Saturday, December 02, 2006
My stepfather was not a nice man. I dealt with a major amount of guilt a few years ago when he died because i found myself grateful. I viewed his body not out of sympathy but because I needed closure. I needed to know he was really gone and I didn't have to fear him anymore. That said, there were a few times in my life that I really connected with him, and I drew something from those experiences that I need to remember. There were rare occasions when he wasn't drinking that we would have real conversations and they were heart breaking. I was 10 or 11 when he told me about his experiences in Viet Nam. He went through some horrifying things, and he did some horrifying things to save his own life. While he understood the necessity of what he had done, he felt a great deal of guilt. He couldn't forgive himself and spoke from time to time of a desire to assume a new identity, to start fresh as a new and unknown person to escape his pain. He really thought the only way to escape his pain was to be someone else somewhere else. I told outright how absurd that was. His pain wasn't something around him that would go away if he was somewhere else. No one around him knew, and certainly no one judged him for it. He carried his pain inside him, and no matter where he went it was still going to be there until he faced it head on and found a way internally to heal his heart. This was ridiculously obvious to me as a child. This is something I know. So how did I convince myself that going on this trip was going to be my chance to get away and take a break from my pain? I knew all along that i carry it in my heart.