With my parents, I find it hard to know how to feel about them.
Emotions and drives, like love and loyalty, never seem clear and obvious where Mum and Dad are concerned. There’s no clear sense of sympathy or empathy with their memories. With Mum, I have seen her as a victim of depression, genetics, bad medicine, and maybe a lack of self-worth. With Dad, it was too much ego, shame, and a need to be the boss – the need to be in the right – the household authority.
Both of them felt the pain of losing people they’d loved, and neither of them relied on the other for support (at least not that I ever saw). They each used alcohol to self-medicate, for years.
All this tolls up to what looked like hard, unhappy lives, with little personal forgiveness, and lots of stored guilt and unresolved anger.
And so, almost thirty years after Dad’s painful passing, and over 25 years after Mum’s final release from her pain, I am having trouble remembering them that well. Their voices are like faint whispers, third-hand stories or rumours, and it takes effort to convince myself that it all really happened.
My storytelling of them is the only thing keeping their ghosts active. I think that the less I use it, the more I lose it.
That’s a bit scary, but relationships are not supposed to be eternal. They mostly expire and fade away, along with the leaving of their human hosts.