Last night I sat next to my son on his bed, with my arms around him, and tried to bring him comfort. He is bigger than me now. As long as I live, I shall want to protect him. The worries of the world laid heavy, brought too close to home with an ugly letter, yet again, from the sorry side of my husband’s family.
This Utopia we try so hard to create for our home, our lives, our children can so quickly and easily be crushed. For just a little while. And then we hold each other and remember what really matters, and lift each other up. I try. For my son, I will always try. We can not always explain the injustices in the world any more than we can explain the wrong doings so close to home, within our home. Yet we do our best, learn what not to be, what not to do, remember we have a choice. We choose the positive. We hold each other and the world becomes a little better.
I could never watch the news. I took it all so personally. How could there be such hatred and unfairness in the world? I was distraught with human nature.
When I was 18, I was living and working in New York City. My boss was a heroin addict. When he tried to go clean, he went off the wall. In his fury, he wrote me a note tearing me apart. Ripping at me as if it were all my fault. I read the letter over and over again, and said “why?” I did not do drugs. I did not give them to him. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing more. He later apologized. Realized he was wrong, was sorry for the accusations and cruel words. The damage was already done. We can forgive. We should not forget.
It is happening again. This time from one of my husband’s family. I am glad it is not the greater part of his family. Fortunately it is only a few that we have all been so hurt by. But I am tired of it. I have had enough. I really do not know why. My husband says I am again in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am vulnerable here, exposed. I did not realize how much so.
And you, dear reader, have wondered why I would want to leave the home, the business, the life, the world we built, the mountain we know and love and have lived on more intimately than anyone ever before. Now you shall learn.
It is from the ongoing conflicts I have seen within my husband’s family that I have learned part of growing up may have to be choosing to walk away from the family from which you were born. Some things you can not change, the pain will not go away, and we learn to stop beating our heads on the brick wall. We can choose to leave. No family is perfect. I am lucky. The one I was raised in is rather solid. I find each one to be a good person. We care about each other. We treat each other respectfully. Sure we have our ups and downs. We sit down, talk, work things out. I thought this was how all families were. I was wrong. At some point, we find we have to stand up, we learn the well being of our selves, our spouse and our children out weighs the obligations of outgrown family ties. We try to get away. It is not easy. Blood oozes thicker than water. That does not make it better. Only stickier.
Today is my birthday. I am 43. It was probably 30 years ago I read “To Kill a Mockingbird.” At the time, of course, I thought I was Scout. I imagine many a young tom-boy girls have read the book and felt the same. But I was lucky. I also knew Atticus. A real live Atticus. He was my father. A man who taught me more powerful than with words, but by example, the importance and the power of truth.
He is still my Atticus, my father, and still reminds me of the ever importance of honesty. I keep him in mind today.
I didn’t realize how unusual being willing to stand up for the truth is. It is hard. It is frightening. It is often times painful. But at the end of the day, it is what has to be done. We may lose sleep with the worries of the world heavy on our mind, but we can know we have done something about it. Something right.
As a child I lied, and I remember the guilt. My father would not need to punish me, need not even say a word. My conscience alone taught me how wrong it was. And so, I learned to try, I have tried to build my life upon truth. My truth perhaps, but one I truly believe is right.
Yesterday I received another nasty note from one of my husband’s family. This is not the first time. I wish it was the last. I am afraid it will not be. They can not leave us alone. In it, I was accused of lying, and yet I know not what my lies are claimed to be.
It is this part of my husband’s family who taught me about lies. Too close to home. The part of his family which was built upon deceit. Their greatest of which, this ranch, was founded on falsehood, obtained with deception. I was nearly 40 when I found out. Already married and a part of this family. I didn’t think it was fine, imagine many would have been hurt by it had they known, and although leaving the truth hidden would indeed be easier, I have been unable to sit with such untruths. I can not look his family in the face without seeing the facts, and wonder how, and why can you justify such falsehood? An unfortunate truth. Living with lies. Building on lies. Is it these that bind families together? Or tear them apart.
I don’t know what lies I can be accused of. From the stories I have heard from a distance, I believe I am better off if I do not know. The stories are ugly enough, have hurt me enough. I know my life is true. I do not live a lie. I do not tell lies. You might not like my life, nor like what I say, but I can pretty well guarantee you this: it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge.
I will not live with dishonesty, and teach my son that truth is stronger, more powerful, and worth standing up for. We try to be Atticus, even for just a little while. I am not as strong, not as wise, not as brave. It is easier to try to stay away. Walk away when need be.
We have tried to stay away. We separated our land, our home, our business. We separated our lives. We built fences and learned no fence is high enough to hold back hatred. Peeking over fences, peeking into our life, and now we find, peeking unwelcomed into our world through this blog.
I suppose I should be flattered they are so concerned with my view of the mountain and my simple day to day. I am not. I am tired of it. I wish to be left alone, have my husband freed from this hurtful side of his family, and my son protected from hateful people being too close. This is not what we want for our children. This is not how we wish to teach them family can be. This is not home.
One can not build Utopia with such abhorrence across the fence. And although we may never build a perfect world, we can build a better one. Our need to try is stronger than our pride in what we have built here, our love for the mountain, our home.
And so we have chosen to move on.
I don’t know if distance will finally free us. In the meanwhile, we are still here, waiting for a chance to move, our lives to change, to sell this home and start anew. Change does not come fast enough. We try. We wait. What more can we do.
I can ask my in-laws, those few that would rather share hatred than love, again to leave us alone. We are leaving as fast as we can. You can remain on your ranch, your pride and joy, that which I suppose was always more important to you than your family, and the truth.
And to my readers, my friends, my clients, and my dear family and in-laws, for which I am grateful far outnumber the other few, for any who did not know the reason for my discourse, the source of my tears, and the reason we must leave our home…. Now you know the truth.
Earlier this morning, I wrote to a friend, “I just need to vent, and then move on. I do not want to be so self absorbed. I am, here and now. It does not help. In fact, I think it helps more when I get over it and focus on the things we can all relate to, what we all need to hear. My simple mountain musings…
I have so much to be thankful for. I do not overlook these things nor dwell on the negative, but it is real, it is there and it has to be dealt with. I do not always know how.”
And so I move on. If not with our home yet, than with our life, our attention, our focus. Onto better things. Our family, our mountain, our world for now, and a beautiful world it is. What more important lesson can I teach my son?
Onto a brighter tomorrow.