When your abuser dies

AF died this morning. The emphysema has won, and he breathed his last breath around  2am.

I was so damned ready to have a good day today, to enjoy the MIL thanksgiving dinner. And then mom calls with the news. I am not laughing at the cosmic joke, that I prepared for an entire month to have a lower stress day, and was succeeding, until the call. Seriously. not funny.

I’m not feeling sadness or grief. I grieved for a lack of a father long ago. I have no more tears to shed for him. I thought I would feel more relief, but maybe he lost so much of his power over me that I don’t need relieved. I guess I am somewhere between dancing in the streets and singing “Ding Dong the witch is dead” and  simply feeling the loss of human life like when you read about the death of a stranger.

I am not attending the funeral services. My oldest brother thinks this is wrong. Oldest brother will be reading a passage at the mass, and is taking on many of the ‘obligations’. I would have been fine to let the state take care of him if his siblings weren’t up to it. The thought of people gathering to honor the life of this man is not a happy thought. He feels bad that so far they do not have enough pall bearers. This man has no friends or family willing to attend, let alone play an active role in the ceremony. He died alone.

I have already stated my side of things to anyone who might attend. If they wish to honor him I will not prevent this. I need no closure, I am done.

My mom and brother with schizophrenia will not be attending. My middle brother is going out of guilt after speaking to oldest brother, but he intends to sneak in to the back quietly and get out quickly. I don’t think I could do it quietly. Listening to kind words and praise would send me over the edge.

So I started listing out the gifts given to me by my father. 16 years or torment to myself my siblings, my mom, and my pets. Nightmares and a basic fear of sleeping from this nearly nightly abuse. Social anxiety. poor body image. anorexia/binge eating. perfectionism. self loathing. life long pain and suffering. Basically he removed everything natural to a human and made it a daily struggle for me to do what others do naturally – eat, sleep, breathe, smile, laugh, cry, love and be loved.

My mom says she has mixed feelings only because he gave her us kids. Do I need to be grateful to him for my actual existence? I don’t feel it. I can’t. I still struggle some days with wanting to be alive at all, so the thought of never being born has often been a comforting one.

I am doing what is right for me. I don’t think this is avoidance or hiding. I have nothing to prove, and nothing to say.

Oldest brother is also afraid of ‘what would people think?’ if none of his children show up? He thinks it will make us look like A-holes instead of the creep in the casket. I don’t care what anyone thinks. They chose not to believe the truth over 20 years ago, I’m done speaking up. If they want to think we are all ungrateful children – so be it.

I wish I could I have one less problem without him – but the truth is – the effects of what he did to me will always be an integral part of my life.

Oldest brother said he spoke to AF last week, and was told he has about 3 weeks to live. Brother asked AF “are you at peace?” he said yes. Brother asked AF again, seeking some sign of remorse, “but are you at peace with your maker?” and he said ‘oh yes, definitely’. This man, alone and dying, still thinks he lived a righteous life and will be welcomed into heaven. I don’t personally believe in heaven, as much I may try, but I can’t imagine there is a place there for such a cruel man.

I am not pleased by his suffering, or him dying alone. That part saddens me. I am curious if anyone will shed a tear at his funeral, but not curious enough to attend.

This post was supposed to be about my progress, how I joined in socially and had a nice thanksgiving. Maybe next year. Instead I felt I had to tell everyone who I was talking to so seriously and why I abruptly left the room. I tried to get SIL alone to talk, she was busy with her kids. 1st SIL appeared with BIL, my niece, my other SIL all in coats, and asked if I was talking to someone from work. I said no and told them my news. They got all weird and said they were going out black friday shopping, did I want to come? Ummm no. I tried to get hubby alone to talk, and seriously right then my other SIL drove her car into a ditch and got stuck and everyone had to run outside to help and tow it out with the big farm truck. I tried to talk to MIL when she was sitting alone and she got right up to check on SIL. I gave up. I know no one wants to talk about this crap, I don’t even want to talk about this crap, but I have NO F-ING CHOICE!

