I am currently getting my behind kicked by several, difficult astrological transits. Pluto at 7* Capricorn is hitting my 4th house, opposing my 10th house 6* Cancer Sun, while Uranus at 8* Aries squaring it, being the most significant. Add a little Mars ( 7 degrees Libra) action and - Super not fun. Lots of death and rebirth stuff going on. Who doesn't love that? Here is a little insight into my world of yesterday and today.
I suspect that for the first four years of my life, my relationship with my father was probably very sweet. My mother says he adored me and I have no memories to contradict that.
In fact, the one clear memory I have of him was when I was four, and we were driving down the street in a station wagon. I believe it even had wood paneling. My parents knew how to roll! My father stopped to pick up a hitchhiker and then proceeded to sell him the car for $2. Yep, two dollars. Even at four, I knew that price was a little too low. I was wise enough to know that mom was going to be mad; but still tickled that we each got an ice cream cone with that two dollars. I knew something wasn't right, but it would be clear that things were really wrong, pretty quickly.
My father was soon absorbed completely into his illness. With manic depression, (now called Bi-polar disorder) many people attempt to self medicate long before they are officially diagnosed. Given my parents were dyed in the wool, hippie freaks, the self medicating was boundless. You name it they were doing it. My mother, who was a farm girl from Iowa and father, a California boy, were dropping acid, smoking pot, doing blow and were open to experimentation in all the ways hippies are. Free love. Far out. Unfortunately, the combination of mental illness and several hits of acid at a wedding reception, pushed him into schizophrenia.
Much of the next few years were spent with my mother frantically chasing after my father, who would just up and leave, in his quest to become " Higher and Clearer". My mother and he had only known each other for three weeks before she got pregnant with me and my father was pressured into giving up his dream job, racing three quarter midgets. Actually,he was offered a full car, just as a good friend of his was killed on the track and my mother told him he had to choose between having a family and being a driver. He was racing with the likes of AJ Foyt and Al Unser and had a promising career ahead of him. Sadly, for all of us, he chose family. I believe he tried his hardest to do the right thing, but being asked to give up something you really love, for a beautiful woman who was having a baby that might not even be his, would have been hard on anyone. Harder still on a man who had felt abandoned by his own parents as a little boy and was determined that he would never do that to his own kids.
Mental illness is a tough bitch though and she doesn't much care what your plans are.
So, my mother left my entirely too mature and responsible, four year old self and my six month old sister with a neighbor, and went chasing after my father for a few months. She would eventually talk him into coming back home, things would feel their normal crazy (its hard for things to feel safe when your parents are often high on some kind of drug or other and fighting) right up until my father would start to feel crazy again (approximately every other spring) and shortly there after take off after that "clear high" he was sure, was attainable. We got left with whomever was around and I learned not to attach to anything other than my little sister.
Maybe because I was a kid and kids always think everything is somehow because of them; maybe I was intuitive, or maybe some combination of both, but I felt like it was all my fault that my father was not sweet with me after that. Looking back at things, I am sure it was a combination of guilt and resentment on his part. I look so much like him that he knew I was his, but I was still about as welcome as a great aunt who smells like moth balls and wet naps, who has to be tolerated.
There are many stories about the craziness I survived (crazy can sometimes be entertaining) but those are blogs for later. What presses on my mind today was 20 years ago when I was 25. My father, medicated and as sane as he ever would be, returned my call after I left him a birthday message. Its been so long, that I don't remember the whole conversation but what I do remember, was that I finally had enough and said what had weighed on me for most of my years.
"What's wrong Dad?"
"Nothing Hilary, its just really hard to talk to you."
"You know Dad, I really hope I follow all of my dreams, no matter how crazy they are, because I would hate to resent my son for the rest of my life because I didn't have the courage to do that."
And then he said the most searingly painful words I have ever heard.
"Well that wont happen for you Hilary because you've bonded with Ryan and you love him. That just never happened for us. I just never bonded with you."
I don't even remember what I said after that. I was so hurt and blind with the pain of hearing what I had known was true since I was four.
My own father didn't love me. Pretty much excluding the possibility that anyone could. You've got to be pretty inherently flawed for your own parent not to love you.
I tell this story to bring us to now. July 2012. My father has been in the hospital for the past 5 weeks. The ICU for the first 16 days. He is really, really sick with complications made worse by the last manic episode, 12 years ago that ended in car accident where he banged his head and broke his face. My sister, younger brother and I have sat in shifts at his bedside.
And something has finally clicked that was explained intellectually so many years ago but never quite made its way into my heart.
My father had the same damage in his childhood that I had in mine.
His father left when he was six, forcing his mother to leave him with her in laws and put her two daughters into foster care, while she went to nursing school so that she could support herself and her kids. Her reasons didn't matter to a six year old. He was abandoned. There is a whole sad story there, that will be told eventually, but here is what I now, know.
This may or may not be the sunset of my fathers life, but here, at what is at least late in the day:
It was never about him not loving me. It was about him not knowing how to love. He believed that he was fundamentally unlovable and all the words in the world would never have made a difference. Seeing his three children show up every single day, both of his ex wives and his best friend all sitting at his bedside with cards from the people at his apartment complex and even all the restaurants he frequents, has proven at last, that Robert Michael Hale, the soul inside of him, is loved.
He is not wondering if he is loved anymore. He is sure he is
And that is what it has finally taken, at the age of 46, after years of therapy, countless relationships and a difficult relationship with my own son who has inherited my fathers addiction/mental illness, to make me understand that I am lovable too.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world; the master calls a butterfly. ~ Richard Bach
Jul 14, 2012 4:30 PM
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Sep 9, 2012 12:50 AM