Yesterday at church the Pastor talked about forgiveness. It was definitely a timely subject for me. I haven’t been to church in a really long time so I think maybe someone *hint-hint* is trying to tell me something.
On Saturday I got a phone call from my Father. He never picks up the phone to just say hi or anything so I knew right away that something was wrong. He called to tell me how disappointed he was in me. A couple of weeks ago I told my Mother that I didn’t want to go to their house to observe the anniversary of my brother’s in November. I told her that I intended to go to NYC and spend time with some of the friends that my brother and I shared. I feel that this is a more fitting memorial and it is what he would want me to do. I told her that I was going to be sad and I was going to remember wherever I was. I told her that I didn’t want to go to their house to observe this anniversary. I know that me making the effort would be some kind of comfort to them but it would be absolute torture for me. I know that I am there only remaining child but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get to decide what I feel I need to do for my own sanity. They are not a source of comfort for me, it is sad to say but it is true. My dad just yelled at me and told me how he can’t believe that I was doing this to my mother. He told me that I think that they are just parents of “convenience” and that I was doing the same thing to my Mother that my “brother always did”. I didn’t respond to any of this during the conversation. I’ve been his daughter for 42 years now and I’ve finally learned that it doesn’t do any good. When he is like that he doesn’t listen and would only twist everything back to me. I just told him if that is how he feels about me, I’m not going to change his mind. How does he think that talking to me in this way is going to make me want to go there? What shred of logic is he clinging to for that one? It would just be so impossibly sad to be there and you know what, it is always sad to be there. Even before my brother did this thing. So now, I feel that I would just be crushed under the weight of it all. I feel for my Mother I really do but I just can’t make that trip for her. I can’t ask my husband and my daughter to make that trip either. I need to forgive them for their part in what Mike did and I can’t do that yet.
My feelings towards my brother change all the time. Right now, I’m just so incredibly sad for him. I feel his pain now and frankly it makes me feel vengeful. My Pastor talked about how in the face of abuse there can be forgiveness but there also must be justice. I’m still searching for the greater justice for Mike but I can do my small part. For some reason he didn’t feel like he could say no to them and release himself and still remain here intact. But I can and I will.
The Pastor told a story about a young boy who did something very bad during advent. He was very defiant and refused to admit he was wrong to his parents even though it meant that he might be sacrificing all his Christmas presents. No matter how many times his parents gently asked him to admit he was wrong and say that he was sorry, he refused to admit that he was wrong. Finally Christmas came and when he looked under the tree on Christmas morning there were more presents and many more extravagant presents than he had ever received before. As soon as he saw what his parents had done he broke down and admitted he was wrong and said he was sorry. When I heard that it reminded me so much of my own family but with a very different result. Back during the 90’s there was a period of time where my brother had exhausted all his outlets and was forced to move back in with my parents in their very small one bedroom apartment. It was a completely black time for him. My father was so fed up with my brother and his situation that he forbade my mother from buying him any Christmas presents at all. He didn’t want to “reward” my brother in any way. My mother must have felt that she needed to give him something so she bought a bunch of things that he needed like; saline solution, tube socks, shaving cream, etc., and wrapped them up and put them under the tree. When I saw him sitting there opening these “presents” up it just struck me as one of the saddest things I had ever seen. I know my mother meant well but I think that she made my brother feel like he was some kind of homeless or third-world person, just grateful for the most menial of gifts. How different it could have been if my father had decided to love more instead of punish more? This story has always stuck with me and now coupled with the Pastor’s story it’s all I can think about.
I guess that the right thing for me to do is to go to Greenport for the anniversary. But I don’t think that I can. I want to be able to love more instead of punish more but I’m not there yet. I’m still working on my forgiveness.