Apparently when I left the room they all started talking about how wrong it was that I did not plan to attend the services. But no one talked to me directly. Yuck. Blah. I’m out of words. I felt so alone in my world of pain and burden once again. I guarantee I still being talked about and I wanted was a human ear and for life to stop just a moment for me – but it never does. my problems are just that – my problems.

Hubby listened once we got back home and I was able to talk some of it through. But then I knew I needed to blog, to write and write to capture this day and sort it out. I’m trying to do this, and I see he has fallen asleep. I need to get the kids in bed. I can’t even say how much I was counting on him to handle that tonight. I’ll be shocked if I sleep at all.

I think I’ll tuck in kiddos and call middle brother, just to hear his voice and see if he’s ok.

oh and some amazing power of the universe thing, today was AF’s birthday. It somehow pleases me that he died on his birthday, almost like it erased his life entirely. Seems fitting.




7 thoughts on “When your abuser dies

  1. R2B, I’m so sorry to hear about this. I can only imagine how difficult it has been for you. I’m also sorry that you didn’t have anyone to discuss it with or to show you any empathy. To be honest, I’m disappointed that your in-laws could be so insensitive. (And yes, they appeared to be insensitive.) I also think it was horrible to judge you and talk behind your back. Completely not OK.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’ve made a good decision to not attend the funeral. Really, what could be gained by it? You do NOT owe it to anyone to mourn for a man who was so absolutely horrible to you, no matter how he is related to you. I will never understand why people believe that you should continue relationships with people who are so horribly abusive. If a stranger, or a neighbor, or teacher had done what your father did to you, NO ONE would expect you to attend their funeral. It just boggles my mind that, because he is your father, people guilt others into obligations that are ludicrous.

    Stay true to you. This can’t be easy. Sending hugs and positive thoughts.

  2. Seconding what Jessie said.

    My sister and I have agreed when NM dies, neither one of us will attend the service. Neither one of us can bear the thought of listening to people talk about how wonderful she is. I think those who believe all is well will have a rude awakening on the other side. I hold to a quote I heard 30 years ago: Hell is truth seen too late.

    I’m also sorry you had no one to give you what you needed, a listening hear, support, validation. It feels like one last nasty smack from the abuser. However, the truth is that he lost everything that matters: Honor and love. Without those two things, everything is as ash.

    You have both honor and love. Keep fighting for you. (((R2B)))

  3. It’s been a very challenging day, and the ramifications of how you will eventually come to terms with his death will likely catch you by surprise several times during the coming months. I can say that when my father died, initially, I was very disappointed that I didn’t feel an immediate sense of relief. Now, some six or seven years later, the relief has finally found me, in increments, almost quietly sneaking up on me when I’m not even paying attention. My hope for you is that you’ll remember to be kind to yourself as you navigate this time in your life. You’ve gained so many valuable tools along the way, and they will surely help you as you untangle where you will eventually land.

    I’m with Judy. Keep fighting for you. (((R2B)))

  4. You are doing the right thing, for you and you are the only one that matters. You owe nothing to anyone else, especially not to AF or those members of your family who would guilt you into appearing at a funeral to honor him. I would say something rude here but….well, f*ck him and them.

    You do what is right. You fight for you.

    I am sorry your in-laws were not more sensitive but sometimes empathy and compassion are simply missing.

  5. R2B
    I am grateful that I read your words today. The holidays are always a mixed blessing.
    I think, yes just think at this time, that I will attend my abusers’ funeral. I know I will be scorned and ostracized just like I was at my Dad’s funeral, and I gave the eulogy there!! It is important for me to come full circle and I think my showing respect for the fact that she gave me life is important to me.
    I support you on your journey to healing and send you love and empathy from a rainy, thank the Ggods, California!

  6. Hugs, sorry to hear no one understood your need to share how you felt and process this information. I think your statement that you don’t need to grieve or feel relief because in a way he was already mourned…in a way he died to you years ago. In my opinion, do what is right for you. I think the whole world would be better off if we didn’t worry about what others thought about us. I am glad you felt like you could share what you are feeling here on your blog. Sending cyber Hugs.

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