I have been thinking, in my own scattered, haphazard way, about family these days since the funeral. Which, by the way, was attended by lots and lots of people who loved Tracy dearly.
I was glad that we four siblings cared enough to come together in this time of crisis. I mean, sometimes family is all we have.
I didn't grow up feeling particularly close to my two older brothers. I was mostly allowed to hang around them if I remained silent and didn't cause trouble. Second Oldest brother, being the middle child at the time, tormented me mercilessly - I think just to make me cry. Little brother came along when I was almost eleven. He was like my own baby doll. But when our parents fought, we each retreated to our own room and coped by ourselves. I pulled the covers over my head and tried to block out the noise of their arguments. We grew up with unhappy and tormented parents. What is surprising and gratifying to me is that my three brothers are pretty damn good fathers in spite of such a poor role model. I am so proud of them for that.
When I was seven, I remember having lunch with my dad. Why it was just us two, I don't know. We had tomato soup from a can, hot from the saucepan. He was silly and said, "Boy, this soup is so cold!" to which I replied, "Daddy, you're such a fool!" The next thing I remember is being back handed and falling against the stove. I reckon I abused his pride, I don't know. What I do know is that I was seven, he'd never done this to me before and what he did wasn't right. I thought, "I don't love you anymore!" And I didn't. Ever.
You might think that age seven is too young to think such a thing. But I meant it. What did I do wrong? I didn't know, but after that, I hated him and that incident was always just under my radar. Family gatherings bring it to the surface. Brothers, that is why I either avoid gatherings or end up in tears if I do attend. That slap changed my life and not for the good. Older Brothers have different memories, I know, of our growing up. All I know is that my Mom was my only refuge; she protected me from my father. I was never hit again by him but the threat was always there and I lived in fear and hatred of him.
Does this little tale have a point? Not really, except that I needed to say it. To tell my brothers about it - as an explanation of me. I'm ashamed that at age 49 this episode still haunts me and brings me to my figurative knees.