My door swung open at 3:00 AM. The light in the hallway was as intense like the sun was burning through my doorway. In my sleepy bewilderment I realized that it was my dad who had opened the door.
Only two hours before I had picked him up off of the floor, and he asked my mom, “Now, who was that?”. I shrugged the question off because the room was dark and maybe he thought I was some sort of angelic hero who had swooped in to save the day….that would make sense, right?
“Daddy, can I help you with something?”
“Yeah……Where is my room?”
“It’s behind you.”
“Oh! Okay! Thanks!”
He struggled for about 30 seconds to close the door and shuffled away. I thought about the chance of him falling, the chance of him thinking he was in his bathroom and peeing on the floor, about how I should probably get up and make sure he made it back to the couch okay. Then I heard him swear (he swears a lot). I got up and found his room dark so I headed down the hall. He was almost to the garage door.
“Daddy, do you need help?” I whisper-yelled. He didn’t have his hearing aid in…. he only has one. About 6 months ago we splurged on some hearing aids and teeth– two things that he desperately needed. Only one hearing aid remains. They aren’t even paid for, but one has already bit the dust. *The dog ate it*. I have no evidence, but I’d venture to guess that the dog is innocent in this incident. Anyway…the whisper-yell was my feeble attempt to let everyone else in the house sleep through the night.
“Yeah…” He shuffled over to me. He was smiling and quite amused with himself. “Who’s house are we in?”
“Well…. Where is my room?”
“It’s down the hall, Daddy. But you and Mommy are sleeping in the living room tonight. You’re getting a new bed tomorrow.”
“Oh. Where is the living room?”
“Right this way, Daddy”
We walked together to the living room. He got settled in on the couch. “Where is Violet?” At least he remembered Violet.
“She’s in bed, Daddy. It’s the middle of the night”.
“Oh, okay. Good! I saw that red- headed girl in there. You know, the one with the mermaid tail.” He chuckled to himself as I made my way back down the hall to my room.
I laid in bed for the rest of the night listening for him to get up again. It reminded me of the first few months of Violets life when I laid awake watching her sleep…to make sure she was still breathing. This would be what they mean when they say “Sandwich Generation”.
I have started to write several posts in the past few months. Each and every one of them turned into an angry rant. “Peace” is in the title of my Blog….so I didn’t want to post a conflicting idea. How can *peace* and *anger* co-exist? A friend recently reminded me that anger is real, and as such it is a real struggle for everyone. Perhaps it’s more important for me to be real, than to always try to portray a peaceful front even when I’m not feeling it. Of course peace is always my goal. Right now I’m angry, sad, unsettled…even a little depressed.
I never wanted to do this alone. I dreamed of getting married and having kids and growing old with the father of my children for my whole life. I tried my absolute best. I didn’t deserve to be lied to and cheated on. I didn’t deserve the emotional and verbal abuse that haunts me to this day. I don’t give a shit that my ex-husbands girlfriend isn’t comfortable around me to the point where she can’t even freaking look me in the eye. I wouldn’t be able to look me in the eye either if I were her, but I’ll never be her because I have at least an ounce of decency and would never do the things that those two have done together. I can’t stand the fact that some of his family would rather I stay away so that they can avoid facing the reality of the way in which my whole life, family and existence was torn to shreds. For so much of this time I’ve been focusing on why my life is better now, that I didn’t let myself go through this stage. Inevitably now, I’m there. I’m angry. It’s extremely annoying, mostly because I feel like I took five steps forward and fifteen steps back.
I started this post with the story about my aging father. I’ve always known that a time like this would come. I always knew it wouldn’t be easy. I always thought I’d have a partner to support me through it. I don’t, it turns out my partner was crap.
Yes: I know that I have a support system (an amazing one, at that)
Yes: My mom is here with me (let’s not forget that this is a struggle of a whole different kind for her. She needs my support, more that I need hers)
Yes: I have a healthy, happy, gloriously amazing daughter. I am eternally thankful for her and will always put on a happy face for her (which includes not allowing her to witness my anger towards her father)
Yes: I have a whole lot going for me
No: I do not plan on dwelling on these emotions. I will overcome this. I am strong and deserving of a real relationship with a man who deserves my best.
If this post serves any purpose it would be to offer advice for anyone helping a friend or loved one through a time like this. Pointing out why I shouldn’t be sad is going to do the opposite of help.
“But Tori, you have a lot of people who love you, you have a lot going for you. You aren’t in an abusive situation anymore”. Great, now I feel guilty that I feel sad and angry on top of feeling sad and angry. That’s helpful.
Validate. Agree. Empathize. Offer to go punch a heavy bag with me and we can pretend it’s a few choice people because that’s the closest I’ll ever get to being violent. But please, for the love of God, don’t tell me that I shouldn’t feel this way because I absolutely should.
Oh, and one last thing: it’s not often that Vi will sit on Pop-Pop’s lap…but I got a split second out of her…and the pure joy on Pop-Pop’s face is enough to warm anyone’s heart.