Friday, October 19, 2007

End of Times

I wrote a few different tribute posts to the Grandfather, but none of them felt right. I have taken over the obituary-writing duties and hopefully, that will be cathartic. I have a heady swirl of powerful emotions where his death is concerned, including guilt (not visiting as regularly as I should), loss of a figurehead of my childhood, profound sadness, and this crazy, irrational anger. I also feel completely out of focus and am using this as a tool to try and sort through some wildly disjointed thoughts.

I have been watching Tell Me You Love Me on HBO. I am drawn to character-driven stories and powerful dialogue, and this show occasionally delivers on both grounds. It is also pretty goddamn irritating. Jury is still out. The drama involves couples in therapy, and the therapist herself is a compelling character. Some of the dialogue is excrutiatingly familiar. While watching, I have been reminded, more than once, of my ill-advised decision to go see Closer a few weeks after B and I separated. I was in a fetal position at certain points of the film. The scene with Clive Owen and Julia Roberts in their loft immediately comes to mind. Honest, raw, and brutal words.

In any event, last week, one of the couples decided to end therapy and the therapist asked them to come in for a final session. The couple, in a remarkable state of denial, were visibly uncomfortable at having to end their therapy in person. The therapist said something along the lines of "How you end a relationship is every bit as important as how you conducted yourself in it."

Fuck, that stuck a nerve that lasted all week. It is fucking important to end a relationship with as much honesty, dignity, and respect as you did or should have shown the relationship while you were in it. And miracle of miracles, I suddenly found myself mad. Really mad. Perhaps irrationally mad. But seeing as how I have a problem getting and expressing anger, I shall open up a small can of whoop ass.

Grandfather: I owe you such an apology for not making more of an effort to stay connected in the last year of your life. The last time I saw you, I know that you didn't know who I was and I hated anyone who kept trying to remind you of our connection. I snapped at anyone who did that and just wanted to hang out with you without regard to whether you knew I was your son's biological daughter. Truth be told, in the grand scheme of things, you shouldn't have been expected to know me in your encroaching state of dementia. I was a sporadic presence in your life, but I hope you know (or at least knew) that you were one of my heroes. I am sorry that I did not honor the end of our relationship with the the dignity and respect it deserved. Although I knew your memory was gone, I foolishly believed your body to be immortal, and that there would always be time. I loved you more than I told you, and I have to live with that.

MRE (Most Recent Ex): I am finally angry with you. I obviously am stunted in the anger department, as I should have felt this months ago. I loathe the weakness in your character insofar as it concerned the end of our relationship. I am angry at myself for being willfully blind to that weakness, among many other things. From what I knew of you, which I still believe was quite a bit, I cannot imagine how you live with it. I suspect that you, like me, have become a different person, but unlike you, I rather like the person I became. I have always shown you and our relationship the respect it deserved. I can hold my head high where all of that is concerned. I cringe when I think about what I would think of myself had I behaved as you did when we ended the relationship. And, perhaps as a testament to our relationship, I feel terrible for you. That is a flesh wound that will last your lifetime.

Former Very Close Friend: For all your alter egos, in the flesh, you are a chickenshit. You weren't forthright and confrontational, nor did you even attempt to honor our friendship. You didn't respond to my attempts to air things out, nor did you acknowledge my unconditional apology. Instead, you hid in your computer and were astonishingly duplicitous. You disregarded an entire friendship for reasons that I will never begin to understand and, as much as that hurt me, your cowardice continues to piss me off. You are no badass, by any stretch of the imagination, but I have every confidence you will convince yourself you still are. You are also quite the opposite of the loyal soldier you think yourself. This in no way is an attempt to minimize or justify my errors in judgment. I was just fucking man enough to deal with them up front and honestly, no matter the resolution. You weren't. Chickenshit.

(Hopefully Not Former Friend): Don't be like above-referenced character. You and I can hash anything out. Anything. You aren't passive aggressive and neither am I. Let's hug it out, bitch.

B: This is as much my fault as it is yours. We were apparently some freaky kind of co-dependent and are still acting that way. We can't be friends, B. Friendly, but not friends. You aren't coming to my grandfather's memorial and you shouldn't send me (or my family) flowers. We really need to break all the way up, and I think I know how to do that. I appreciate that now, you are trying to honor our relationship and treat me with the respect I (and our relationship) deserved. I do. I know that every night for the past few months, you have thought about whether we could ever get back to where we were. Thing is, I don't want to go back, and I don't want to go forward with you, either. We need to really break up and I will be the bad guy towards that end. I will make every effort to end it with the dignity and respect our marriage deserved.

Self: Don't cast too many stones. You have ended relationships badly and owe a few people apologies. Lose the fear and deliver the apologies you owe, and take the fallout you have earned. Have faith in your character, even though that has been lacking at certain points, and do the right thing. Life is too short to not have dignity.

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