Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Resentment and Forgiveness


Today marks the fourth anniversary of my father's death. My sister posts maudlin remembrances of my father on this day, Father's Day, his birthday, every holiday, and sometimes on just a regular day when she sees a movie that reminds her of him. On each of these days, I hesitate, unsure of what to do.  Do I hit like?  That seems weird. I don't like that he died, of course. Do I comment? What do I say?  Anything I say will come off as snarky or insincere. And then I worry that everyone who is friends with both of us will judge me for not reassuring her and that I'm being a bad sister and then I quickly grow resentful. The resentment is a knot in my stomach and it burns with every new post. As my finger hovers over whatever trite bullshit she has posted, I am stuck there, going through the complicated grieving process all over again.

I am resentful that my sister told me via text two days beforehand that my father's ashes would be buried at a cemetery in Indiana. I am resentful that I was not involved in any discussions about when or where this would happen. I'm sure Indiana is a lovely place, but my father had zero connections to the state. And by giving me less than 48 hours notice, it basically ensured I would not be there.  I am resentful because I didn't get any say in the words used on the stone. He did not serve in Vietnam; he served during the same time as the Vietnam War, but not in Vietnam. I would have fought tooth and nail over the word "dad" and insisted on "father." I am resentful that I wasn't even worth a phone call when these decisions were made.

I am resentful that these remembrances are full of revisionist history.  My sister seems to have forgotten the number of times I sat in her room after she made yet another suicidal threat to me because my father had done or said something to her. She seems to have forgotten the nights we went to bed hungry, the nights we went to bed scared, and the endless days when it seemed like nothing we could do would ever be right and his anger would follow us around.

But, today, after she posted a picture of his tombstone for her Facebook profile picture, after I cried a few tears over being a bad daughter and bad sister, after all that, I just let it go.   People grieve differently and if a public show of grief makes her feel better, I must remember that and let her do her own thing.  I will move on.

1 comment:

  1. It's kind of our theme this year... we can't change our relatives, and sometimes we just need to live and let live... or just let go.

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