Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic
Next was a memorial card. I went through collections of family photos. I hadn’t looked at my parent’s wedding album for ages, and there was a large black & white photo I’d never noticed. It was a close-up of them leaving the church in a flurry of rice. Joan was smiling at the camera, while Roy was smiling at her with an expression of abiding love. He looked incredulous and exalted that such a wonderful woman had just married him.
While adjusting and cropping photographs, I had been playing iTunes choices for the service. Their favorite musical was Brigadoon, and the soundtrack was playing. While again trying to parse the sweetest expression I had ever seen on Roy’s face, a rich, deep voice started singing from my computer. The lyrics described a grey man walking alone by a cold ocean. Without true love, he would be that man.
“There but for you go I,” this beautiful baritone sang with powerful conviction. Between the photo and that song the entire emotional focus of my father’s life became clear. It was his love for Joan. Roy’s mother had been an ignorant beast of burden, and Grampa was an intolerant, humorless disciplinarian with a mean streak. My father had no guidelines for parenting — but he could love and care for one woman. Hearing and seeing all this at the same time double-whammed me to a place of profound forgiveness for all the awful things he had said. I pitied the terrified child he was, and could finally respect the man he was able to become — defined by the one true love that made him as whole as he would ever get in this life. I could let my father go. — From Chapter 15
A lifetime of frustration, rejection and daddy issues didn’t magically disappear in that ah-ha moment. What that moment did do was give me a knee-up out of a deep rut of blame and anger. Being heaved up to a new level of flat ground offers a vista of greater dispassion and clarity. There is still a long trudge of various therapies to get to a better place, but as they say in AA… recognition is the first step towards forgiveness — both for others and ourselves.
Nine years and a memoir later the bitter taste of resentment is gone. I’m still wary of men in general, but that isn’t Roy’s fault any longer. This leaves me free to judge individuals based on merit and behavior, instead of a narrow, first-impression prejudice based on race, gender and identity (Straight White Guys). Roy will still have his own karma to resolve, and I am finally free to bless him on that journey in whatever dimension he ended up.
A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at www.etsy.com/listing/839838936
Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.