A Long, Sad Week

Michael's father died.

Michael is sad and tired. He doesn't want to talk about it. He lost his father a long, long time ago. To those who don't know his family history, he has to try to explain his feelings with the vague phrase, we weren't close.

I stand before the coffin with this small band of people, Michael's family, my family now. They are knit tight with love, bound by their shared experience of surviving hell together. Michael's sister speaks of their father's pain, of saying goodbye without ill will. We all weep - brothers, sisters, mother, grandchildren.

I'm angry and sad. I don't want to forgive. But I'm sorry, too, aching for a wasted, miserable life. Michael's sister describes their father as a "talented, sensitive man." He could be witty and charming; his intelligence couldn't save him from the pain he felt, or the pain he caused.

But his blood runs in my children's veins; he is part of us. His children and grandchildren are thriving, loving, deeply loved. In spite of everything, he has left something good behind. I watch Michael playing in the pool with Evie, her bliss at being with her daddy, and I grieve that Michael never knew this loving fathering, that he had to teach it to himself, and I'm fiercely glad that my children will have joyful memories in their hearts.

Love and pain, disappointment and hurt, rage and sorrow; and relief.

A long, tough week, saying goodbye.

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