After The Split…
It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride. – John Ruskin
I met David the Christmas after I turned 16. He told me he loved me on about our third date. I called him a liar. I said, “You only think you’re in love. Love isn’t real.” He responded, “I’ll prove to you that it is.”
By the time I met David, my life had been shattered. I no longer believed love was a real thing. How could it be if people could fall in and out of it? And if it was real but didn’t last then why would I want anything to do with it? I never wanted to feel like I had been left behind again. By the age of 16 I had perfected building walls.
Somehow, against the odds, David convinced me that love was a real thing, and that it really could last forever. For my 18th birthday he gave me an engagement ring, and we started planning a wedding for the following summer shortly after I would graduate.
From my point of view, my dad and I were on very rocky terms. A massive wall of ache resided in my chest from perceived slights and unmet expectations. Every little (and sometimes big) thing that happened just added to the anger and bitterness that started growing six years prior. I was unforgiving and prideful and naive.
I wanted… needed him to make an effort to show that he loved me and wanted me to be a part of his life because by this time I did not believe that he did. I called to tell him I was engaged, that David and I would be getting married the following summer. I don’t know what I wanted or expected but what I received was a very noncommittal response. Nothingness…
I planned the wedding with my mom’s help. My mom and stepdad paid for everything. I mailed my dad an invitation. I told myself that I didn’t care if he came. “It will fine,” I said. I lied.
I wanted him there desperately.
I wanted him to see me in my white dress. I wanted him to tell me I was beautiful. I wanted him to tell me that he approved of David and that I had made a good match. I wanted him to walk me down that aisle and give me away.
But more than all of that… I wanted him to want to do it.
July 28th, 1990… I sat in the room among family and friends. I got dressed and handed out flowers and smiled. My joy was abundant. You can ask anyone that was there that day and they would tell you nothing differently.
But if you ask my mother, she will tell you about a white boutonniere with a pink ribbon left in a box for the person that did not show. She will tell you about walking into that room, looking me in the eye and giving a slight shake of her head to tell me no, he didn’t show. She will know that in the midst of unmeasurable happiness there was an undercurrent of pain.
My brother walked me down the aisle that day.
It would be several years before I spoke with my dad.
Next is The Funeral.
Note: This a series I’m writing about my relationship with my Dad. Some of it will not be pretty, but it is time for me to set these memories free. Mistakes were made by everyone, including me, so please read with a soft heart and forgiveness so that I may forgive myself. Some people will probably think that I should not write this, but I offer up two quotes from Anne Lamott for the reason why I should.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them they should have behaved better.
Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.
I will be linking these posts up with Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write because that is the only way I will be able to get them out… to just write.