Those of you who know me know that I do forgive people, but only when they are genuinely sorry and they want to be good people. Those who take pride in the hurt, chaos, and despair they cause? Forgiveness is a LOT harder with them.
My parents get disturbed by this, especially on the subject of my sister, to the point where they will "forget" to tell me some of the things she says or does in hopes that I will have less to object to and I will let the past go and we will all be a family again. (If they knew all the things she did or tried to do to me, they'd have much different expecations. Oh, they'd still defend her, she's the golden child and I'm the black sheep, that wouldn't change if Jesus came down from heaven, put His arm around my shoulder, and said, "That's my boy!" But at least they'd understand why I will never accept my sister in my life.) But they have mixed emotions on the subject of my dad's mom, the woman of German descendency that I refer to as Deutchbag.
"This isn't your pride in your Polish heritage, is it, Peter? I know the Poles aren't exactly happy with the Germans or the Russians."
Nah, I said. It has nothing to do with nationality. I have too many other far more valid reasons to hate her than that.
Deutchbag was evil. She was abusive and manipulative. She was also NPD and an alcoholic, which only made things worse. When she came to Illinois, I thought we were getting along great. Then I discovered she was covertly setting up a situation that would pit me against my sister and the both of us against our parents. At that point, I froze her out, giving her the name Deutchbag. I told my dad that, when she dies, I will have a trip to Florida just to drive a wooden stake in the ground of her grave.
Dad has mixed emotions. Yes, she was cruel, but she was also his mom. Even as her health started failing, he wasn't sure what to do, if he should feel sadness or relief. And, apparently, I was not the appropriate one to talk with about this.
Over that past year, year and a half, Deutchbag had three near misses where she almost died, but somehow came back from the brink. Apparently not this time. Dad was on his way up from Florida to visit me. We were going to bond and see Deadpool next weekend and such. He had just gotten into Alabama when he got the call. He had to start taking care of things, so he left it to mom to tell Peter, The Master Of The Inappropriate Comment, the news.
I was at work, so I got a text telling me. Along with the message, "I know you don't have much good to say about her."
Well, best not to disappoint them. I called mom when I got home. Mom sounds a little sad, surprising given her own contentious relationship with her. "So, Peter....I'm sure you have questions."
Yeah. Can I have her Demerol?
There's a very long pause. "Why do you want Demerol?"
Well, I figured you'd rather hear that question from me than from my sister.
Mom started laughing. Hey, it was still funny. Mom is doing that thing she usually does, saying anything just to keep an even keel, while I slice through the bullshit. "Be nice. Your grandma loved you."
No, she didn't, and you know it.
"Well, she's with God now."
God is sticking three fingers up her ass and bowling her into Hell.
"We shouldn't speak ill of the dead."
That Al Capone was quite a marksman. Lizzie Borden really knew how to express her feelings.
A long beat, and then, "...fine, you win." Mom then proceeds to tell me what happened, what time, everything. After we hang up, I'm getting dinner ready when she calls again. She forgot to tell me to call dad. When people are having problems, I try to give them space, I worry that my actions could be construed as hovering over them and crowding them. They know this and make sure to mention when they don't want their space. This doesn't happen often, usually they want to be left alone, so I figure this is huge.
I call dad after being told by mom to try to make him laugh. Dad answers, and I say, You know, if you didn't want to see the Deadpool movie with me, all you had to do was say so. Or just you have to wash your hair or something.
He chuckles a little, and we start talking. I'm not very good at the whole grief counselor thing (I still think the incident with my teacher was a lucky fluke), but it seems he just wants to talk, get his thoughts out there and in order. He's also actually listening to me. Usually, the family figures I don't know much (yes, they are back to saying I'm being harsh and unforgiving instead of actually predicting my sister's behavior), but as i talk to dad, I make some guesses about his mom based on what I know of NPD and find out I'm bang on the money. He talks more, opening up more about his childhood and what he went through. But urging me to try, please, to find a way to forgive her.
I tell him the truth -- I'm working on it. I'm mean and I'm angry, but I'll tell you the truth, while it's a great motivator, I don't much care for it. I like to laugh, I like communing with others, I like getting along. That's hard enough when you have a chip on your shoulder bigger than a mountainside. I think about the outrage I would have to carry around for someone that isn't around to care anymore (and in another couple of days max, her spirit will have finished crossing over anyway, so it's possible my anger would create a link that would keep this vengeful asshole around even longer). So I'm working on it, dad. Really I am.
And it sounds like he understands.
Probably because he's going through it, too.