Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dad and things

This post needs to be written but it's going to take me time. I am so frustrated, angry, bitter, and a whole host of other negative emotions that I'm having a hard time expressing them. I apologize in advance if this post rambles and isn't terribly cohesive. I NEED to write this, to get it out of my head, and that means just letting it flow.
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Dad called me a few weeks ago and said "You'll never guess who I ran into at the store the other day!" and no, dad, I wouldn't dare guess. You know every one in the freaking town and half the people in the next, I swear, so it would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Apparently he ran in to M, a woman that my parents have been friends with for about 25 years, give or take a few. She gave him her number - omgs! I told him he should call her, hang out. I mean, they've been friends for a LONG time, but ever since she remarried many moons ago (and is now divorced) and moved to a different town, they haven't spent much time together. Saw each other at church and whatnot, but not much beyond that. Anyhow, I jokingly told dad that maybe he should date M...and apparently he took me seriously. Except that, you know, dad doesn't date...so he has a not-a-girlfriend again. He's spending a LOT of time with her, from what I can tell. He no longer has a dog that he has to go home and take care of, so I'd be curious to know how much time he's actually spending at home. I can't and won't ask that, though. Not my business, do not really want to know.

The 4th anniversary of mom's death is coming up in less than 2 weeks. I am feeling more upset this year than in past years and I think it has to do with this: Dad is bring M up that day to put flowers on mom's grave. Yeah. It feels tactless and insensitive and rude and...I have no words to really describe how I feel. I shake with rage and frustration just thinking about it. Yes, I know, M was mom's friend too. M says she wants to see where mom was buried and see me. She's had 4 YEARS to find out where mom was buried. My parents' phone number hasn't changed in 31 years, so it's not hard to reach dad. She could go to the church and ask some people how to get in contact with dad - someone has to know. She could have paid attention to the funeral service handout thing, whatever you call it, that said that mom was being interred at the Idaho Veteran's Cemetery, and then used their machine to find out exactly what plot and how to find it. There are lots of ways, but it's not until now that she's showing any interest. And dad? Dad just assumed that it's perfectly fine with me if he shows up on my doorstep on that day with M in tow and we can load up the baby and all merrily go out to the cemetery together. Did he ask me if it was okay with me? Did he take my feelings about mom into account, and the fact that this is a hard day for me too? Nope. He just assumed. I realize that having M there might make his grief a little easier, and that's great. Go. Have fun. But to decide that I need to go with? Not so much.

This is a day where I am raw to the core and the LAST thing I need is to have to play pleasant hostess to someone I haven't seen since I was living at home, probably, with the exception of mom's funeral. This is a day where I hide, rarely answer my phone, stay away from most parts of the internet (like my email, because there will be one from my uncle, dumping his grief on us...and now that he's on FB, I stay away from there too), sit and play video games all day until Aaron gets home and we can watch V for Vendetta. I go to the cemetery of my own volition, if I feel I can handle it. This is not a day for me to interact with other people, not yet. I am going to have to go to my classes, but that's it. None of those people know me, so it's fairly safe I think.

I just...I find it insensitive of dad not to at least ASK, but to tell me "We'll be there at 9am". Then he changed it to 10, and I had to remind him (again) that I have a kid who needs to be at daycare by noon and I have classes that day so if he wants me to go with them, they've got to be here as early as they can. I think I hurt his feelings by telling him they could go without me, so then I had to say "it's not that I don't want to go with (I don't) but I don't want my classes to be an issue" and he's all "I don't want you to miss your classes" and blah. We do not know how to interact with each other...and M wants to talk to me about dad and ask general questions? Yeah, I don't have the answers to anything, lady. His co-workers probably know him better than I do. Aaron says he understands where I am coming from but he also thinks I'm wrong - which is fine, since I asked him for an honest answer and he took the time to think about it first. I can see how he thinks I'm wrong and that's fine too. I could just scream, I am so frustrated and angry with dad. Will he ever see me as an adult with a life to take into consideration, instead of a child to be told what to do and expected to obey? No, I will not stand up to my father and say "Dad, no, I do not want you to bring M and I do not want to go to the cemetery with you because I don't know how to handle your grief". I was taught better than that.

