I'm sad today. And usually when I am sad I need to pick up a paint brush and get creating. But today I need to write it out. So much is going on and I just need to try and make some sense of it.
My father in law passed away on March 14 suddenly of a heart attack. He was 67 years old. Funny, as a kid that seems ancient, but now I am 39 years old and I think, that is so young! Too young.
Ron was not a perfect parent. I think if he was to be personified in literature he would be one of those tragic characters, stuck in a loop they are doomed to keep repeating and never really getting the lesson of it right. He had two failed marriages and strained relationships with his children. And yet, on his passing, all his kids are grieving. Because despite everything, he tried. He tried, and he loved people the best he could. And he did better than his own father ever did.
|Grandpa & Gabe, June 2009|
Whenever I posted cute pictures of my kids on Facebook, I did it knowing it would bring a smile to his face. He loved his grand-kids so much. When Gabriel was born, he walked into the room, arms outstretched, and said "Give me the baby!" I always imagined that as the kids got older, they would go spend weekends at Grandpa's house on the island. They would play board games and eat too much sugar and be spoiled rotten. I wanted that for them. I wanted that for me too.
When I made the decision to have kids, I made the decision to cut my parents out of my life. I knew that I never wanted my kids to become embroiled in the endless drama that is my parents. And I knew that I couldn't keep putting my energy into the black hole of my family of origin and be in a good mental place to raise my own children. It wasn't a decision I made lightly, and I have never regretted that choice. I know it was and is the best thing for me and for my family. But it leaves a big hole in my heart. It leaves an ache, an emptiness that nothing can really fill. A longing for a relationship that never was.
So as I grieve the loss of my father in law, the closest thing in my life to a father I had, I also grieve (again) for the loss of my own parents. Not the real parents, the ones I chose to walk away from. But the imagined parents, who retain all the good qualities minus the mental illness, alcoholism and abuse. The parents that exist only in my imagination.
Ron was not perfect, and he drove me completely nuts sometimes. But when I saw his face light up as he gazed at my children, I saw the face of love. And I am so devastated that I will never see that smile again.