You’d think that the news of my father’s death would be one of those hugely traumatic things that leaves an indelible mark on my psyche. And, in a way, you’d be right. This is me: I’m marked. But not by his death, which was a long time coming and not exactly unexpected.
Here’s what’s good about my dad being dead:
- I don’t need to worry that he is going to show up anywhere that I am
- He isn’t going to demand to meet his grandson
- There is no chance that he will find my number and call to manipulate me into doing things for him or giving him money
- He will not find me on the internet and say cruel things on my websites, or try to discredit me in any way
- I can finally get around to some serious grieving
Because, see, my grief process has been on hold for the past…however many years (10? 20? Longer? I mean, we can date it from when I cut off all contact with him , or from when I had enough and ran away from home when I was almost 13 , or we can count it from the first time he hit me and made me feel bad about myself, and who knows when that was). I haven’t let myself access any of the good memories I have of my father, because if I did I’d leave myself open to another one of his attacks. I’d be, in the parlance of sleazy lawyers everywhere, asking for it.
Here’s what sucks about my dad being dead:
- He still gets the last word: my sister and I have to pony up for his cremation expenses, which I can’t help but feel he would have deliberately pre-arranged if he could as a last “fuck you” to his daughters
- Finding someone who will cremate a 400 lb man is somewhat challenging
- And now I have to figure out what to do with all the crap he left in the motel room he’s been living in for the past 6 or 7 years, which, if any of his past residences were any indication, is probably a pit of garbage, rotting food, and computer parts
Notice that none of the negatives include “his being dead.” One could argue that being bedridden and alone in a cheap motel room for several years, with his only human contact coming from a state-mandated caregiver, was a terrible way to live, so his death must have come as a relief to him. One could argue that, but I won’t. His death is a relief to me.
Maybe I sound ice-maiden like, which would just figure, since I feel raw and unfettered for the first time, oh, ever. I could be pedantic and list all the things he did to make things the way they are, and follow them with an even longer list of reasons why I’m justified in feeling however I feel. But what would be the point of that?
I’m sad, but I’m not sad that he’s dead. I’m sad because he’s dead; because I can finally let myself love him without him hurting me.