6 comments:

Paul said...

That's a mess. I don't think there is a right answer here, so I'm sorry I don't have anything to offer.

But I'm listening and I care.

sharah said...

I think it's interesting that you say you were taught "better than that." I would suggest that you were taught "different" from that. You are one-half of your relationship with your father, and you have every bit as much a right to your grief as he does.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

It is a mess and your feeling have to be considered in here too. Is there any way to phrase it as a want vs. a don't want? Would that be more palatable? Asking your dad if you could meet up with M on a different day because you really want to be focused on her and on getting to know her and that isn't the best day to do that. Suggesting that it is just the two of you that day with meeting M a few days later?

Perhaps not possible, and I'm holding you in my heart as you navigate the anniversary.

atiggerslife said...

@Lollipop: I wish, but they live 150+ miles away. Seeing her another day simply isn't an option, and even less so considering that I rarely (if ever) go down there. It's hard for us to get the time, given work/school schedules. It's definitely a "suck it up, buttercup" deal, but I am completely not happy about it (as you can see).

@Shara, interesting thought and one to be mulled over. It is still not in my personality to stand up to my dad very well - some things, yes, but more often than not it's simply easier to go along with him. He's a martyr-personality type and I...I don't want to alienate him. The man can hold a grudge like no one else and I can't risk it.

@Paul, thank you for simply commenting. Comments are hugs, as Lollipop will tell you, and I can always use more hugs.

Anonymous said...

4 years is too long to grieve to the point of barely being able to function. And after 4 years your father has a right to move on and date(or not date) as he chooses. If he wants to share a special day of significance with someone special to him then I say more power to him. Its not like she just passed away or even a year or two later.

I'm not sure if you're in therapy or not for this issue, but if after 4 years you're still so upset by the loss of your mother...you really should seek help. Surely your mother wouldn't want you to break down into a complete mess thinking of her.

-michelle

areyoukiddingme said...

Here from LFCA....

We went through a little of this when my mom started dating after my dad died. It's difficult to integrate new people into your family structure - don't feel bad about that. It must be even more difficult to do so when the person is someone you've known in another context. But, for now, she's here, so you are kind of stuck with sucking it up.

I wouldn't project any bad feelings onto M about wanting to see you again and to see your mom's resting place. 4 years ago, I would guess her interest was different because she had a different role in relation to your family. Now, it would seem that she's trying to get a better understanding - you might see it as trying to ingratiate herself, and you might be right, but try to put the best spin on it. You don't know how long she'll be in the picture. Speaking from experience, if someone hangs around long enough, you are just happy to have them available to keep your parent busy and out of your hair. :)

Most of all, keep in mind that your dad probably considers himself the most affected by your mom's death. Sure, it's your mom, but you're an adult with your own family...the ties were not so close as they would have been if you were still a little girl. He lost his life partner. <- That's probably how he's thinking of the situation.

And there is another option for the visit - you don't have to go to the cemetery with them. You can say "I wish I had the time to go with you. I don't want you to have to get here at 7 am just to accommodate my schedule. Let's meet for coffee or early lunch, so I can see you. But I'll have to go to the cemetery on my own. I only have the morning, and I don't want you to have to get up at the crack of dawn and drive when you're not awake yet." Or maybe defer it to the weekend, when you have more time (and the actual date has less meaning and you might feel stronger.) Also, kids are excellent excuse generators - it's too cold, that's nap time, oops - someone has a little cold coming on, don't want to be out and about. So, I think you should put aside your manners and work out some compromise that doesn't make you feel resentful. Sure, he's your dad, but you have to take care of yourself too. Much luck. And I'm sorry for your loss.

While I don't agree with Commenter Michelle's delivery, I do agree that maybe a grief group could help. It would at least give you another space to vent about your dad, and it would probably be to people who can identify with what you're experiencing. However, most of the groups seem to be composed of people who have lost spouses, so vet carefully.