I had been asleep only four hours when I woke up crying. A dream. I was at some kind of family gathering, a reunion, perhaps. I was stocking some refreshments, but I was being paid to work at this place. (I haven’t done that kind of work in 20 years). From my peripheral vision, i saw a man walk in, and something compelled me to take a good look at him. It was my father. My dead father. No, it was my brother, who looked just like him, now. I hadn’t seen my brother in something like 13 years. He had changed. He now looked like my father. I turned away swiftly, not wanting him to see me. Not wanting the emotional confrontation that would be inevitable. What was he doing here? Tears began to stream down my face, and I continued to hide from my brother, hoping he wouldn’t recognize me. Even though i wanted to pretend he was my father, and I would have the chance to say goodbye.
My family took that away from me when he died last January, and i found out 13 days after the fact, from (of all places) friends of friends on Facebook. To add insult to injury, they left me out of the obit too. I wrote about this in Surviving Family Member.
Whatever it was that made my family hate me, is still a mystery. I spent half my adult life trying to win their approval and love, until I finally had to just give that up and get on with my life. Perhaps that’s why I spent the last ten years trying to become the most quality person I could be. I needed to know for sure that there was no reason for them to have made me the pariah, the outcast, the black sheep. No reason other than their own selfishness and ignorance. And I’m sure it’s why the thought of growing old without enough friends and a partner is so sad and frightening to me. If I don’t have many friends and a partner who loves me sincerely, and chooses to be with me, it becomes pejorative commentary on my value as a human being.
So again, I take a deep breath, tell myself I matter, wipe the tears away, and make coffee.