Tuesday, February 28
My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.
The Truth the Dead Know ~Anne Sexton
There was a time when my father had an opportunity to repair some of the damage that he had (unknowingly) done in my childhood. I think that he truly didn't understand the depth of my hurt. That by leaving when I was young he gave me a lifetime fear of abandonment... and a feeling that I wasn't worth staying for. Something deep and painful that still raises its head from time to time. And he could have repaired it all.
Maybe he still can? Who knows?
Maybe there is still time. I seriously doubt that his heart has the epuipment necessary to undertake such a self-sacrificing endeavor.
It's simply about 'listening, validating'... asking for forgiveness for things too numerous to fit on any list. Mostly it's just that a girl needs to realize that, although she's sure that her father went day-to-day without so much as a thought about her, that he had a new family and new children to care for, that he did think of her. Maybe he just did not know what to say?
Perhaps he was even a little afraid of her... to admit what damage he may have done to her? That damage he saw in her whenever they met, over a long weekend or a couple of weeks every other summer. He must surely have seen it in her face. Some lack of trust she had of him, some part of her that could never quite let go of her fear of him? Did he notice her at all? That his careless words could strike her silent with their gentle cruelty?
That she stood back and watched him as he took care of his children in ways that she had never known him to care for her? She knew that he couldn't really see her, feel her presence. She was a spectre moving amongst his happy family, a reminder of his rejected life, the one he wanted to cast far from himself, and with that life went a little girl. One who loved him desperately.
And she knew he loved her - just not in any way that was desperate or protective - or he never would have left her to fend for herself.
**This post is about emotional abandonment.
I'm sure I don't have to say that, but I feel compelled to say it.
A parent doesn't have to physically abandon their child to damage them.
It is truly a matter of perception. A child's perception.
The only one that matters.