The Thin Line

My Dad died of congestive heart failure when he was 63 (I was 36). He and my mom had been separated (not divorced) for over 10 years and he died in his sleep at his own home alone. It was three days before he was found by a neighbor. I had not spoken to him for about a month.

I loved my dad very much but I hated him too. I did not speak to him from the time I was 19 to 26 because he had been so verbally abusive to me - in self preservation I ceased communication with him. He said to my mom "it's only a phase she's going through" - That phase lasted 7 years. It took a lot of soul searching to forgive him for all the physical and mental abuses he'd unleashed on our nuclear unit. My older brother came out of the situation being an abuser to his own family, my mother came away a manipulative victim, and I came away self destructive and suicidal. I did reconcile with my dad and the experience was wonderful at first. The air was filled with the fragrance of a fresh start, but then time brings back old habits. He began taking me on his emotional roller coaster rides again. This time I was not alone, I had a witness in the form of my husband who'd only heard tales of my dad's exploits. This time my husband would see first hand my dad's twisted ways, and I would feel vindicated - but empty. I grew up watching my dad treat our neighbors and his coworkers so nicely, but never his own little family. He treated his parents, his siblings all with a measure of good respect but never his children or wife. I'll never understand it, but I could not help but forgive him over and over again.  At times he could be the most wonderful, funny, generous person and sweep you away having you believe you were the most important person in the world to him, until another person of greater interest came into the room and you were literally forgotten.

It feels strange to miss my dad so much everyday and at the same time be relieved that his hurtful ways are now at rest with him.  For all the pain I tell myself these are lessons and knowledge gained.  
SallyRagDoll SallyRagDoll
41-45, F
May 13, 2012