I've shared bits of the stories with people in real life, with friends I've made online, with trusted confidants. There are times that I've been at my wits end with it all, questioned whether I was doing the right thing or not. Asked why. All that.
Family is complicated. Mine is special.
I have shielded others from things as much as I could, because it's my job.
I've even spent a lot of time protecting the one hurting me.
In doing so, I've suffered.
I haven't just lost my father. In many ways, I've lost both of my parents. My mother is still here, yes. But she isn't. She doesn't think I even deserve to know when she is in the hospital these days.
She had choices, lots of them. She chose to hurt us. She chose to hurt herself.
She needs help.
And I can't help her. I have tried. I tried everything I could think of.
I've carried it all inside for too long.
When things come spilling out of me to the people who should know, there is a huge sense of relief that comes with it. A weight lifted off my shoulders.
I spend too much time trying to reassure myself that I've done all I can. That I can't fix someone else. That I can't help someone who doesn't want it. That I can't enable self-destruction. That I have to protect my children.
That I have to protect myself.
And sometimes I am in a good place with it. I reason that the one who isn't here anymore, the one who asked me to do the best I could, would reassure me that I've done what I can. That distance is better now. That the damage is too bad. That I can be okay with things as they are.
I am virtually certain of all that.
Sometimes I am in a good place with it, until I get blindsided again.
In the last few weeks, there have been too many reminders. Too many lingering consequences. Too many things we have had to deal with. Too many things forgotten.
When someone you love seems determined to ruin their life, the one thing they don't realize is that even if their motivations are inherently selfish and myopic, there is damage done to everyone around them. They aren't just downward spiraling, they are dragging others with them.
And it is not fair.
It's not fair to me. It's not fair to my kids. It's not fair to the rest of my family.
I'm tired of being dragged.
I love you Mom, and I miss you.