A quote from Veronika Decides to Die (no it’s not as depressing as it sounds, really):
“Why do certain people try to go against the natural order of things which is to fight for survival whatever happens?”
“That’s why I was crying,” said Veronika. “When I took the pills, I wanted to kill someone I hated. I didn’t know that other Veronikas existed inside me, Veronikas that I could love”.
“What makes a person hate themselves?”
“Cowardice, perhaps. Or the eternal fear of being wrong, of not doing what others expect.”
Next week is a monumental week.
Not simply because I turn 40. In all actuality, I could really care less about the number. In all actuality, I could care less about birthdays.
No, next week is going to be monumental because it’s when I go see my dad. I haven’t seen him since I was 11.
I know my dad loves me. We’ve had a great 10 year phone relationship. And it seems just like yesterday when I nervously called him up on Father’s Day, 2000, stomach knotted and feeling ill, fearful he was going to reject me, fearful that he wasn’t the father I so desperately longed for.
Wonderfully, he didn’t reject me, but welcomed me with an open heart.
My two older sisters, never re-gained the closeness my dad, my stepmother and I have. I know this pains them greatly. It saddens me too. It’s just one more thing that separates me from my siblings. They don’t understand why my relationship to my father is important to me. I don’t understand why a relationship with him is NOT important to them.
He called me every day for about a week when I miscarried before my first child, just to make sure I was okay. He’s spoken to my husband on a few occasions, and loves him for taking care of his “baby girl”. He’s said other kind and supportive things to me over the years. He is amazed with his three grand-daughters. I must admit, they are beautiful and smart. I can hardly believe they are mine sometimes.
I also regained something vitally important too. A loving relationship with a mother-figure. Even though my stepmother could not have her own children, she was the honorary mother of children close to her. She did what she could in the time she had with us during our visitations with them, making us feel loved and cared for, and even trying to teach us a little about make-up and other girly things…stuff my own mother failed to teach us.
In the past ten years, she’s spent hours on the phone with me, listening to me, trying to help me re-construct past events, trying to give me back my childhood memories…at least those with them.
I cherish those 2 hour phone calls we shared.
I’ve often wished she was my mother, instead of the mother I did get.
We are going to Colorado by train.
I originally thought it was better than flying for the simple fact that I lost my nerve to fly after I had a rocky flight back from Reno, Nevada, after a work conference for my forensics gig. That was 10 years ago, too.
And taking those same 10 years and looking through the lens of my former identity, that seems like a lifetime ago already.
Now, I know that I’m going to relish the 18 hour train ride for another reason. I’ll have plenty of time to mentally prepare to meet my dad and my wonderful stepmother. Maybe I’ll do some writing…or reading…or resting. Or simply be present with my husband and daughters as we play games to pass the time or watch the countryside roll by.
I’m hoping I’ll discover some pithy insights about myself when I see my dad. Or find some sort of resolution to unfinished business. Or finally have some things make sense.
I recently read “Self-flagellation is optional”.
I’ve managed to turn it into an art form.
It’s time to find the other Caseys inside me that I could love.