I do not shrink from her pain

Will she dump me, too?

This to me from my elderly and infirm mother who is realizing that my sister has actually dumped me from her life, the way our father did to each of us, the way he did to my sister 12 months ago as he lay dying, and 6 years ago and 16 years ago and 26 years ago.  And forever ago.  Again and again.

My response to Mom seemed right as I said it, but wrong just after I spoke:  Of course not!  She adores you!

Oh.  She adored me, too.  How do I comfort my aged mother?  How do I assure her she is loved by all the children?  How do I help her hold this pain?  I cannot do anything.  It is not in my power except to continue as I have with Mom, she knowing I am with her always.

So, I stand strong with my mother as she reels in the knowledge that my sister has done to me what father did to daughter.  That sister could also do that to Mom.  I deal with her pain, not the one who is causing the upset.  I will not leave her alone to fear quietly.

My father caused terrible pain, the worst kind in his children.  If I start from the end, perhaps you will understand that he died the way he lived:  when his (6th) wife wrote and published his obituary, there was no mention of the children.  We did not exist to him.  We were disposable to him.

I am not disposable, despite being tacitly taught to believe I was.   My sister and brother were also shown that they were disposable.   My father showed our mother that she was disposable.  Can you imagine the strength it has taken to dash aside those lightning bolts of pain and doubt and to settle into knowing that there are people who are constants, who don’t have in their repertoire the ease of leaving, of disposing?

When my father died last February, I had been estranged from him for almost 20 years.  I left him because his behavior became ever more egregious to the people he purported to love.  That was not love; that was pain embodied in a genetic father.

The father of my childhood was nothing like the father of my late teens and beyond.  He loved me, clearly adored me, and always encouraged me.  OK, there was that one time in 1972 when I was leaving the house in holey bell-bottoms with the peace, love, and beansprouts patch (War is not healthy for children and other living things).  He told me I wasn’t leaving the house like that!  Um, yes I am.  See ya.

The father of my childhood did not show me that he had leaving in his repertoire.  I’m relieved I did not understand how he came to be married to my mother, how he left his first wife and infant daughter and moved on.

Then, he did it to our family.  Left.  Began a string of marriages that ended with a 6th wife.  Kidnapped my sister from us, leaving teenage me with the blame through his adult machinations.

I swam for years through the fog of the disaster he left behind.  Not well.  Always painfully.  But I came through it, strong and sure about how to love.  Leaving is an option of last resort, of such dire seriousness that it is simply not an option, even during anger, hurt feelings, and bitter argument.

My sister has not reached the same conclusion I have.  She lived with my father and was taught that leaving is always on the table.  And why shouldn’t she believe that?  He left her over and over.  When he kidnapped her, he caused a leaving from her mother, sister, and brother.  It must have been, and continue to be, excruciating truth, the depths of which I never comprehended.

I am finished with my father’s legacy in whatever forms it takes.  Done.

I hope for her a healing of the tissue-deep damage his example showed.   I hope for a healing for anyone who has been left holding the emotional bag.  I hope for the courage to put that bag down after coming to peace, leave it in unclaimed luggage, and never open it again.

You are loved.  See it.  Know it.  You are not disposable.

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 11:03:15

    Wow, what a post, Laurel. Thank you for these essential reminders. And, gosh, I wouldn’t have even thought how a kidnapping could become an ultimate “leaving”–but how true. It’s a profound truth–and one that deserves much more thought on my part!
    Thanks, my friend.


    • lahgitana
      Jan 26, 2012 @ 12:37:01

      Thank you, Kathy. The writing and posting became a necessary catharsis. I’m very happy to have you here with me!

      It’s too easy to assume since there was no bleeding from every pore that no damage was done. It’s those invisible hurts, isn’t it?


  2. nadbugs
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 13:18:03

    I see this as a companion post to your exciting one about Italy. There it’s about you stepping into your “done-ness.” I am happy for you. And this one is about the background — which makes the “done-ness” ripe and full. I like what a friend of mine said recently about yin and yang: If it’s got a big front, it’s bound to have a big back. Back: Get thee behind. Now: Front and center. Forward! Yay.


    • lahgitana
      Jan 26, 2012 @ 13:58:15


      I’ve got a HUGE behind! hahahahhaaha!!!

      So well said, Bean–I hadn’t thought of my done-ness relating to the freedoms I indulge in, but of course it’s true, because I’ve made room in my life for what I want.

      I’m happy I had the courage to hit the Publish button. Usually, as my brother says, I play my cards close to my chest, but this time I let ‘er fly, names and all.

