For almost a year after my father killed himself, images repeatedly flashed in my head of myself pointing a pistol at my temple. They're back. My father's weapon of choice was a shotgun. I guess my brain can't wrap itself around that vision. After all, I have long legs, but short arms. I could have shot myself with my feet, maybe, but toe dexterity would have probably been insufficient to the task.
I don't find the images as disturbing as I once did, but I'm cataloging the advent of the ten year anniversary of his death. So here it is.
I've been struggling to find some good memories, something positive in our relationship. It seems more critical this year than any other. I always come up empty. My therapist wonders why it's so important to me, why I'm so queasy about admitting to the "hate" part of my love-hate feelings about him. The answer is simple: I wish there were something positive, I long for the simplicity of love without dire complexity.
I have compassion for him, forgiveness in some large measure, I pity him for his desperate childhood and his desolate mental illnesses. But then I have those flashbacks and all I can feel is rage, contempt and despair. How might my life have been had his been different?
It would certainly have been less labyrinthine. I have the ability to see every side to every issue, to find goodness in people when it's buried under layer upon layer of hatred and anger. These are good things, right? On the whole, I think they are, but they leave me perpetually sitting on the fence, unable to find clarity about people and events. It's all complicated to me.
And I'm a very complex, very hidden person. If you don't know the events that shaped me, how can you understand my beliefs and behavior? How can you understand my choice of solitude at all costs? I choose to keep my secrets. They're fantastical. They're incomprehensible. They're an open invitation to judge me and where I came from. They make me very lonely.