My family has a healthy dose of drama just like any. I had very branched family tree. My parents divorced when I was 8. When I was away at summer camp at 12, my dad decided to get remarried.
It wasn’t important for me to be involved or even present, apparently. I had met her once before they tied the knot… I guess that’s something…?? We got along fine. When I saw them. My father was definitely not eligible for Dad of the Year ever, but that was his problem. I didn’t have an actual relationship with my dad or his wife until I turned 18.
Things were ok when I spent time with them. She was a nice lady, but very intense, and their lives were very much about her grown kids and families and not so much about my dad’s kids. I was the only one of his 3 kids that visited or spoke to him, so I guess that’s why we were considered as an afterthought.
My dad was married to her for 12 years before he died. They had been separated once during their marriage, but ultimately decided to make it work. I was the one by her side when it was time to make funeral arrangements, meet with the funeral director, make plans for a casket, the service, the obituary, all of it. Just me and her.
After the funeral, I kept in touch. She met the guy I was dating, I spoke to her candidly about how difficult it is to date someone who has kids. She was supportive but cautious. Three years after my father died, I moved to another state with my now husband. The same guy she met. Before leaving, I called and tried to get a hold of her repeatedly. She is Mormon and I figured she was just disapproving of me moving in with him before getting a ring. For whatever reason, she completely ignored my attempts to see her before moving.
I tried to call and send cards after moving, but it seemed she had moved also. Never sending me forwarding info, never calling back.
I took it for what it was worth and moved on. Recently, I found her daughter on Facebook after 11 years of silence. She seemed to be a rare user of the site, so I sent a message and then let it lie.
Today, I received a response after a month or so… it was hard to read and took me completely by surprise. It seems the story they have run with is that I broke my stepmother’s heart and abandoned her immediately after my father died, and I should “stay away”.
I don’t do injustice well. I have a real hard time walking away from a situation where someone has the complete wrong and false idea of my actions or behavior. I feel a need at the very least to defend myself and be honest. I cop to my mistakes. I can admit when I’ve done something wrong to someone. This, however, was not that scenario.
This has proven completely frustrating and very upsetting to me. This person I barely knew because she never felt my father was good enough for her mom, has told me some very untrue and hurtful things she – and my step mother- believe about me. It turns out my stepmother is not doing well, health wise, and i’ve said my peace as far as facts, i’ve kept it short and respectful, and it’s fallen essentially on deaf ears.
I am fine with walking away knowing I did what was right, and I was a supportive and present family member. I have a real issue with them having an opinion of me based on false truths.
So what do I do with that? No resolution. No acknowledgement that the past did not just happen to this person. This woman did not simply lose a husband and move on. I lost my father. I buried my father at 25. I continued a relationship with a woman who was married to my dad despite how painful it was to constantly relive places and things we did all together that were now being done with just the ghost of him.
And yet i’m somehow a bad person because I did not lay down roots beside someone who’s own actual children left her to deal with her loss alone?
Nope. Sorry. I do not take on other’s blame or guilt or regret. My shoulders have room for my own mistakes, my own responsibilities, and the happiness of my family.
I’m going to move on and be confident in the knowledge i’ve done what I could. I didn’t wrong anyone 11 years ago, and it’s not my job to change anyone’s mind about a perceived truth.
Still sucks, though.