I came face to face today with a caldron of pain that I sat fire three years ago. The last time I saw my Stepmother was 3 or 4 years ago. In a Xanax fueled rage I fired off several searing , scathing, bitter emails to her unleashing my father's secrets and any dagger I could hurl to hurt her. White hot venom spewed in me and hurt burned through me like a Salem Witch back in the day. I was angry, not just angry at her and the way she did or did not play a part in the ending of my parents 33 year marriage, I was taking out my anger at my dad on her too.
I was stunned today to find an old woman living in my fathers house. Her face completely shifted and gnarled. She had no makeup on so I caught her in a moment of non-concealment. I was just stunned and frightened that she had such a darkness about her, a dark unrecognizable distorted countenance.
I knew from instruction what I could say and what I couldn't.
I was only permitted to say I apologize for injecting so much pain and confusion into your life with my words. An excuse would only invalidate the apology. It was her turn finally to tell me what she wanted to. For nearly forty minutes she detailed every single hurtful thing I had said , done and caused. Face to face. I saw each hurt come alive as the spilled from her unpainted lips. The most surprising thing that happened as she went through this speech she had rehearsed for years is she casually threw in that she wanted in her mind to have my dad present when she let loose. No, I tell you what , the real surprise is how much compassion I had welling up inside me as I watched a bitter angry old lady account for all of the misinformation, gossip, misalignment I produced in her life. It was not shame, guilt or remorse I felt, it was the compassion I would have gladly given to a thousand strangers I had met. In the in end all I could tell her was above my apology I would never intentionally inflict hurt or pain to her life and that I would try my hardest only to be an asset to her. She then accepted my apology which was really neither here nor there, she got the chance to say the speech that she had been honing to a sharpened edge for years. I would have understood if she had refused to even speak to me, so the acceptance was very benevolent.
I wasn't responsible for all of the painful slings and arrows she told me to day, not by far. Some of the stuff she talked about had little to directly do with me, BUT make no mistake my toe was in that water. Since it is doubtful, she will ever get to address the rest of the cast list of assassins , I stood there and let her get it all out of her head and heart. This is the beginning of the real amends. I was able to stand for myself and for the others by proxy, the others who hurt her so badly.
I never felt like smarting off, I was completely encompassed by the love of spirit. I feel like I can sit at the big boys table at NA now.. That wasn't a pat on the head and a "So glad you feel better" response. This was a real stand there and allow her to react however she needs to. It was hard and uncomfortable and I wanted to be free of this resentment more than I wanted to put myself in a favorable light by interrupting with excuse.