I remember the day I found out my father had died. It was one of the most horrible, mixed up days of my life. I found out via Facebook. Just how everybody wants to find out one of their parents had died – right? I called my cousin wondering if what I had read and since then heard, was true. Her father was my dad’s brother. She confirmed the rumour. My dad had died a few hours previously in the hospital. I don’t think I have ever felt so conflicted in my life.
I was sitting in my bed. And I looked at the black and white picture of my father and I together when I was six months old and I remember covering my mouth with my hands as I let out this gut wrenching sob. But no tears came. I was so confused. All I knew was that I had to sob in silence because I hadn’t told Montana yet. We’d been told he had six to twelve months to live and three weeks later – he was gone. And as much as those gut wrenching sobs came out there were still no tears. So why was I sobbing? Was it relief because the nightmare was over? Was it heartbreak that despite everything I had been through at the hands of this man that my dad was gone. I had never lost a parent before. I had lost a best friend to suicide and another to murder and I grieved them and I grieved them hard. I still think of my best friend every day and grieve for him. But my dad?
Did he deserve my grief? Confusion had set in. In a huge way and I had no idea how to handle it. I know that I contained the tears until I had called all three of my girls and told them that their grandfather had died. Not one out of the three of them showed that much emotion. Not after knowing what I had suffered and having been a part of my screwed up family and living in the same house as him until I could prove to the Department of Human Services that he had indeed had a record for sexual abuse.
I know that it was a horrible thing to do to your father but I had to save my girls from going through what I did as a child and that was the only way I knew how. And doing so ended any chance I had of having a “relationship” with my dad. After I had told the girls I cried. And there were a few tears. There was this terrible, terrible searing pain. Almost like someone had punched me in the stomach and I couldn’t catch my breath but still. No tears. Just tremendous sobs and a feeling that all the breath had been sucked out of me. My dad was gone. He had left the earth and there was no way I could ever see him again. I couldn’t talk to him. I couldn’t get answers to my questions and most of all I couldn’t say goodbye. Writing this the tears are flowing. But then. I knew I was in pain but there were no tears and I needed tears to confirm it. Didn’t I? I mean, shouldn’t I be curled in the foetal position a blubbering, snotty tear filled mess? Shouldn’t I be screaming and crying and demanding answers from my family. Nope. I just sobbed, great big, shuddering sobs.
As the days went by there were still no tears. Not one. Just a feeling of emptiness. Not the same as when my best friend died or my girlfriend was murdered. Just an empty feeling in a part of me that I thought WAS NOT my heart. Again, I found out the funeral details from my cousin and I was told that I wasn’t welcomed but fuck that. I was gonna go. I don’t why. Maybe to make sure he was gone? Maybe to say goodbye? Maybe to forgive him? Nope. Not forgiveness. Not me. I wasn’t capable of forgiveness. Pffft. That was for soft people, for people that loved their parents and I didn’t love my father. Right? Or did I? Again, I weighed up what he had put me through not only at his hands but also the hands of his brothers. Not just one of them but two. All I knew was that a part of me HAD to be there.
And then. Something hit me. Hard. It was like being hit by a massive Mac truck that had driven right through me and sucked all the air out of my lungs until I couldn’t breathe. There were no feathers or rocks. Just that big ass truck that was traveling at 100km’s an hour and didn’t bother to stop and see if I was alright it just reversed and ran over me again and again. Everybody that knows of my work with Emazon knows how intense it can be. I have never in my life met a woman like her who just puts it out there and calls you on your bullshit. And there aint no running from it. It’s face it head on. Time to man up lady and get that shit out there.
I had sent my sister a very scathing email. I didn’t take into account her feelings at losing dad. Why the fuck should I? All she had cared about was the fact that SHE was daddy’s number one girl now and not me. I was out of the picture and she had him all to herself. So fuck you Melanie. All I could think of was that if I couldn’t cry then I was just mad and if I was mad I was sure as shit going to let her and my brother know. And I was going to let them know that there was no WAY on this planet that I was going to let them stop me from attending the funeral of the man who gave me life. Even if it was a shitty one at times. Well, lots of times.
One of my cousins (and rather ironically the one who is a police officer) had organised security to be outside the funeral home so that I couldn’t get in. Security? For me? His daughter? What the fuck did these people think I was going to do – lob a hand grenade into the funeral home? Perhaps turn up with a 9mm and take out all the leading players. It was at that time I started to think these people had seriously been watching to much Underbelly. I mean really? Security? Well, didn’t that just piss me off even more. I called a friend who owned a security company and asked him to attend the funeral with me. If THEY were having security then dammit *I* would to. I’d have my own bodyguard and I’d storm the fucking funeral home and nobody would stop me. Lets look at the main players. Would my sister or her wife stop me? Nah, they’d be on the ground out cold before they could even attempt to lift a hand to throw a punch. I knew that for a fact right there and then. As for my brother – Oh lord. I still to this day think he believes he is Alphonse Gangitano reincarnated and considering I knew Alphonse the sad part is I think that Alphonse was a better person. He certainly didn’t sexually abuse one of his nieces time and time again like my brother did. So he was no problem. They made this damn funeral so secretive that for my daughter to attend they didn’t tell her until they picked her up and they had taken her mobile phone off her so she couldn’t call me. Paranoid much?
So there I was. Adamant I was going to this funeral. And fuck the rest of the family. I’d take my bodyguard and if I upset the crowd then tough. Then it smashed me again, that huge ass Mac truck that I am sure left a hole right through the middle of me again. And all that came to mind was my mum and the work that I had done with Emma. All that she had taught me and shown me how to recognise in myself came smashing through the “fuck you all, you can’t stop me, I hate you and I’m gonna be there and prove you all wrong” attitude that I was carrying because I can assure you. I was as bitter as hell. And I don’t think it was because my dad was gone but because I had been banned from his funeral.
