I spent over 20yrs ignoring the first chapters of my life. Choosing to forget them. When strangers casually ask about my parents, I tell them they’re dead and buried. They then apologise with “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know” and look sheepish for the next 10seconds before I awkwardly change the subject.
But it’s a lie. One is dead and buried, the other estranged, but somehow I can rarely be assed to discuss it. I’m exhausted by the thought of it.
The truth is it’s a relief I don’t have to talk about them.
I mean, what would I say? Where would I even start?
‘Well my father was an addict, suffered from depression and had a questionable moral compass’
*Cue awkward silence*
And I wish my mother was dead.
*Cue even longer silence*
So generally, I lie. I make out that I’m sad about not having them around, but really, I’m not. I’m relieved. Relieved that I don’t have to deal with their poor life choices. Relieved I don’t have to make small talk with them. Relieved that I never have to avoid leaving my kids with them. Not having them in my life makes my life easier. I’ve already grieved them both, even though my mother is still alive. I’ve grieved what could have been.
It took me 20yrs to finally realise that I needed to be the kind of parent that my own parents could never, I now know, have been.