      Another front-and-center-and-forward is about a woman I met today who, as a president of a local business district, was keen to know me as an artist!!! I’ll have to post separately about that.

      Thank you, Bean. Your perspective means a lot. I feel your support. –L.


  3. Trackback: I have a big behind! « Rockin' the Purple!
  4. heretherebespiders
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 14:51:02

    Hi hon, I’m coming in late but I had to step away from the net for a bit. I’m upset on your and your mother’s behalf, I have to say. How could anyone decide to leave such wonderful people behind? It seems your dad warped your sister into his mindset, where these things become easy and ‘normal’ actions. They aren’t. We know this, and I think you are afraid that your sister will do the same thing to your mother. She might…and you’ll be the one having to try to make it better. That is so hard, I’m sorry it falls on you. But you are the one who truly knows how it feels and what it means, and if that day comes trust that you are also the one who WILL make it better. Big hugs, L :)


    • lahgitana
      Jan 26, 2012 @ 15:25:11

      Aw, sweetie. It IS upsetting. (I hope you stepped away from the net for other reasons!) No matter what happens next, I will stand firm for my mother, for whatever is left of our little family.

      You are right–we do know the difference and must stand firm in that knowledge.

      My father was very troubled, it turns out, and had a limited social repertoire, which caused all kinds of chaos in many lives. That’s the part we don’t understand at the time–just how many people get hurt….

      My old friend, my college roommate, commented that I have been trying to fix this mess for over 40 years and as far as she could see, none of it was my fault. (My sister dumped me almost 6 months ago and I have been circumspect because my mother subscribes to my blog. Why in hell would I want her to know of this painful stuff? I knew the truth would come out, but not from me, and it has.)

      Thank you, Spiders, for telling me how this affected YOU. These things have ripple effects we can’t even imagine! Hugs right back to you, E-Spiders!


      • heretherebespiders
        Jan 26, 2012 @ 15:50:23

        We all lead interesting lives, otherwise blogging wouldn’t exist…some days it is fun happy things and some days it is terrible painful things. I’m so proud of you for being able to share this part of your life. I adore you, and I already know you are your mother’s daughter so I adore her as well. How could I not? The idea that you have been trying to fix things that were never your error to begin with just confirms my good opinion of you both. BTW I told my dad about my blog, and I know he’s a nosy feicer so I’m sure he reads it, and even finds even my comments and pretends he doesn’t. I’ll play along, but same as you, I try to be a bit circumspect at times. I know you’ll be okay, because you are you and you are brilliant :)


  5. lahgitana
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 17:13:54

    Oh Spiders. This is the bonus, the good stuff that comes from sharing myself. Thank you for your loving comments–being honest isn’t always easy and it can certainly feel risky, but hell look at the fuzzyfloofy net surrounding me right now after I took the risk!! And, I get to be a part of it!

    It’s so true that we do lead interesting lives full of details and that in blogging we have found people who also want to tell their truth while they listen to ours. How wonderful is that?!

    Yes, I’m fine and will be fine.

    You called your dad a feicer! Bad Spiders! hahahhahhahaa! (Hi Spiders’ Dad! We adore her!)


  6. JustI
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 18:59:26

    Oh Lahgitana, how straight from the heart your post is. I have so many thoughts bombarding me, I find it difficult to reply. You are a brave and strong person to step outside of your past and reflect on transgressions that I’m sure have impacted your life. I have to think on your post, but know that I respect and support your bravery and strength. I am touched by your sharing, as difficult or cathartic as it may be for you.


    • lahgitana
      Jan 26, 2012 @ 19:44:24

      Thank you so much for commenting, JustI. I know it’s rather fraught! Yes, have to face the past to be able to put it behind me. Gotta face everything that comes, figure it out some way, and file it in the Old News file.

      I hope if you have other thoughts that you will drop a note. My situation is not uncommon; it’s just that usually there’s no reason to dredge up the past. I have to tell you that my brother actually phoned to be sure I was OK because I let ‘er rip here and he’s used to me being more circumspect (=private). Hell, I have nothing to hide and freedom comes with the acceptance of what is and joy comes from the people who show they care. Like you. Thank you.


  7. JustI
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 10:52:05

    Lahgitana, I left a post for you on my blog: http://justussociety.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/it-was-never-about-you/


  8. Dorcas
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 17:31:54

    Dear friend. Speaking your truth is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. Coming from a place of love it can heal our own hurts and help us move on. Your post reminds me that everyone’s life holds complexity and stories that help us grow and learn from each other. Thanks for giving such a wonderful example of a big heart.


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