The monster under my bed is gone. He left last year when he decided that sticking around on earth was too problematic…so, he took his own life last year, October 1. He wasn’t a monster of fairy tales or fiction, he was my bio-dad. I can’t entertain thoughts of refering to him as dad or father, although he indeed was. He was a difficult man, caustic, toxic, and as you might imagine, very dysfunctional. He failed at his first marriage, the marriage to my mom. He brought discord and vitriol to his second marriage to my stepmom. He alienated all of my stepmom’s family. He demeaned his mother — my beloved Nana. But, perhaps the most egregious wrong attributed to him was his treatment of me. He and I became statistics. He was the perpetrator, and I was the victim. He demonstrated just how sick he was when he decided to inflict sexual abuse on me. The unthinkable act that no loving, caring father could fathom carrying out. And then, not own it.
He had a lifelong penchant for laying blame on others, and deflecting his wrong-doing using some twisted justification. Living an unhealthy life had become routine with him. I knew of two other occasions when he had attempted suicide. He had been known to self-medicate. My sister and I have concluded that he had mental illness, but lack of clinical diagnosis meant we couldn’t name the illness specifically. Certain that we were right about our assessment, we never heard anyone in our family — primary and extended — discuss the health matters of a genetically pre-disposed, mentally ill head-of-the-household. His own father was cruel and harsh, but gifted with genius. His mother had her own brand of dysfunction going. When she was 18, in 1914, she became a statistic. An unwed pregnant teen. In 1914! Imagine? Secrecy was the order of the day while I was growing up. The secret is now out. No more family dynamic cloaked in “shhhhh…”
He is gone. My bio-dad. My monster. And I am full of relief and release. He can do no harm to me. He actually made my life easier by taking his own life. I don’t have to wonder if the next phone call will be his. He will not belittle me. He will not berate me. I have more to be thankful for, and less to be frightened of. Monster all gone.