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Saying Goodbye, Walking Away

11 months ago

1030 words

Photo: I can’t even believe that picture. I can’t even believe it!! Yes, I did take that picture. With my phone. Yes, that phone! The phone that usually takes blurry pictures!! This is one of those drop-the-mic kind of moments. How the hell will I ever take a better picture than this!? Also, big props to Marney Mae because I’m pretty sure that this beauty comes from one of the seeds she sent us!

 

No school today means two little boys are home all day and I could not be more thrilled. I’ve gotten more work done today than I have since school started! Little boys slept until 9:30, had a long and leisurely breakfast, played very nicely for about two hours and now we’re all outside enjoying the warm air and the unhurried schedule. Wow… what a difference a new schedule can make! Now I remember what it’s like to look forward to school holidays! Now, next week, they’ve got three days off, and I’m not delighted about that. But, actually, it might all work out in my favor because I will likely have to go home to Maryland next week.

My grandmother has been in the hospital since last Wednesday. There is no talk of her being able to go home. While her health isn’t deteriorating anymore, it does not seem to be improving. She is not eating, she is sleeping in fits, she is uncomfortable. All I can do is sit here and go about life, diligently preparing myself for having to go home and possibly say goodbye.

I’m not really sure how to deal with it yet. Matter of fact, I’ve been angry at myself for compartmentalizing it the way that I have. I have reached down and found the numbness, and that seems to work for me. I admit that a bit of alcohol over the weekend has helped with the gauzy non-feeling that I have. The news about my grandmother comes at the same time as another major shift in my life: I have decided to completely sever ties with my father.

Father sent me his obligatory annual text of “Happy Birthday, I love you” last week, and I decided that I’d call him instead of simply being satisfied with it. It was a phone call that featured laughter and pain, a normal thing. He didn’t ask about the boys. Talked about himself and his boys, mostly. He mentioned Christmas a few times. I didn’t think much of it. I felt pretty jazzed about the whole thing after I got off the phone. On Thursday morning, I get an email from him to me and my sister. The subject line: “I’d like to have you guys over for Christmas dinner.” The body: “Is that even possible?”

The answer was no. For many reasons.  Even when we were one big family, we have always spent Christmas with my mother’s side of the family. And as long as my grandmother is still alive, I’ll be with her. That’s just how it is. I offered that we create a new tradition, or pick back up the Christmas Eve lunch tradition we’d had before (he blew me off last year, as some may recall, for nothing more than “I just don’t feel like it this year.”).

The result was a series of emails so belligerent and ridiculous, first to me and then to my sister, that it was made perfectly clear to me that I’ve made a horrible mistake by thinking he could remain in my life. Outside of the pain upon pain he’s caused me for years, I now realize my obligation to keep my two sons completely away from him. This is no longer healthy or acceptable. It never was, really. My sister and I talked for a long, long time on Friday, after another set of emails just a vile as the night before. I’m not sure if she has completely come to the same conclusion I have. She processes differently than I do. I think, though, that she’s going to arrive at the same place I’m in right now.

and so… here I am… Saying goodbye to my grandmother, a beloved mentor and friend, and also walking away from my Father.

So imagine all of that, but then having to get up and look good for church and shake hands and smile and be. And wake up this morning to take care of the children on their day off, offering this, patiently dealing with that, somehow managing to get the systems that keep this house in order working. There is work to be done. Freelancing work, fiction work. #DVPit is on Thursday and I’d really, really like to pitch Meadowlark to agents. Thanks to that editor I hired last month, I have two clean manuscripts that I think are ready to go somewhere. I’m doing my best to follow the advice of a friend and not just throw them up on some self-publishing site. I worked on my pitches a bit this morning. Lord, I hope I can draft a query letter during school time tomorrow.

I happily waved to my neighbor who is mowing his lawn. I’ll give hearty good mornings to the teachers and parents at school drop-off tomorrow. Matter of fact, there is freshly made apple butter from Friday’s field trip in jars ready to be delivered to school while butter and eggs are on the counter warming up for brioche. Two loaves of brioche need to be baked tomorrow morning so that a little boy can take a treat to school for his classmates.

This is how the world functions. You just never know what is happening behind the smile, the small talk, the fleeting moments of interaction with the people around you. So make haste to be kind, be quick to do a loving act. Ease the pains of this crazy world with just a little bit of care. You never know, Dear Reader, how much your little act can do.

It is Monday, and there is so much to do. Stay focused, stay motivated, and we’ll all make it to Friday together.

Until Wednesday, take care.

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10 Replies to “Saying Goodbye, Walking Away”

    1. Thank you! BTW, read your recent post re: hiring editors! Kudos to you!! Hiring my editor for Meadowlark was really illuminating. Learned a lot about my setting and my characters. I didn’t take all of her advice, but I’m glad that she looked at it. I hope you have a great experience as well!

