Today marks ten years since you jumped off that bridge and bid farewell to the world. This past week, all this anger and anxiety was building up in me, thinking once again about how you’ve been gone all this time and how screwed up that is. The world was truly unfair to you. I think about how you never felt safe physically or psychologically in the home you grew up in. Back in the days of our youth, no one ever talked about the concept of “psychological safety.” When we were growing up, people always said physical abuse of children was wrong, but no one ever talked about mental or psychological abuse. They never talked about how the harmful words that are spoken to us can stay with us longer than a bruise or a scratch. But that’s ultimately what hurt you the most in the end.
In the last ten years, our parents have done absolutely nothing to improve their lives. Okay, maybe that’s not 100 percent true: our dad got bypass surgery the year after you died. He probably tacked on at least another 15-20 years onto his life with that surgery alone. Yet, what is he actually doing with all this extra time? Is he trying to become a better person? Is he taking on all the hobbies he used to complain he never had time or money for, yet now he has plenty of time and money to do? Is he trying to be a better dad and actually be a grandparent? Is he treating his wife with more kindness? The answer to all those questions is… a big, fat no. As for our mother, she’s just as angry, resentful, manipulative, and twisted as she was when you were here. If anything, she’s only gotten worse in all those areas.
I’m tired of dealing with it all, Ed. And I hate to say this, but I’m tired of dealing with it all without you here to shoulder the burden with me. I know you always had it ten times worse than I did, especially as the first born and as a boy, but I just can’t deal with it anymore. These are the moments when I truly feel alone in the world, like no one really gets it. You were the only one who ever “got it” and understood how awful they were to us. My patience and tolerance for all this intergenerational trauma has really run out. I’m tired of being the one who has to have all the pressure on her to keep the peace when I am not even the one creating the drama. I am the one trying to make things at least APPEAR normal, but I can’t even get that to work because of their idiocies. Kaia is now over 19 months old. She’s perceptive. She knows when things are off. She gets upset when Chris and I have the occasional spat, and sadly, she was even exposed to an argument I had with our mom when we went back home last August. I don’t want her to grow up thinking that the way they act is normal, that families treat each other the way they have treated us. I want to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and have her grow up in a loving, caring, empathetic home, one that takes her seriously and treats her with respect. And with all this anger building up in me, I just have zero desire to go back to San Francisco this year and expose her to all of that crap again. I just don’t have it in me. And I know our mom is going to be mad, asking why we aren’t coming, feigning total amnesia to how poorly she and our dad treated me when I came back last year. What kind of mother defends their husband, saying it’s okay for him to call their daughter a bitch? What kind of mother constantly tries to tell her daughter that she and her husband worked harder than any other parent on earth for their children? What kind of person perceives every meal invitation, every family outing, every major event like a graduation or wedding, as “more suffering” that needs to be endured? She will never get the help she needs, but that’s frankly her choice.
I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to deal with their uncalled for childish behavior and anger. I don’t want to see them admire Kaia from across a room and not interact with her. I’m tired of dealing with people’s questions, including Chris’s parents, on when I last saw my parents and when I will see them again. I’m tired of people not understanding the fact that my family is not normal. So I’m not going to deal with it anymore, and I will proactively shut it down whenever presented the chance. This is what I’m doing for myself to move forward and to create a better and more functional life for Kaia Pookie. I do it for her future, but I also will do it for your memory.
I miss you. I miss you every day. Sometimes, it’s just for a minute. Other times, it’s for hours at a time. On days like this, it’s all day long, and then the next few days. I saw you in Kaia’s face today. It suddenly dawned on me this morning that you and I have the same nose, which means Kaia has your nose. You will always live on in her and me. And she will always know it.
I love you, Ed. I hope you look down on us and are happy that we’re progressing, even if our parents are not.