Even the best of families have their troubles… silly arguments and ongoing squabbles… personality clashes… the hurts and resentments that come with the years… the events that shake our foundations, our belief in how things are supposed to be.
Yet, foolishly, I thought my own family had been spared the destructive power of these things — somehow immune and unbowed despite what an unpredictable Fate continued to throw in our path. I took, I must admit, no small bit of pride in this unity.
And then, as things have that nasty habit of doing, it all changed. Without warning.
People I never expected have said and done things I couldn’t imagine… lashing out I suppose as an over indulged child might do. Things were said that should not have been. Illusions were dashed and innocence lost. Feelings were hurt. Relationships, built and fostered over years clustered at the end of desert-laden Thanksgiving tables have been changed forever.
Gone now as if they never were. As if they mattered not one bit.
All the warmth and laughter of the good times (and there have been so many), as well as the shared pain of the hard, horrible times bound us together. A bond tried and tested… bent perhaps but not broken. I used to think that bond was strong enough to face down anything… only now I see it wasn’t. What a fool I was! Full of pride and assurance… content that a lifetime of support and love and fun would be what mattered when push came to shove.
Only it didn’t.
The only thing that seemed to matter was the rabid anger… righteous and full of judgement, and the belief in the right to express that emotion without restraint. Harsh, hateful words spilled out, cutting right to the heart of the matter — showing me in no uncertain terms exactly where I stand. I’ve been given to believe that this is a unanimous opinion… and with no opportunity (or the heart really) to question further, I’m afraid that it must be true.
Judgement has been passed, and deserved or not, there will be no reprieve.
My own personal pain cuts deep… but what is even more bothersome… the thing that keeps me awake and tossing in the middle of the night is the opportunity that’s been lost. Cast aside without so much as a backward glance. The chance to talk about something so vitally important… to share experiences that could spare someone trouble… or pain, or prevent a life changing mistake. Hard to accept for one who has made such a point to keep confidences… to talk and listen without bias… to pass on what I’ve learned along the way in hopes it may help.
I only hope that what I could have said, given my own unique experience and hard won insight, isn’t something somebody really needed to hear. Something that keeps one of them from joining the ranks of the many nameless, faceless statistics reported on the nightly news. How I wish we could have that conversation… even now after everything.
The more enlightened part of me recognizes that in some strange, unexplained way, Fate has done me a service. For never has a lesson about judgement been so well learned than by one who has been unfairly judged. I needed that lesson.
And though it might be harsh and unflattering, now at least I know where I stand. Sure the truth is tough to face, but it’s better than living under the illusion that I had earned a place of respect and love that was not real, or lasting.
I guess pride really does come before the fall…