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#426988 - 03/03/13 05:47 AM Forgetting and Forgiving..... not what you think..
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
My wife and I visited my parents for dinner tonight. Nothing fancy, just take-out. Dad and I went out to pick up the food.

As we drove we passed my elementary school. Had to. I'm kind of numb to it, just passing it on the road (usually at night) is tolerable. It's a very physically large school that takes up a lot of space on one of the main roads in my parents' town, it's basically not possible to get to my parents' house and NOT see the school unless you take a ridiculous roundabout backstreet path. Seeing the school from the outside is something I can tolerate.


We drive past the school.

And... Dad perks up a bit, and points, and says "That used to be your school!" With what sounded like pride. It IS a school the community is very proud of. They moved there to send me there.

I had told him it happened inside that school. I TOLD THEM BOTH IT HAPPENED *INSIDE* *THAT* *SCHOOL*!

He must have forgotten.

I'd only said "it happened inside the school" once, and it was at the very beginning of a pretty long disclosure talk that was surely wrenching and horrifying for him. Intellectually I know he's "allowed" to forget a detail like that based upon only hearing it once and briefly. He and Mom have been 110% supportive, they are completely on my side, they both want the perp dead, slowly, painfully, I had to calm Dad down to stop him from talking about it too realistically.

He forgot. He is allowed to forget a detail, allowed to forget like the first sentence I told him about it. He has never forgotten to support me, never failed at that. I have to keep reminding myself that under that circumstance of phrasing he is allowed to forget that detail. That he didn't mean anything by it and is totally completely on my side.

I didn't say anything in response, I just nodded my head. It was dark, he couldn't have seen the look on my face. Wasn't going to make a big deal over it. Didn't want to upset him. Same old story, same thought process from my entire young life. Why cause a scene?

I forgive him. He didn't mean anything by it, he has been so good to me. It was a simple mistake. I forgive him.

Cried later. I cry too fucking much nowadays. He is on my side, they both are, I know that. He hasn't forgotten what really matters.

He's still so proud of that school. Shining through in his voice, so proud. That they moved there for that school, that his boy went to that school, that his son's academic successes began at that school. He thought he was bonding with me by pointing it out with pride. He meant so well. He's always only meant well by me, and now more than ever he's only supported me.

I forgive him. Even as I sit here fucking crying AGAIN, I forgive him, he didn't know what he was saying, he didn't, he didn't.

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#426989 - 03/03/13 06:03 AM Re: Forgetting and Forgiving..... not what you think.. [Re: SoccerStar]
peroperic2009 Offline

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3846
Loc: South-East Europe
Hey (((Matt)))
I'm sure he didn't forget it, just you know how are people, sometimes some detail is not big for them as for us it is.
I'm sure your dad was very proud on you and he thought on you as good student and successful man and good son when he pointed to your school.
It is different with us survivors, one our part never move from some memories/places no matter on occasion, it is always there, waiting, hurting, staying like in prison.

While you were passing by your school your father and you just weren't at same place in your minds. You have had different perspectives.

Place where we are imprisoned is very lonely, it is difficult to have some company there if ever.
More than 11.000 survivors present here are talking about it every day frown

Hang on my friend, you are not alone


My story

#426990 - 03/03/13 06:25 AM Re: Forgetting and Forgiving..... not what you think.. [Re: SoccerStar]
DavoSwim Offline

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 394
Loc: Midwest
Your story is very inspirational. You show yourself to be a man of character, by understanding your dad and not fighting with him over his failure to associate the school with your pain. I have never seen a better example of forgiveness. You are a good son, among other things.

I will remember your story as I deal with my parents and their support of my story. I will use this a model of thinking and acting in similar situations. Thank you for telling about this incident. It is helpful more than you realize.

#426997 - 03/03/13 02:34 PM Re: Forgetting and Forgiving..... not what you think.. [Re: SoccerStar]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1253

I'm sorry that you had that experience. I'm preparing myself to finally disclose to my parents. I imagine scenarios similar to what you desribe---though thankfully the camp isn't anywhere near here. My first response to your post was one of (((Matt))). I'm not much of a hugger, but I put myself in that car with the prospect of driving by that place. It is a difficult thought to say the least.

Your dad recalls all the good that emanates from the school. That's a normal response. But this isn't a normal situation. He is treading across Terra Incognita. There are mantraps here. Ancient cartographers would simply say "There Be Dragons Here."

Your dad is obviously supportive and proud of you. He is still learning how to navigate this land. His comment was normal---if not an unwitting trigger for you. Your reaction was also normal and healthy. You forgave your dad. That's key.

I then switched perspectives to look at this logically.

In your dad's case, he views the school in terms of Euclidian coordinates (x, y, z). As a survivor, we add the time (t) component automatically which corresponds with what happened at x, y, z.

I don't mean to get in the weeds with causality and spacetime, but I have been thinking quite a bit lately about "good places," "bad places," AND "good times," and "bad times." I'm really trying to see if it is possible to tease apart the good from the, music, toys, objects, etc. from that time and place...

Is it a fool's errand? I don't know, but I feel a purpose in doing this. This may or not be your style, but I've had some success with it lately. I'll stop as soon as it stops working.

Don't be afraid of the tears. Let them come. It's part of the healing process.

Take care.


Edited by Suwanee (03/03/13 02:37 PM)
I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before


#426999 - 03/03/13 03:02 PM Re: Forgetting and Forgiving..... not what you think.. [Re: SoccerStar]
Candu Offline

Registered: 07/01/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
I'm sorry Matt. I can't tell you when the tears will stop because I don't know yet myself.

#427004 - 03/03/13 05:26 PM Re: Forgetting and Forgiving..... not what you think.. [Re: SoccerStar]
cant_remember Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1070

I can relate.

Back in early October, when the man who I suspect was my perp died, his obituary was on the radio, and I heard it while I was in my parent's kitchen with my mother.

Mom said it was "sad," just making conversation, and I managed to say, "yep," or something... but inside my trauma reflexes were springing into high gear.

Later that week, I dropped the ball on a freelance project and took a beating on a phone call because I knew I couldn't risk arguing without risking losing control of my emotions. I alternated between states of zombie-like detachment and crying spells that cramped my abdominal muscles.

So I feel like I can relate to what you're going through now: triggered unintentionally by family in a very hard way, then left alone to cry it out.

The next week, I was able to revisit that phone call and have a productive outcome. So maybe you can add this topic to the "to-talk-about" list with your father, just to say something like, "Dad, I know you're proud of me and proud of the school, but to me, at least right now, that place is the scene of the crime, and right now I don't see it as anything but the place where it happened. It's not the school that made me smart and successful; that was you and mom."

Feel free to PM or call if you're still having trouble today.

I'll be just fine and dandy
Lord, it's like a hard candy Christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But I won't let sorrow get me way down.


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