Editor’s Note: This is part 18 of Marie’s story. It is a continuation from last week’s post: How Can I Fault My Parents for Doing the Best They Could?
Carl: Do you think you killed him?
Me: No, but I think I made a really bad time even worse for him. I keep thinking I could have just hung on. I could have made it through the last year or two of living at home without making a stink. Then, I wouldn’t have caused that piece of his spirit to die. I think I contributed to his downward spiral.
Carl: Marie, you were not the cause—not in any degree, nor in any way—of his downward spiral. That had nothing to do with you. That was happening outside the influence of your behavior.
Me: If he would have lived, I may have had a relationship with him like I have now with my mom.
Carl: Tell me about that.
Me: I really didn’t know my mom when I was a kid; but after he died, I got to know her.
Carl: What do you mean you didn’t know her?
Me: She was just the woman who took care of me. She was just the woman in the kitchen, the woman who did my laundry and cleaned the house. I never knew her as a person until after my dad died because, when my dad was alive, my main parental interaction was with him.
For what it’s worth to this conversation, I knew in advance Dad was going to die.
Carl: What do you mean “you knew”?
Me: I had a paranormal premonition.
Carl: What do you mean by a paranormal premonition?
Me: All of my life, I’ve known when people would die—generally when and generally in what manner. Sometimes I feel led to say something specific to the person or to a family member as a way to help them prepare.
Carl: That’s a heavy responsibility!
Me: It’s something that has been happening to me all my life—I guess it doesn’t seem like such a big deal because I’m used to it.
For the five years before he died, I knew Dad was going to die soon. I knew the approximate timeframe. There was nothing wrong with him physically—just a broken spirit.
He and I talked about it exactly one year before he died. I brought it up—he said he knew his days were numbered. He said he didn’t know exactly when or how, but he knew he was going to die soon. He told me it was okay, that Mom would be taken care of with the life insurance, that he had lived a full life and that he was okay with it.
He seemed relieved to be able to talk to someone about it.
I think he was glad all of us kids were out of the house. I think he was glad I had left home because, once I was out of the house, he could let go and die. He no longer had a reason to live once I left—his job of raising us was done.
Carl: But he did have reasons to live! I’m angry with him for giving up and dying! I’m angry he thought his farm failing was reason enough to stop living!
Me: I totally understand how he came to the point of wanting to die. I totally understand how he could believe he had no reason to live.
I mean . . . what reasons do I have to live . . . other than taking care of my mom until she dies? (Tears started filling my eyes)
Carl: You don’t want to live?
Me: No. All of my life I have not wanted to live. But, I figured since I have to be here—since it’s wrong to commit suicide—I might as well make the best of it.
Sometimes I think back to why I felt “better” when I was younger . . .
When I worked so many hours when I was younger, it kept me from feeling the sad feelings. I worked so hard because I was working towards having a career and a husband and a family. Back then, I always had hope it would be better—I’d find happiness—someday in the future, when I finally “got it all together.” That was my hope; it is what kept me going full speed.
Now, I have given up that hope, so I often have trouble getting excited about my day. That is why I understand the reasons my dad willed himself to die. His one dream failed . . . his job as a dad was done . . . why stick around anymore? I totally understand why he wanted to stop living.
Carl: You’ve had to live your whole life in hiding . . . showing only a shell of who you are, always being super-vigilant to make sure you are doing what everyone else wants you to do so you can avoid being hurt. That is an empty way to live.
Joy comes when you are able to live life as the real you—out in the open. I think you’ve had small tastes of that when you are writing, communicating with your buddies, teaching music . . . but, those moments have been few and far between and the dark moments between have been long and very low, so it feels like you have nothing to live for. As you learn to show up as the real you, you will find the moments of joy become the rule rather than the exception.
(We paused the conversation for a few moments to absorb everything and to shift gears)
Me: You know how some people are “awake”—as in evolved or enlightened or highly-self aware . . . ??
Me: What do you think motivates people to take the steps to become that way?
Carl: I think pain is often a motivator. I think that, when people’s experiences becomes so painful that they are willing to do anything to change it, they are able to create a better experience and to become more self-aware.
Me: Why do you think some people never take the steps to wake up?
Carl: Maybe because they never experience enough pain to cause it to be a priority.
Me: What if they experience the pain but don’t know what to do about it? Or, what if they find a way to be numb and just stay numbed out for their entire lives?
Carl: That does happen quite often.
Me: In those cases, should they be held responsible for not finding a better way?
Carl: I don’t know. I suppose in some cases, yes, in some cases, no.
Me: Hmmmmm . . . .
Other posts in Marie’s Story:
- Part 1: My Therapist Stinks… I’m Searching for a New One
- Part 2: Choosing A Therapist… and Breathing Again
- Part 3: I Have Always Had to Keep the “Real Me” In Hiding…
- Part 4: My First Therapy Session with Carl
- Part 5: An Email I Sent to Carl After Our First Session
- Part 6: Dad Threatened to Kick Me Out, So I Planned Accordingly…
- Part 7: Do You Feel You Have Intrinsic Value as a Person?
- Part 8: I Am Learning Not to Fight the Tears
- Part 9: It’s About How I Have Violent Fantasies
- Part 10: He Is Providing That Validation That I So Desperately Needed
- Part 11: Relief, and Carl Assures Me He Does Know How to Help Me
- Part 12: I Feel Like I Can Relax Into His Leadership and Expertise
- Part 13: Remembering Child Abuse
- Part 14: Anger Feels Like a Deadly Emotion for Me Because, if I Was Angry, I Got Hit
- Part 15: Relief, Terror and Shame
- Part 16: I Talk About My Relationship with My Dad
- Part 17: How Can I Fault My Parents for Doing the Best They Could?