A mere few days ago, an unexpected revelation intruded upon the tranquility of my life. The news was delivered not by a close relative or an intimate family friend, but rather, through the subtle words of a distant cousin. My mother, a pivotal cornerstone in the tapestry of my life’s narrative, had departed from this world.
The jarring truth was that her departure was not recent, not an event that had occurred within the span of the last few days or even weeks. She had breathed her last in February. The cold fact was unfurled to me in the warmth of June, a stark contrast that multiplied the shock of the delayed discovery.
For four long months, my everyday existence continued uninterrupted, oblivious to the seismic shift in my family dynamics. The sun rose and set, the seasons subtly transitioned from winter’s chill to spring’s bloom, and then to summer’s embrace. All the while, I walked the earth, unaware of the void that had formed with my mother’s absence.
With each passing day during those months, the bond that connected me to my mother was being unknowingly extended, stretched out over an expanding chasm of time. The woman who had given me life, had transitioned into the realm of memories, and I had been none the wiser.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, the realisation that such a significant life event could occur without your knowledge, causing you to question the very essence of time and connection. Each tick of the clock, every flip of the calendar, carried a hidden weight, a silent echo of the unshared grief that was only now making its presence known.
When the realisation finally descended, it was as if a veil had been lifted, revealing a hollowness that had quietly taken root in my life. I was left to grapple with an unexpected void—a sense of loss amplified by the belated discovery. The news echoed in the silent corners of my existence, filling the spaces with a tangible emptiness, a profound silence that only the absence of a loved one can invoke. Rejected one more, but final time.
How does one begin to articulate this sensation? The words seem insufficient to encapsulate the haunted vacancy left by such a loss. It feels like a piece of your identity—so closely woven with the thread of her existence—has been abruptly snipped off. You’re left holding the frayed ends, attempting to make sense of a narrative that has abruptly changed.
Each previously inconsequential moment now takes on a new weight, imbued with the knowledge of what was happening unbeknownst to me. The ordinary becomes extraordinary as you retrospectively experience these months through a lens of loss. Each laughter, each tear, each triumph, and setback is tinged with the invisible shadow of her departure.
An unanticipated discovery like this forces a reframing of personal history, a recalibration of emotional reality. It brings forth a torrent of questions, regrets, and unfulfilled wishes that surge like an unbidden tide, reflecting the profound impact of such a revelation. How does one traverse the aftershocks of this new reality? It is a journey of introspection, acceptance, and healing that must be embarked upon, one that promises a difficult, yet ultimately enlightening path.
In a cruel play of destiny, my pursuit of personal safety led to a separation from my abusive father. This necessary detachment, however, turned into a harsher reality than I’d ever envisioned, transforming into a complete exile from my family. This was a ripple effect I hadn’t foreseen, a fallout that left a profound impact on my relationship with those tied to me by blood.
The decision to distance myself was born out of self-preservation, a desperate attempt to shield my psyche from the relentless abuse. It was a choice made not out of animosity but out of a longing for peace and safety. However, the outcome was a sweeping isolation from my family, an all-encompassing severance of familial ties that felt like an unwarranted punishment for seeking refuge from the torment.
My therapist, Jane, had provided valuable insights into the toxic dynamics of abusive relationships, but it was only in the light of this new development that the chilling truth of her words truly sunk in. The familial alienation, the collective silence, the shared apathy towards my grief—each fitted disturbingly into the mold of the complex patterns often found in families dominated by an abusive figure.
My father’s twisted psyche, characterised by manipulation and control, was not just confined to our direct interactions but had seeped into the fabric of our family. The underlying dynamics of his personality—his ability to distort realities, to foster divisions, to inculcate fear—had cast long, inescapable shadows over our family structure.
The consequence of this pattern was a family environment where isolation was used as a weapon, and communication was a privilege, often denied. The victims of abuse, like myself, who dared to seek refuge, were not only shunned by the abuser but also by those in their sphere of influence.
Navigating this new landscape of isolation and understanding the dynamics that led to it was a daunting task. However, it was also an opportunity to understand the complexities of the abusive environment I had left and the twisted realities I had been forced to endure. This understanding was the first step towards healing and reclaiming my identity from the shadow of abuse.
Earlier, I had expressed my condolences to my cousin on the loss of her mother—my aunt. It was an act of respect, an adherence to the societal norm of sharing grief and offering support during times of loss. But, hidden within the string of comments and condolences on this public forum was a casual note left by a nephew, an innocuous statement that sent an unexpected jolt through my reality.
This comment, seemingly ordinary in any other context, triggered a disruption in my world. An instinctive sense of foreboding led me to probe further, to seek confirmation of the veiled truth that my intuition feared.
Reaching out, I ventured into the difficult territory of direct inquiry, my questions led me into the digital void for answers. The response I received confirmed my worst fears: my mother had indeed passed away. And it had happened in February. The news arrived like a time-delayed echo, amplifying the initial shock and amplifying the pain of the revelation.
Here I was, faced with the harsh reality of personal loss within the cold, impersonal confines of social media. A reality that should have been softly communicated in hushed voices and comforting embraces was instead blurted out on the cacophonous stage of a public platform. The incongruity of it was as jarring as the news itself, a stark reminder of the distance that had been allowed to form within my family.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, a stark reminder of how human connections could be warped by the complexities of personal histories and strained relationships. The impersonal nature of the revelation underscored the distance that had grown between my family and me—a distance that had led to such delayed and detached communication of a life-altering event.
