Friday, February 24, 2012

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

I am home today, waiting for the plumber to come and repair a leaky toilet.  As I wait for our handyman, I can't help but think he is going to walk in and ask how the baby is.  The last time we used him was about a year ago when we did some renovations to our kitchen and wanted to get them done before we had a baby crawling around and before all our extra money went to day care expenses.  My how things change.

Last night my mom and I went into Center City to see a play.  We got tickets last minute and jumped at the chance to spend an unexpected week night together.  We drove down after work and there was a lot of traffic so we had plenty of time to talk.  We talked about all kinds of things - from my job to hers (she is retiring later this year and more than ready) to our recent shopping spree to the weather (it was unseasonably warm here in PA this week) and naturally, of course, Allie.  

Before I continue, I need to give you some background information.  I did not have the most ideal childhood.  While I was always fiercely loved, there was a lot of turmoil.  My father left a year after my mom's brother passed away unexpectedly in his early 40's.  She was never lower and left to raise 3 kids by herself.  My father was still around, but never hands-on and never the way any of us needed him to be.  A few years later, mom remarried.  My father did not like the idea of another man raising his kids and all kinds of ugliness ensued.  Custody battles, court was bad.  

Over a decade later, that second marriage ended as well.  My mother was shattered all over again.  She often blames herself for picking the wrong men, when in fact, both men were not the men she married by the time it came to the end of the relationships.  

My relationship with my father was a rocky one.  For years and years, we did not speak at all.  He would pick up my brothers for visitation and I would hide inside the house so he would not see me. For a time he tried to get me to visit as well, but eventually he gave up.  As a teenage girl trying to find her way, this was not an ideal situation, to say the least.  Years of therapy and plenty of growing up later, we managed to somewhat repair our relationship.  While he was never really my father and did not raise me, for a while there, he did become my friend.  The last few years he has gotten very ill and he is the shell of the man he once was.  Watching his decline has been very hard and so very sad.

Ok...enough history.  Back in the present, as we are waiting for the play to start, my mom remarked to me that it feels even more unfair to her sometimes that we lost Allie as I had already suffered enough.  I had already been through so much.  And while I understand what she meant and how it might be like that for her, for me, it's like nothing bad ever happened before.  Carrying my daughter to term and delivering her still was THE worst thing that has ever, could ever,  will ever happen to me.  It trumps having parents who divorced while I was still young.  It's more significant than me having to tell a judge at 14 years old that I wanted to live with my mom and not my dad.  It's far more important that having a father who did not know how to love his only daughter.  It just is.

So here I sit, waiting for our handyman who is now late, wondering what he will say if and when he shows.  And while I wait and type away, I realize that it does not matter what is worse as there are so many bad things that happen to so many good people.  It's how we deal with the bad things and how we cope and how we learn from them that makes us who we are.  Does everything happen for a reason?  I used to think so, but now I don't.  But I do know that you can't just give up.  You have to keep going.  At least I do.

Now excuse me...I have a plumber to call.

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