Friday, June 12, 2009

Hiding in my Shell

I'm hiding --- mostly from my feelings. What is it about death that brings out family? My father's adopted son (guess he's my step-brother?) emailed us back. I'll call him "Alex" for convenience. Alex is full of praises about dad. It's not that I want to take that away from him, but I really don't need to hear him gush about how good of a man he was.
Why are they wanting contact now? They claim it was their mother who kept them away. Well, their mother is still in the picture.
My uncle called my sister and chatted with her about 1 hour. Sister said he is very braggity - just like dad was. Kept making excuses about the house dad grew up in. I'm tired of the excuses - I grew up in an abusive house too, but I'm not rolling over. I'm rising up and moving on.
The whole family, most of whom we've not heard anything about since Nana's funeral, is calling, emailing and writing. Wanting to stay in touch and for us to come visit. Blah Blah Blah.
My uncle claims to have no idea about the House of Horrors, the fact that Sister was kicked out with no where to go and ended up with an ex-girlfriend of dad's for her senior year in high school, or about anything else. So do we explain it? Does it look like we're making excuses? Or just clarifying the facts? They want to apologize for dad and talk about him as if he were a saint. I get it - the man is dead. But still, I'm not going to accept blame and be the "bad guy" just so we don't speak ill of the dead. I'm not going out of my way to criticize, but I'll not let the truth lie dormant either.
And I'm super tired of the ...."oh you don't see much of your mother, either" refrain. Yes, I have two shitty parents. It is possible. Why do you assume that because I have poor (or no) relationship with either parent, that it is my fault? I can hear their thoughts - "oh it must be something wrong with her. She doesn't speak with either parent."
All the thoughts and feeling swirling around are super confusing.
I'm also caught up in what Sister wants. I still struggle with the fact that I left her in the House of Horrors when I escaped to school. So I try to stand by her side and support her now. That's not a bad thing except when I ignore my own feelings. She's not sure what to do with all this either. Part of us wants to tell everyone "too late. You missed out. Go away again." Part of us feels like we need to reach out. Then again, I know it's akin to ripping the scab off a wound. The wound has healed somewhat. Now we're opening it up again. Saying, "come into my life." Not sure this isn't just the guilt of losing a brother. They will probably disappear again - only to pop back up when another relative dies.
Maybe I'll win the lottery and can move myself and Sister and our families to a desserted island where we don't have to interact with anyone.


bdreamer said...

This is a hard one, hearing such great things about your dad, when you knew another side of him.

I know what it's like to feel as if the rest of the family looks at you funny because you can't play the "image management" game. Those who do play the game aren't interested in hearing your version of the truth. It will probably have to be enough that you and your sister know it.

Also, my way of dealing with stuff with my mother (since our relationship ended) is: I don't go out of my way to bad mouth her. If I did, none of my sons would visit her while she's in town. On the other hand, should anyone ask me what the trouble is between us I'd have to speak the truth.

It's not fair that we should have been victimized as children, and now in addition to living with that we must deal with the ignorance of those who don't want to see things for what they are. It doesn't get any easier, in my experience.

My best to you (and your sister) and you struggle with these issues.

Anonymous said...

The irony of it all... today marks 10 years since my dad died. I too was physically abused and taught some pretty disgusting things about women.

Before dad died people would tell me about how much he had changed, yadda, yadda, yadda. Like you, I just knew the man I knew. Fortunately I was able to make a death bead reconciliation with my dad. Not sure it will help at all but I wrote about the week my dad died.

Don't ignore that feeling in your gut. I suspect that it has served you well over the years. Let that feeling guide you now.

Another thing I've noticed over the years. No person is ever quite as good as they seem... until they die. Then every good thing imagined about them is spoken about as FACT! Right.

Kahless said...

Hang in there Enola.


jumpinginpuddles said...

Part of being a successful liar as your dad was is that they live two lives both total opposite of each other, and play out both worlkds even after death.
What an asshole