Annoying Autobiographical Pause #789
Christmas Eve is the day that my family always gets together to celebrate each other. I think because my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer just a few days before the holiday back in 1996, we took a hit of Christmas spirit that has never been properly replaced.
You will never know how much my sister and I loved her and that we still grieve to this day. Pounding, toxic grief that will leave for awhile and then come back with a vengeance so exquisitely painful that it knocks our breath out.
I lost some of that 'loving' feeling when she died 14 months later on a cold February afternoon. I watched her take her last breath, her death not the pretty lies shown in the movies.
She died hard.
Over the years, I let that spirit of Christmas slip away. I blamed everyone for my grief and it turned into resentment and anger. I became petty.
I became, quite frankly, a person I didn't like very much.
This Christmas, I'm trying to repair fences with my father as I hurt his feelings. When I wrote things on this blog, I was in an estranged sort of place with him. I was angry at the woman he married because she hurt my feelings more than once. She has a biting tongue, but the thing I forgot is that she wasn't acting out of character, and half the stuff she said she just said, but I put more weight into it than I should. I was so excited for him when they got married and actually was partly responsible for them meeting, but I felt like she was treating my sister and I like we were guests in his life and I don't want to be a guest in my father's life.
I want to be his daughter.
This again was my perception. I'm not blaming here her. I'm blaming the situation.
My estrangment caused many of the problems. It was my issues not theirs, and for this, in the early hours of Christmas Eve, is my one biggest regret over the past two years.
The closeness that my father and I used to share was severed, first by his new relationship and then by my sense of abandonment and me acting petty and taking a butcher knife to our ties with each other. I found that my dad, who had always told us stuff, was now keeping what I perceived as "secrets" which really hurt my feelings and this is where I got into "I'm Done" mode.
I also am concerned about my father's loss of hearing. I used to think he wasn't listening, but now in sad retrospect, I realize he can't hear. I wish he would use his hearing aid, but it really bothers him so I can't ask him to do something that is uncomfortable for him. I have no idea how it feels to go through this. Here is a man who loves music so much to have in small, uncomfortable ways that have snuck up on him so elusively to lose a sense that has given him so much joy.
Why do I bring this up?
Because I'm trying to be a better person. Being human, I've made mistakes. Huge ones, but on the other hand I was reacting to my emotions at the time.
He's trying. I'm trying. It's the best we both can do.
Some things won't be repaired on both sides, I'm sure. But forgiveness is what Christmas is about. And if anything were to happen to him, I would be devastated because I love him so very much.
So we will see how this goes. So to my father and to his wife, I'll give it a shot, walk away when it hurts and revel in the joy when it works.
And this year, this is my Christmas.
Because I miss my father.