He wasn’t that bad…

For as long as I can remember, my mother has defended the actions of my father. While we don’t have to agree completely on the details, I wish she would at least agree that he wasn’t a nice person to be around most of the time.

When my father died almost 8 years ago I thought it would make things easier. Juvenile diabetes is a bastard of a disease. By the time I was in my last years of high school he has become legally blind. When I was in university he had his leg removed and his heart stopped twice on the operating table. In his late 50’s it was congestive heart failure and kidney disease. When he died he was only 61. In the last few years of his life he had pretty much become completely dependent on us to take care of him. I found it difficult to provide for him what he did not provide to us. Part of me wanted to walk away and let him figure out a way to take care of himself. But for one reason or another, I couldn’t.

My mother doesn’t talk about him much. They were married for 38 years, so you would think there would be something to say. I try to talk to her about him but she usually changes the subject.

Just last night he came up in conversation. She was talking about spending Christmas with my brother. She wasn’t sure that he really wanted her to go visit but she thought it was because of his wife. I told her that I think he’s scared of her. She wondered why that was.

Maybe she reminds him of someone, I told her.

Who, your father? she answered sarcastically.

It’s possible, I said. On the inside I wanted to scream at her. Of course she reminds him of his father. He was a fucking asshole who beat the shit out of your son. His wife is angry and aggressive and if she doesn’t get her way she lashes out. She is almost as hard on her kids as he was on us. The only difference is she doesn’t physically assault them. Does she remind YOU of anyone??

I don’t know why you always say those things. You’re father wasn’t that bad. And he certainly wasn’t anything like her, was her reply.

No, he wasn’t anything like her. He was way worse, I thought to myself as I walked out of the room.

As a mother myself, I simply can’t wrap my head around it. I’m angry with her. I need her, for just once in my life, to try to understand why I feel the way that I do.

She left today to go to my brother’s. She called him last night and everything was wonderful again. The last couple of weeks with my mother have been tense and even though it’s Christmas I’ve been looking forward to the time she will be away.

I am almost certain that there is a part of her that absolutely resents me. Yes, that’s the word–resentment. I want to tell her that I’m sorry I was ever born and that there have been so many times over my lifetime that I have felt that way.

I don’t know what I need to do in order to change the way she feels about me. But something has to change. I don’t trust her. I don’t feel safe with her. I don’t feel as though she is capable of protecting me from anything anymore and I don’t think she would even if she could.

It all feels upside down and backwards. I’m starting to wonder why I’m even bothering to try to figure all of these things out about her. She is who she is and she was who she was. I can’t change it.

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