I’ve never been close to my mum. But that’s another story. But what I did know was that she had been married to that man for FIFTY YEARS. For fifty years she gave her heart and her soul to that marriage and to that man even though at times god knows he didn’t deserve it. He treated her shitfully with his drinking and not coming home until it suited him and then turfing his dinner across the room at her. I can’t count the times he fell over drunk in the laundry and slept there without a blanket or pillow and she just shrugged and left him there. Regardless of all the bad there was good and she could see it and she loved him. How do you NOT love someone you spend your entire adult life with?
It was only when I truly sat down and thought about her and how the shit fight between their security and my security would turn out and how much more it would upset her that I made a choice. A conscious decision. That little voice inside me was telling me to listen and I did. I listened to my inner voice and my Greater Mind and I decided that I just wasn’t going to go. Some days I still think about that decision but I still feel that I made the right choice. I didn’t bother to email my sister or brother or anyone else in the family. But I did send a text to my mum. It simply read: I know tomorrow will be difficult for you. But you need not worry about me disrupting the proceedings. I am staying away because after 50 years of marriage you deserve the right to say goodbye to your husband in peace. I didn’t get a response. I didn’t expect one and quite frankly I didn’t need or want one. I just wanted her to know that she could say her good bye’s in peace without a family war being played out before her eyes.
I remember feeling angry for the next few weeks. I was so furious that I couldn’t contain it and sadly everyone around me copped the brunt of my wrath. So what right? If I was unhappy then everyone else could live in unhappy land too. Don’t think you are all getting a free pass because my dad had died. Nuh uh, no way at all. Betcha wondering where that inner voice and the ever so wise Greater Mind was now huh? She was there all along driving this train. But to put it in Emma speak – she was just driving me around and around the same streets. Right around the block over and over telling me NOPE. Not stopping. We’re gonna keep going here until you can admit something is wrong and deal with it. So I fought back and she won. (That was a no brainer) Then along came that truck again. I fought with my daughter, I fought with my friends and I was full of hatred, venom and anger.
But the sad thing was – I didn’t know the how, why or when. And I had no idea how to decipher.
Annnnnnd thank you Greater Mind and the Universe – Emma was in town and she was doing 1 on 1 sessions. So I booked in and man was I excited. Cos we were gonna unravel this anger and fill me with light fluffy shit and I’d be tranquil and serene. And the world would be bright and sunny blah blah. Yeah nah. It was one of, if not the most emotional, gut wrenching, soul out pouring of confusion, anger, sadness and TEARS. Rivers of tears and snot. I remember crying so hard that I couldn’t get the words out and even writing this right now I am starting to cry. So cry I did and she just waited in that calm, ever so patient Emma way she does and when I was ready we continued. And it unravelled but not in the way I thought. Sure I had some choice words about my sister but my main anger was at being kept from the funeral by my COUSIN and his police officer mates and some interesting release about my father and how I had felt for him when he was alive and well, then alive and sick and then finally dead.
It was only then that I realised that I did care. That I did love him and that was okay. And it didn’t matter what he hard put me through in the past – he was still my dad and I still loved him and I forgave him. I had to. If was ever going to move on and heal and teach my girls to forgive and move on then this was a good way to start.
Before you leave Emma, she’ll usually give me a card with something written on it. This one says “I Am Freedom, Love and Justice” Freedom because I had been able to let go of the furious hurricane of hurt inside and find forgiveness for all of the them but especially my dad. Love because despite the fact that the unconditional love wasn’t being given to me I had shown it to my mum when I had decided to skip the funeral for her to mourn in peace. I remember telling Emma I hated my mother and I didn’t love her at all to which she ever so calmly said “yes you do and you just showed your unconditional love for her by not attending your fathers funeral so she could greave in peace” Did that one ever shut me up? Yep. But looking back at it now I once again know she was right. And justice. My cousin was reported to the Victoria Police Ethical Standards department and was required to explain why he had recruited ON DUTY police officers who were not even from his station to show up and wait outside the funeral home for me. And why he thought it was acceptable.
When we finally had our face to face meeting with my lawyer and him and his superiors he was given a hell of a dressing down and all he could say was that he had done it for my mother to protect her because she was like a mother to him growing up. Umm yeah not an acceptable response. He was required to apologise to me, which to me was worthless because I knew he didn’t mean it and I didn’t want it. I just wanted him to be pulled to the mat to explain yet more woeful behaviour by a member of my family. Last time I checked he seas still sitting behind a desk. But these days I don’t bother to check because life keeps me busy.
Luckily for me these days my Inner Red Rebel is out and running free and she runs the show and doesn’t she let everybody know it. I listen much more closer to my Greater Mind and I have learnt to trust in it because it will never steer me wrong. It hasn’t yet and lately the decision I have been sound choices that I am confident in and happy with and know are the right thing for myself and my girls.
As for my dad and the rest of the family I’ve shed many tears. I still do now and I am sure I will in the future. But I am able to put it to rest and know that if and when it is brought up around me I am not going to be filled with this boiling rage that I can’t control. That I can deal with my emotions in my own unique way which doesn’t involve police or lawyers or any thing else. It just involves taking a moment to stop, think and listen to that quiet inner voice called my Greater Mind.
Because regardless of anything else or anyone els she’ll never give me misinformation or lead me down the wrong road. Maybe we’ll take a detour here and there but we’ll get their eventually.