I think I may have gotten my wrinkled old butt into trouble with my daughters. Why? you ask. Because I told them the truth and haven't received a comment from any of them. It was one of the truths about the ending of my marriage to their Father. This cannot be easy for any child to hear, especially when they adore him to this day, long after his, way too early, death.
It wasn't easy for me to reveal but I felt, as adults, they should hear my side of the story. Was I wrong? I don't know. I do know that I feel better for getting it off my chest. Don't get me wrong, he was not a horrible person, he was, in fact, very well liked by friends, family, the people who worked for him and, he was a wonderful Dad to our four kids, loving them with his whole heart and soul. For various reasons, it was the union between the two of us that had to end. I knew this in the very early years but hung on, trying in every way I could, to make it last forever, but after nearly twenty years I couldn't hang on any longer and let go of the rope.
My own Father committed suicide when I was six years old, leaving some of my siblings, and other family members, wondering..why? As very young children, we wanted him to be a hero, even to this day, but it simply is not the truth. He was a very sick man, most likely with a mental illness, who used my Mother as a punching bag to release the demons within himself. I had witnessed this myself on more than one occasion during those first six years.
My Mom never talked about it in all my growing-up years. She simply left the past in the past. Then, in my fiftieth year, when she was in Hospice care, nearing her death, she took me aside, telling me she wanted me to know the truth. As she sat in her rocker, gently moving back and forth, she told me the story of the days before my Father's death and the years of mental and physical abuse to her and my oldest siblings. It was not easy for her to tell, nor was it easy to hear, but my heart filled with more love and respect for her than I could have ever imagined. She had put aside her hurt and anger at my Father to concentrate on her kids, knowing that speaking ill of him would not contribute to a heathy upbringing for us. I felt relief at knowing the truth. It answered life-long, nagging questions and has made me even more aware of the imperfections of man and that the only way to peace is forgiveness. I believe Mom forgave my Father on that day or at least, I have the hope that she did, just as I hope my kids will forgive me for "giving up" and not staying with the Father they all loved so much and still do. I too, still love him in my own way, on a soul level. Indeed, truth is troubling.