  1. Wow. So much in this one post.
    …The beautiful photo you took (nice going with that Nasturtium!! Keep an eye out for seeds you can save.)
    And are those chestnuts??
    …The anticipitory grief that comes before a loved one dies.
    …The decision to no longer interact with a parent.
    …The writing work.
    it’s so true, we never really know what is going on in people’s lives. I so appreciate that you remember this, acknowledge this, & remind us of this fact.
    “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle”.

    Wishing you a steady ballast during your time with family in Baltimore. Wishing you space & faith in yourself to allow the feelings to touch you.
    Wishing your grandmother a gentle transition & ease through this inevitable journey we are all heading towards.

    Deep bow & warm hearted thoughts to you.

    1. Thank you, dear. I’m always so grateful for your kind words. I think The Husband already got the seeds from one of the nasturtium… hopefully we can get a few from this particularly beautiful one. And yes, those are chestnuts. HORSE chestnuts. My neighbor says they aren’t edible. I told the boys that they should leave them around the yard so the squirrels have something to eat this winter. They were… not keen on this idea. I hope they don’t wipe out my squirrel population! We have a whole family of black squirrels that make me happy!

      I admit to being overwhelmed. It’s Tuesday and I’m not sure I’m going to be ready for #DVPit on Thursday. I’m trying to stay productive instead of stopping in disappointment. But with the freelancing to do, and the mothering to do, and the stress and the worry… Lord.

      I’ve been thinking of you and your art. I hope you are well. This hurricane is coming up the coast. We’re going to get a lot of rain! Did you guys get some this weekend?

      1. yes, we got a bit of rain…
        nice that you will be saving the nuts for the black squirrels! – seems like a fine nut year despite the drought.
        maybe, too, some will be planted and more horse chestnut trees will be seeded! such a beautiful tree.
        overwhelm is such a tempting place to stop. Goodness knows i’ve been in that pickle-place. i’m not sure who said this, but it’s a quote in one of the homes where i clean: “when you are going through hell, keep going.”
        i’m trying to keep this in mind. and i wish you a steadiness within through all that you’ll be doing in the next coming weeks/months/year.
        as for the art – thank you for asking, you are really so thoughtful – i did reach out to a person about a collage i made (which was used as a not-for-profit fundraiser) to see if i could get their permission to print some for profit. and they were open to it!! – i need to send an email now.
        before the end of the week i want to do this.
        yes, hurricane on my mind as well with my parents in Florida… eep.
        and just hearing about the state of Haiti now, it’s like the last thing that country needs… it’s stories like this which illuminates how we are not all working together yet. (*yet*) and it really is heart-crushing.
        thanks for your reply.

  2. Sorry to hear you’re having a rough time of it with your family beyond the immediate household. It takes a lot of courage to cut ties with people who are a toxic presence in your life, especially when they’re relations. I’ve been lucky with my family — they’re a bonkers group of people and sometimes infuriating, but I can’t imagine not wanting them in my life. However, I *have* had friendships that have turned toxic to the point where they were causing more pain than joy, and having to let go of them was both difficult and liberating. So yeah. Wishing you all the best. *hugs*

    1. Thank you, Miriam. Yes, it’s pretty heartwrenching. I’ve had relationships start and end. Some I mourn, some I don’t. I feel like my relationship with my Father has had fits and starts as well, but this time is different. This time was abusive and scary. This time, I have supreme responsibilities. I just can’t do this anymore. I’m struggling with the idea of it, but I think I’m pretty resolved.

      How are you? How’s the weather? A hurricane is coming up the coast over here! Like I needed more things to worry about…

      1. Blue skies all day for me — aside from a chill in the air, you’d hardly know it was October. I’m readjusting to life in Cambridge after seven months at home but I think it’s going okay so far.

        Sending you good vibes for the whole situation.

  3. Sorry to hear about your grandmother and dad. I, too am at a point where I have to cut off my biological father but I haven’t even processed it completely yet…probably like your sister. Keep your peace.

    1. Thank you, Sister. It’s good to hear from you! Are you participating in #DVPit this week?

      Yes, I love this: “Keep your peace.” That’s exactly what I’m doing, though it’s jarring, violent in a way… to cut the thread between father and daughter, it’s sort of a violent thing, isn’t it? But his behavior last week was just beyond the pale. I can’t defend him anymore, I can’t look past him anymore… I have to talk to my pastor on Thursday about the idea of forgiveness within this severance. Is it possible to forgive him, yet never speak to him again? Never expose my children to him? That’s what I’m going to attempt to do.

      It’s a mean world, but there is beauty in it. I keep looking for the beauty. That’s where peace lives.

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