What hurt more than the news of the loss itself was the cold, unforgiving silence from my family. The absence of communication, the omission of empathy, the dearth of common courtesy—all formed a cacophonous symphony of silence that echoed within the hollows of my being. In the wake of such a life-altering event, not one individual among those related by blood had considered it essential to reach out and share this news.
These were people with whom I shared a history, a lineage, an intertwined narrative. Yet, when faced with the demise of a woman who was not only my mother but also their kin, their silence was astounding. It was a profound non-action that spoke volumes, each moment of quiet adding another layer of hurt to the already painful revelation.
Regardless of how complex or strained my relationship with my parents had been, the fact remains that they were integral figures in my life. They were foundational bricks in the edifice of my existence, and their removal from the tableau of my life was a significant shift—an alteration in the fabric of my reality.
To be denied the opportunity to grieve, to not be afforded the courtesy of mourning the loss of these vital characters from my life’s narrative, felt cruel in its intensity. It was an emotional injustice that felt as unforgivable as the traumas inflicted during my childhood. It was a new wound inflicted upon old scars, the salt of neglect sprinkled on the still-sensitive wounds of the past.
This denial was more than just the omission of information; it was a denial of emotional space, of the fundamental human need to grieve and process loss. It was a denial of the opportunity to say a mental farewell, to find closure, and to start the healing process. The silence of my family, their collective decision to withhold the news of my mother’s passing, represented a palpable dismissal of my place in this family and my right to share in its collective grief.
This harsh reality served as a poignant reminder of the distance that had manifested within my family, a painful testament to the fractures in our connections. But, it also underscored the resilience of my spirit, my ability to navigate grief’s complex terrain, even in isolation, and reinforced my resolve to heal, grow, and rise above these trials.
In the distorted canvas of my father’s reality, his intentions were systematically directed towards one cruel purpose—to dismantle my spirit. Living in his warped reality, he played out his twisted script with the conviction of an innocent. He, the oppressor, donned the mask of a victim, while we, the actual victims, were cast in the villainous roles. A perverse role reversal was staged in his theatre of abuse, a chilling charade where the lines between victim and perpetrator were intentionally blurred.
The acts of belittlement and humiliation were routine, expertly woven into the everyday fabric of our lives. My worth was routinely questioned, and my identity persistently undermined, leaving deep imprints on my psyche. In his eyes, I was the unworthy ones, the one deserving of scorn and derision. It was an oppressive narrative, a storyline that aimed to degrade me, to strip us of our self-esteem and self-worth.
But the corrosion didn’t end with the direct acts of abuse. The venom seeped further, infiltrating the minds of the wider family. His narrative, a masterful blend of deception and manipulation, was propagated among our kin. Like a distorted gospel, it was preached and accepted, shaping their perception of our roles within the family.
This was not just a gross violation of truth, but a tactical move to isolate me further, to undermine my credibility, and to solidify his position of power. It created an echo chamber, a bubble within which his distortions went unchallenged, and his manipulations, unchecked. The wider family, fed with his skewed version of reality, became unwitting participants in the cycle of abuse and alienation.
The scars of such systemic, manipulative abuse run deep, shaping our interactions and our self-image. However, the first step towards breaking this cycle lies in acknowledging this painful truth, unmasking the distortions, and challenging the narrative that has been handed down. It’s in this reckoning that we can begin to reclaim our worth, rebuild our identities, and break free from the oppressive legacy of our past.
In the face of all that has transpired, all the pain endured and the gaping void that has taken residence in my heart, I choose love. This might seem paradoxical, but love is not about blindness to the flaws and failures of others. It is about recognizing them and yet choosing empathy. It is about looking at the abusers, the manipulators, and understanding that their actions were driven by their own pain, their own inadequacies, their own inability to nurture love.
My parents, despite their innumerable flaws and the terrible consequences of their actions, have given me the greatest gift possible: the gift of life. For this, I remain eternally grateful. Their behavior, their choices, their cruelty—those were and still are, deeply unacceptable. But underneath the weight of all their wrongs, I can still see the humans they were—the humans molded by their personal traumas, their struggles, their inability to break free from their toxic patterns.
It is this understanding that allows me to extend my love towards them. Despite the torment they inflicted, the pain they sowed, the wounds they left, I cannot ignore the fact that they were a crucial part of my journey. The existence that I have today, the resilience I have built, the wisdom I have gathered—all are, in part, products of the trials I had to face because of them.
It is this love that gives me the strength to say: I forgive you. Forgiveness is not about forgetting or condoning the wrongs, but about releasing the chains of anger and resentment that hold us captive. It is about liberating myself from the bitterness that could have easily consumed me. Forgiveness, for me, is the ultimate act of self-love. It allows me to heal, to shed the weight of past traumas, and to step into a future unhindered by the ghosts of my past.
As my parents journey into the afterlife, I wish them well. I extend my heartfelt prayers for their peace, for their liberation from their own demons. I wish them love, blessings, and the grace of forgiveness. The love I carry for them is untainted by resentment, unshackled by anger. It is the love of a child for their parents—the love that has endured the tests of time, the upheavals of life, and the harrowing path of healing.
In the radiant light of love, I bid them farewell. I release them from the ties of earthly transgressions, and I set myself free from the chains of unhealed wounds. As I continue my journey, I choose to carry only the lessons, the strength, and the love, leaving behind the burden of pain and resentment.
Today, I stand firm on the shores of healing, guided by the compass of love, fueled by the strength of forgiveness. And as I look ahead, I see the vast expanse of life awaiting me—a life brimming with possibilities, growth, and profound peace. I step into this new phase of my journey, my heart alight with love, my spirit aglow with resilience, ready to embrace the unfolding chapters of my existence.
Today, I am okay.