Monday, August 12, 2013

Always something there to remind me...

I've been unpacking shit all afternoon and stumbled across a box we hadn't opened since we left Georgia in 2011.  In it was a beat up Neiman Marcus bag, which contained photos of my husband's long lost daughters.  There was one of each of them from when they were little and one that was taken the last time he saw them, at Christmas 2004.  Bill had asked his ex wife for a photo of the kids and she obliged by giving him a cheaply framed photo of four awkward looking people.

Former stepson is smiling bright.  Older ex-daughter looks a little spacey.  Younger ex-daughter's body language says exactly what she thinks of her real father.  Bill looks like he's trying to keep a stiff upper lip.  Thankfully, I wasn't around to see this scene in person because I wisely decided to stay home.

I know a lot of people think he's just a "sperm donor" because he and his ex wife split up and he wasn't in their lives on a daily basis.  But, in fact, Bill's kids had a dad who loved them very much and provided generously for them.  He could have given them more than just money and he really wanted to.  They were told a lot of lies about him and apparently lack the intellect or curiosity to seek the truth.

The other night, someone in the exmo group on Facebook asked divorced fathers how they could move away from their kids.  The poster was rather indignant.  It turned out she's pissed at her own dad for leaving her.  From what she wrote, it sounded like she had a good reason for being pissed.  However, I took exception to her rather accusatory tone that all dads who aren't physically "there" for their children are bastards.  Everyone's situation is different.  In Bill's situation, the ex got exactly what she set out to do, once it became clear that he wasn't coming back to her for more abuse.  I wish he'd been wiser and avoided her.  She's not fit to clean the shit stains out of his shorts, let alone make babies with him.

I told Bill what I found and he said it was time to throw the photos out.  They are just too painful to look at.  He took the bag, his eyes shining a little with emotion.  Now he's chipper again.  I think we've both recovered a lot, though it's taken years.  There's no point in holding onto those pictures anymore.  When I look at them, I am filled with revulsion and disgust, even as a small part of me feels sorry for those kids for what they ultimately lost.  But they don't appreciate Bill.  I don't think they have the capacity to appreciate him.

 


5 comments:

  1. I'm glad he had the strength to throw away the photos. It's not an easy situation, not at all. But there is something brave about making the choice to move forward and good for him for doing it!

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    1. Thanks Lawfrog. We sat down and had a rather difficult talk. I told him that stumbling across those photos had upset my peace. Every time I try to move on and stop thinking and talking about all that happened, something like this happens. He had said he was going to throw them out, but I reiterated to him that he needed to do something with them so that I don't come across them again.

      I had the same conversation with him back in 2006, when his ex had sent him a children's book about forgiveness that he used to read to his kids when they were little. He'd just chucked in a spare room where there happened to be a bathroom. Every time I saw it, it made me seethe. It was such a condescending, disrespectful thing to send to him... she'd done it because she felt he needed to learn the lesson. I told him to do something with the book so I wouldn't have to see it. Right before he deployed to Iraq, he sent it back to her with a note that read that she needed it more than he did.

      I have so many conflicting feelings about this situation. Mostly, I'm angry about it, though there is a small part of me that feels sorry for all five of ex's kids who invariably end up being used as ammunition against other people. At this point, we've been married longer than he and ex were and I figure I have earned the right not to innocently stumble across this stuff anymore. And he's at a point where he realizes he shouldn't have to stumble across it, either.

      He's a really good man. He has the right to enjoy the rest of his life without these nasty little guilty reminders. So do I.

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    2. If someone held an Internet contest for psycho exes from hell, Bill's former parasite would finish very high if not win the damned contest. t's so unfortunate kids ever had to be invloved, but how was he to know. he was doing the Mormon (nd even typical non-Mormon) thing in marrying nd producing children.

      While I'm sorry for the girls, they're now adults. It sort of reminds me of something my mom's best friend shared with me. When she was in labor wih one of her kids, some aidst turned th tV to headline news, which ws at that time, a repeat of thre nation's and world's top stories every half hour. She labored at the hospital for eighteen hours before they tried to suction the kid out and determined that he was going absolutely nowhere unless someone found an alternate route. The she ws still stuck n the room another half hour waiting round for the anesthesiologist to appear. (In a true emergency, the doctor and nurses hit the patient with general anesthesia, but this kid wasn't in any real distress, although I know him well, and I sometimes wonder about the wait for the anesthesia and his general boneheadedness. Im seriously digressing.

      The point was that one of the few stories that ran all day, in addition to Bush #1 no longer eating broccoli and gloriaEstevan having major surgery follwing her bus's accidet in which her little boy also broke an arm was a story that a convicted muderer, Robert Alton Harris, had his final death penalty appeal rejected. I cn't remember if it ws one of those things where an appeals cort of nine dcides or a single judge or even the governor did (perhaps harris' lawyers were asking for paanywayrdon. This all went down several years before I was born.

      Anyway, Harris was fro a tru batch of ditchbank Okie dustbowl settlers. Pictures attested to that, and showed his family tent camping at the farm labor camp. Someone testified of how, when Harris was maybe three, another sibling approached his mother as she was seated, and she stroked the child across the hair or face or soemthing to that effect. Robert Alton Harris approached his mother so that he, to a bit of affection fro his mother. Instead of showing him love, she either slapped him or pushed him on the ground; I cannot remember which. This, apparently was not uncommon. he kept rying and was continually rejected.

      What the offical who made the ruling said that while his heart bled for the child Robert Alton harris, he could not overlook the fact that he had brutally murdered two teenagers who were sitting in a car eating hamburgers and fries in their rural southern California community's equivalent to lover's lane.


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    3. If someone held an Internet contest for psycho exes from hell, Bill's former parasite would finish very high if not win the damned contest. t's so unfortunate kids ever had to be invloved, but how was he to know. he was doing the Mormon (nd even typical non-Mormon) thing in marrying nd producing children.


      While Bill's biologicaal daughters preumably are not depraved killers, there's still something bit metaphorical. They had a crazy, loveless mother who could only love herself and tauht them to be ultimately as ugle inside as she is (almost; I'm not sure anyone would be quite so ugly inside as psycho ex). still, ll but the most mentally ill among us is born with a moral compass that should kick in at some point between the ages og fourteen and eighteen. This moral compass should also come with a figurative urim and thummim (ask Bill about the lDS reference if it's unfamiliar to you) which should kick in around the legitimate age of reason (not eight,as the Mormons think, but the legitimat Piagetan emergence from concrete operatinal thought to the formal operational stage, which I believe occurs just a bit later in Mormons than in others because of the way they are ctively encouraged to follow their leadeers and dicouraged from thinking for themselves. still, the ability to reason and to know right from wrong and to know when they're bein lied to and manipulated comes to everyone within the normal cognitive range if he or she i willing to pay any attention whatsoever to what his or hr own mind is telling him or her.

      In this regard, Bill's daughters, though their mother metaphorically poisoned them, are still responsible. just as no one led Robert Alton Harris to the car of those two teens and forcd hi to brutlly murdering them, their mother no onlky has the control they allow her to have. regardless of what they've been raised to believe is true, they have formal operational minds now. They are responsible for their actions. they're not truestockholm syndrom victims, or at least I donot believe they are. They're adults who have the power to think but haven't yet exercised that power. If they someday choose to think for themselves and want to know Bill, that's very understandable, but it's also understandable for you to want to keep your distance while looking out for Bill's well-being at the same time. You couldn't stand back and let them take advantage of him if that were their plan, whihc is not beyond possibility. Some people see both sides and choose darkness.

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    4. I'm going to respond to this comment in a post.

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