Friday, January 26, 2007
When I was in the 4th grade, I didn't want anyone to know my parents were divorced. My mom and dad split when I was a baby, and Mom re-married when I was 6. Even though I didn't like my stepfather, I wanted everyone to think he was my real dad.
I had vague knowledge of my real father's mental illness. As I grew older, I just wanted him out of my life. I started using my stepfather's last name in school, a legal fiction to further serve my goal. When I was 11, I was officially adopted. I remember the tension in the room as my real father signed the papers. All the child-support he owed - thousands of dollars - disappeared with his signature.
As my teen years ensued, I wanted him out of my life more intensely. Dad would call, and I'd have my mother tell him I was out. I dreaded speaking to him. I cut his side of the family out, and my grandmother fell victim to this schism. She loved me so much, and took care of me as a child. My wonderful aunt and uncle, my fabulous cousins. I removed them so I could feel whole.
When I was 16, I started letting my father back in. As I matured, I could start forgiving. This is a work in progress. Now that I am a parent, I can heal and forgive a little more. And the same goes for my stepfather, whom I loathed. I grieve for my grandmother - I was starting my tikkun with her when she died.
She'll never know my sorrow.