Never mind Confucius says, let’s try Confusion says!
My parents were married for thirty years, 2019 would have marked the 30th anniversary of their divorce. From as far back as l can remember my parents may well as have been aliens to me. They never once treated each other as human beings, they never thought about being responsible with their disagreements in front of their children either. So, my Sister and l grew up in a shambolic existence known as dysfunctional family life. It wasn’t uncommon for my parents to be screaming at high octane levels at each other, nor was it uncommon to hear doors slamming or witnessing first hand violence between themselves.
My Father was violent to my Mother, she was an abused wife in so far as aggression and mental cruelty went. My Father was a gambler, a drinker and an adulterer to boot. He was aggressive to his children but more so to, his Son.
I left home at around 20/21 and when l hit my thirtieth birthday l learned my parents had divorced. It was l soon learned an extremely volatile, highly explosive and unpredictably acrimonious divorce between them. From what l gathered from them both, they absolutely hated each other.
My Mother cited my Father in her divorce proceedings for adultery and mental and physical cruelty, he did not contest it.
From that point on l had to be guarded till even as little back as May of this year, l had to speak to my parents and not pay mention to the other parent during our phone calls together. During all those years my parents lived to the credo of ‘We hate each other’ and ‘We cannot stand each other!’
So perhaps those of you who have followed this series and more so during the days that my Father found himself diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that attacked his liver and bowel and finally killed him, resulting in his death on the 18th October this year , you may recall my surprise at the fact that my Mother thought she needed to be my his side to be of ‘some comfort’, and how l found the whole thing if not unsettling, at least somewhat surreal?
I had grown up in a household of the untruth. Lies were more common place at home than were hot dinners.
I have recently started going through my Father’s paperwork for probate and clearance, and as some of you know, l have started a new series called “The Father I Never Knew”, as a result of me finding his stories, an unfinished autobiography and of course his diaries from 1956.
But even more oddly, l have come across a bulky file that contains nearly fifty documents that take the shape of birthday and Christmas cards, postcards and letters starting from 1990 till 2011 or 21 years. 21 years out of 30. For 21 years my parents constantly communicated to each other by telephone and letter. Each of these letters, and so on, contain emotional sentiment and joviality, discussions and observations about life and their children. For 21 years, and one year after their hostile divorce in 1989 my parents shared a friendship, that they denied to their children. It never happened.
My parents, both alike informed me from 1990 – 2018 that they hated each other and yet …………
I cannot help but feel even more lied to and cheated on by this discovery. I remember clearly if l ever mentioned anything to my parents during those years about the other, they would blow my head off and yet, during those years they were not just lying to us as their children, but they were enjoying communications and visits and meals out?
In 2011, things changed, my Mother sent a hostile letter to my Father, and in it she stipulated that she never wanted to hear from my Father again! That episode lasted from April 2011 – May 2018, a total of 7 years.
Then suddenly, my Mother and Father reunite for his closing days this year.
I never understood my parents, l still dont!