Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's Hard To Forgive because It's Hard To Forget

It's 11:00 PM. I'm just pulling onto my street after a double shift at my crappy restaurant job when my phone rings. It's my mom. I can barely understand what she's saying because she's crying so hard. I pull into a parking space and shut the car off but don't get out. I try to soothe her, attempting to calm her down enough to at least understand what's going on. Something's happened with my father; that much I can make out. No surprise there.

These particular couple of months during the Spring 2004 was one of the several times my parents had tried to get past my father's drinking and work out their marriage. That night, she had stopped by the house they used to share to talk to him. About what, I'm not sure. That part is still unclear. When my mom walked in, he was there with a woman. My mom immediately started screaming and crying, both at him and the other woman. My father, never one to admit when he's wrong, immediately started making excuses. They never set the boundaries, he said, so he was doing nothing wrong. Of course my mom was irate. A screaming match ensued, and my mom ended up punching a hole right through one of the walls. So my dad, who had always been uncomfortable when confronted, did the only reasonable and logical thing he could think of. He called the police. He told them some unwelcome crazy woman was being physically abusive in his home. My mom, feeling so hurt and betrayed just went outside and cried and cried and cried. She didn't know who she should for help. She ended up calling her father out of sheer desperation. When he heard, my 84 year-old grandfather immediately jumped in the car with my very sick grandmother sitting in the passenger seat, and traveled a 1/2 an hour at night to go rescue his daughter.

My Pepe knew about my father's drinking, but had always believed with all his might that things could be worked out between him and my mother. The events of this night shocked and disappointed him. My amazing, good-hearted, WW II veteran Pepe had been with his wife for 50 years and just couldn't grasp what my father was doing to himself or his family.

A few minutes before they arrived was when my mom called me. She could hardly breathe, let alone talk to tell me what was wrong because she was crying so bad. My heart ached. I was 150 miles away; what could I do? Have you ever had to endure that pain of listening to your own mother cry hysterically like that and ask you why over and over? why would he do this? why was she not good enough for him? why doesn't he love her? I hope you haven't. How do you answer? What can you say? Tricia, she sobbed into the phone, when are you coming home? She needed me, she said. I was her support. I knew I hadn't been there enough lately, but things had seemed to be going well.

I could hear my father yelling something at my Pepe. I couldn't believe he was yelling at him. My blood was boiling and I wished I could hit him. My father was hurting the two people I loved most in this world. I couldn't stand it. What right did he have to do this? How much did we have to take from him? He was so selfish. He didn't care about my mom, my sisters, or my grandparents who've always treated him like a son...he didn't care about me.

Somehow, my level-headed grandfather managed to peel my mother away from the chaos, talk down the police officers and bring her to where she lived.

I did go home the next day. I held my mom's hand and stroked her back while she cried in my lap; both of us had tears streaming down our faces.

Later on that day I made a visit of my own to my father's house. I wouldn't go in to meet him so he came outside. I told him I couldn't believe that he had treated my mother like that. I told him I couldn't stand to be around him. I told him to not ever contact me, to leave me, my mother, my sisters alone my entire family and everyone I loved, ALONE. I didn't want any part of his shit anymore. You are not my father. I did not cry. I told him that I never wanted to talk to him or to hear from him ever again. He was speechless. He just stared at me not saying a word. His face was red and he was breathing heavy, but he didn't say one word. I walked away and I didn't look back. I backed out of the driveway and I could still see him standing outside, watching me as I drove away.

Five years later, with 2 more DUI's, continual drinking binges, countless seizures, 22 months of unemployment, and one unforgiving daughter, he was dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment