracle.
And #4 Always do your best. I make this my daily goal now, in all areas of my life. It is not easy and I fall short most days, but I know that this, more than anything, is the key to happiness.
Another memorable fight during the early years happened when Kate was about eight months pregnant with Alexis. I remember my father’s sister, Aunt Helen, showing up at our home.
“Rick, did you and Kate have a fight? Because I saw her walking down route 9, and she’s pregnant for God’s sake. Go find her and drive her home!” Aunt Helen is firm and my father grabs his keys off the kitchen counter in response. I remember noticing her large, protruding belly when we found her, waddling along quite a ways from our home.
Kate had been heading to her mother’s home, after a fight. When my father pulls over, he tells her to get in the car. After his second time telling her to do this, she gets in the front seat.
Kate rides silently, an air of indignance about her. She must have been furious with my father, I think, to be so desperate to leave. What would she have done once she reached her mother’s house. Would she have stayed there? Demanded a divorce? Waited for my father to come pick her up?
It is quiet on the way home, other than some light banter coming from my father. He is trying to make light of the situation, and diffuse Kate’s anger. I’m only six years old, but it isn’t difficult to pick up on this. A chuckle comes from my father and I recognize his message. He is trying to tell us this was all just Kate being silly. He is telling Kate she has been silly.