Well to be honest I needed to take time off from writing. I had to deal with some feelings I dug up while writing this blog. Best to do it when you are experiencing them. No more suppressing that inner me.
So I left off with the last request from my mother. Take care of your father she asked. Now may I say although I know everything happens for a reason it is hard to know that in a moment of complete pants shitting panic. I gave her my word knowing that she needed it to die in peace. I kept myself together until after the wake. Thank God I am Irish and we all drank ourselves stupid after. Then I slept in my car that night in the funeral home parking lot. As I drove home to wash up and change it all hit me like a nightmare. The words rang in my seriously heavy head...take care of your father. I had visions of shooting him, blowing him up, driving over him repeatedly! Then one of him at my mothers side sobbing and kissing her forehead as she died. He was who I had remembered and feared. No, he was old and weak,sad and needy. I was stronger.I found myself pulling into his driveway. I went up and knocked on the door. He yelled "come in".I did. I stood there looking at him. He was lost. Red faced from tears and still sobbing. I am not sure what happened at this point I think my inner self may have taken over. I kicked in to a self preservation mode. I saw weak in front of me yet still felt fear. My inner child was screaming. I said." Look here old man, I will take care of you I did make mom that promise.But we are going to have some fucking rules! If you don't follow my rules I will leave you all alone and no one will fucking take care of you! Do you understand! You are never allowed to touch me or my children. If you break that rule I will fucking end you. I call the shots I hope ya get that. I am not afraid of you anymore. I hope we can get some understanding of that here!" He said yes softly.His head down he sobbed into a paper towel. I sat at the table. We talked like real people. He admitted that he knew he was a bastard and had been a bastard to me. He did not have any explanation for himself. I knew I had pushed a fragile man too far. I said I needed him to understand that I would help him I just needed rules. I needed to feel safe. He shook his head yes. I asked if he had eaten as I went to the refrigerator. I started to cook eggs for him. There I was cooking eggs for the devil himself.I asked him about mom and what he loved about her most. We talked for the first time. The first real talk with feelings I had ever had with this man I had know my whole life. I felt pity for him. My inner self was silent.I felt like it was hiding in fear. Just expecting that this pathetic man would somehow decide he was angry and grab me up. He ate his eggs and cried. My brothers and sisters showed up and the circus continued.They all played pretend. We where a pretend family for a few hours. But I did note the look in the eyes of each of them. I am sure I had the same look in my eyes. I am sure we all felt the same. Not that we could ever discuss it. We where all distant and estranged from each other. I did not really know them and they did not really know me.We never talked for any reason ever, until my mom died and even then it was about her and not our feelings, not our needs or memories. They took what dad gave them to remember her by, made promises to call and stop by to see him. I smiled and played my role in the circus. Then I left. I knew they would not make good on their empty promises. I would however make good on my promise.I would take care of him and I would somehow get the answers I needed from him. Why and how could he do that to me?...I was his child.
I went home and took time to sleep and see my children. I needed it. Then, well.. Off to the races.Now it was even more intense.Family, work, home, kids,dad, garden,cook,clean and care for two households.Then dad got sick, really sick.My inner voice cried quietly for me to help it. I could not. I was the last thing I needed to deal with damn it. Dad went to the hospital.Somehow I knew he would not be ok. He was not. I saw him in the hospital and then cared for him at home. We started to be good at the game of truth. I would ask a question and he would take a deep breath and give me an answer. I asked. "why did you hate me so much?" He said." I never hated you I just never knew how to do it differently. I worked hard to care for my family ya know.I didn't have much of a roll model I guess.My father was awfully bad to us ya know." As our time together rolled on I got to know this man I called dad. We built a guesthouse together. Well, my husband and I built it dad directed. I worked hard to keep my defenses sharp. Dad got sicker. He spent more time in the hospital.I was there. My best friend supporting me. We sat and played cards with the devil to help him pass the time.I think she understood that I needed some kind of connection with this man to reconcile my past.She worried for me and loved me through it.Dad got worse. The doctor moved him to ICU and they wanted to move him to a different hospital. Because of his breathing difficulty they wanted to place him on a ventilator.I went in my dad's room to tell him.He agreed and then grabbed my arm and said."I am sorry I just want you to know that. My dad he did things to me too and I did not know better.I did try to be better then him.I guess I wasn't. I understand why you could hate me. But Kathy I always loved you and I am so proud of you now, you are a good woman and mother.Promise me you will let me go to mama when the time comes and that you will quit smoking.Please kiddo." I held his hand and promised I would let him go to mom when the time came. I never said I would quit smoking! When he arrived at the new hospital I was already there.I called my other family members. My older brother was booking a flight.No one else would come. My father had lung cancer. He was in end stage.My brother came the next day. I made the decision to pull the plug and let him die. I held his hand and forgave him with all of my heart, I let him go.My inner voice said the words out loud, "Dad I forgive you it's ok you can go to mom now, I forgive you dad." I quietly said to myself I forgive me too.I was a child and I was a victim, I forgive me too.
My father passed away almost a year after my mother. In the end I got the father I had always wanted.
I was reborn! I was free. I started to talk to others about my abuse and my survival.I was no longer afraid,I was no longer a victim.I was growing and changing. All in rather small doses. But still it was something. My brothers and sisters went back to the shadows and I was left alone by my blood family. Free at last.None of my brothers or sisters got to truly know my father the way that I did and for that I am sorry. I wish they all could have come out and been honest with them selves and gotten the closure that I did. They all are still in denial and pretending that it never happened.Although I was free, I knew they where not. Since they were not a part of my life I could speak freely.Feel freely and grow. Now mind you I was just starting to listen to my inner voice but I still shut it out most of the time to maintain my pace of life that kept me safe from the feelings and the world. A semi hibernation.A controlled hibernation. I was not truly free yet.
I began to heal myself be writing in a journal and reading my fathers writings. He would write about everything. He just left out most of the truth. He made it sound like we were a fucking TV perfect family. I wrote the truth in my journal.I always ended each entry with: and everything happens for a reason. You see I think my mother knew what she was doing by asking me to care for my father. I got a true gift from her...CLOSURE! Thank you mama!
I started to grow! But I kept up my pace of work and family and ran like a mad woman. Somehow thinking I had to,still afraid of me somehow. I am not sure why, but I think I got caught up in thinking I could save the world.
This went on for a few years....
I think I will step away from the bad part of my childhood and tell ya some of the good parts so you can see me even more clearly before I move forward with my story. So next blog we will look back again and you will see the people I call my angels.People who gave me hope and love and the determination to want more from myself. They were in the right place at the right time and I don't think that that is a coincidence. Thank you to whoever is in control up there. So until then I will grow from what ever memories this congers up in my mind, and heal, and know I am not a victim but a survivor.