Thursday, January 27, 2011

Smack Talking

I talk a lot of smack about my family and never bother to tell the good. The good is my relationship with my mom is like night and day from when I was growing up. She is such a cool lady and once I started dealing with my own stuff I was able to quit blaming her for everything. I actually feel sorry for my mom. She basically raised my brother and I alone long before my Dad was not around. She had so much to balance without a lot of support from her own family or guidance. I always thought I had to lose weight to make her accept me, but I did not really I just had to accept she could not love me enough for myself. I know when I was a kid she did the best she could, she took me to every person she thought would listen, and tried, she was just doing it alone. It's not easy and as an adult I understand this better. These days I could not wish for a better Mom I really couldn't. She can still make me crazy, especially when it comes to food, but we have a dialogue now. We can share and learn from one another. Losing a parent is awful. It's one of the worst things that has ever happened to me, but it also gave me an access to my Mom I would not otherwise have. We pretty much touch on every topic you could imagine. There is nothing I write about here I do not discuss with her, she's not my best friend because we both keep better healthier boundaries but she is one of my biggest fans and advocates. She has undergone her own transformation while I have gone through mine. Asking hard questions, expressing hard truths, and vulnerabilities and I think it has bonded us even further. At the end of the day she tries, and I love her so much for it. If she could not comment when I eat another spoonful of carrot souflee she would be perfect. I have not taken the time to say this and felt I had to.

My Dad, that's a whole other story. I love and loved him, but he's gone and I am left with a lot of questions. On one hand I understand a lot, but now I wonder do I? I know he had a horrible childhood and had very little to no example of how to be a Dad but really? Really? At no point did it occur to him to work on himself and address his pain to be better for himself not just for us? I just do not think he could. There was so much, it would have taken a honesty he did not have. It would have meant to admitting to so much I am just not sure he was capable of. My Dad was very successful. The quintessential self made man, and I admired it so much. I think I walked blindly into those footsteps of working hard and did not really see for a long time that he hid in his success. He was the definition of I am so high functioning I can't be dysfunctional. It did not serve him well, and it might have cost him his life. He had a very high pressure, high stress job, was not in awesome health and on a business trip to Kuala Lampur dropped dead of a heart attack. He was out to dinner with colleagues about to get up to go to the airport and had a massive heart attack. He was 50 years old. So much of his life served as inspiration and warning. Be true to who you are but police it, work hard and you can overcome much, you can be flawed and find love because lordy did my mom love him. They were each others best friend and watching my Mom go through his death still haunts me on occasion. That raw pain and loss still makes me a little bit afraid of love but makes me want it all the same to know what that's like. He leaves a complicated legacy, and I have more feelings now 14 years down the road then I did before. I have these feelings maybe because I have never felt such a physical pain at losing someone in my life, and eventually went numb to it. Much like we did his things, I packed him into a little box and shelved it in my mind saying he's gone what's the point. The point is I am still here, and I was lucky enough to have him for 16 years, but it doesn't mean it didn't have it's consequences.

My parents and my family shares the same sense of humor, love of food, and obsession with dogs, an appreciation of the arts, so many things. We also all fiercely love one another. We accept sometimes we do not understand one another, we also occasionally hurt one another. I know I hurt my brother when I sent a singing hot dog telegram to his office for his birthday, but we can talk about it. I could not talk to my Dad in some ways. You had to talk around his ego, drinking, temper tantrums, his childhood, you could not talk to him about it. I miss him, and trust me I would prefer he was here instead of not but this open policy now feels good. We had to work out how to be a table for 3 instead of for 4, and it took us years. Holidays were a nightmare. We either had people join us who complicated matters, and served as a buffer or we wallowed in our collective sadness. For so long we could not share our pain, our individual pain was too great. The three of us have healed so much and now carry on as three, who never forget the fourth even if there is much we did not understand and never will.


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