Right now...I feel like I'm covered in them. The usual array that show up here and there because I'm clumsy, a deep deep one just below my elbow (makes doing common things challenging), and a fresh one in the webbing between my thumb and forefinger on the same arm as the elbow bruise. A beaten and battered heart that is taking a lot longer to heal up.
So. This time last year my father passed away. I didn't announce it to many people, even though I shared the funeral details on social media...most people didn't connect that the person was my own dad. A little over a month ago my old boss and mentor passed away, unexpectedly to me. I hadn't seen him in quite a while and didn't know if his illnesses had progressed. Most recently my former father in law. He was in my life for the last 17 years. Ex left the state about 4 years ago, that left me to bring the Girl to see her grandparents and make sure she spent time with them. A one hour drive one way, just about every time. Every single time I went he made me sit down and chat for at least an hour. Plenty of times I tried to get out of the house, especially in the beginning because I wasn't sure if it was appropriate for me to be there more than a few polite minutes. He never made me feel unwelcome. He never treated me differently. They welcomed my new husband into their home when we'd go to drop off or pick up the Girl. As his health declined this year we spent more and more time there. There were weekends that I sent the Girl because I wanted her there helping and spending time with them. We didn't know how long he really had, he was at the mercy of the doctors care and treatment.
There was a point during that 11 year marriage where I was closer to his parents than my own. We even lived with them briefly before I joined up. He passed exactly a year from my own fathers passing. There was no service, per his own request, I didn't get to see him or say goodbye. Ex came down to see about his mom and be with his step brothers. We were quite civil in spite of just having gone through yet another hearing officers conference. My heart did go out to him, this man was the one who showed him what a father could and should do for his children. (a lesson seemingly lost on him) I sent the Girl to spend time with her father and her grandmother, she needed them as much as they needed her.
And then he went home.
He got to leave back to his place 4 states away, back to his life. His mother moved here to my town to be closer to her family members. I hugged and hugged my Girl...she was so sad.
And then I got angry.
After my initial shock and tears....the anger set in fast and hot. My daughter and I were the ones here, taking time out, going to see them. She cut their lawn, helped her grandmother clean, helped her move small furniture so he could get around easier. I didn't wait for anyone to call and request her, I made those decisions. I looked up symptoms on line while they talked on the phone to help ease fears. I saw him almost every single month this year. HE saw him twice. He drove in, cleaned his mothers house, made his rounds, and left. Made his demands of his child..."I'll be back in x # of months...I WANT her with me". Fine, come pick her up, whatever you need to do.
For 17 years I've had two men who impacted my life. Now they are gone.
I'm angry at my ex for leaving and putting a permanent rip in one of those relationships. I'm angry at him for being so dishonest with them that they were completely unaware of his indiscretions and believe him to be a victim. I'm angry at him for swooping in, saving the day, and leaving a mess for me to pick up. It wasn't him that settled that little girls heart. It isn't him that's driving her to the other neighborhood, being modest and polite to his uncle and aunt while dropping her off. It isn't him seeing his mothers face light up when her granddaughter walks into the room because she's so scared and devastated.
I know I probably don't have a right to be angry. No, he wasn't my dad or father. He stopped being my father in law on January 26, 2011. But I never stopped loving him, I never stopped talking to him or laughing with him, or asking him questions. I will exercise my right to mourn.
All the while He will use this as an excuse to get me back for the hearing. He will send his child support as late as humanly possible or not at all. The drive down and then the flight back for the holiday will wipe him out. He will feign concern for his daughter for a week or two and then the calls will drop off again like they always do. And we will be here...right where he left them and us.