Sunday, May 04, 2008

Bear With Me

I usually try to keep most of my posts on this blog light and humorous. I do sometimes have issues, as we all do, that I like to vent about. I have, however, never really talked much about my life as a child. I've never pulled any of my skeletons out of my closet and thrown them at you.

I'm finding the need to today. I must warn you, this may be a long post. I tend to ramble when my mind is filled with past memories. Forgive me.

I had a dream last night. It was about my father. In my dream, he died. I walked in to his wake and at the front of the room was his casket. It was open. Next to the casket were his three sisters, my aunts. They were nodding at well-wishers as they tried to speak through their tears.

I took a deep breathe and walked forward. I knelt down at the casket and made the sign of the cross. I stood up and moved toward my aunts. They all burst out crying and told me how sorry they were.

I looked at them with absolutely no emotion and said, "Thank you." I turned toward the door.

Walking out I heard gasps and whispering, "That's it?" "She's leaving?" "She didn't even shed a tear."

My Aunt B. chased me outside where she proceeded to give me a piece of her mind. "How can you be so cold!" "He's your father!"

Blah, Blah, Blah.

I just walked away and smiled at the sense of relief that washed over me.

I then woke up.

Did you ever have a dream so vivid it stays with you all day? Well, that was one of those dreams. It was so realistic. And the thing that is bothering me so much, is that I'm afraid that is exactly how I will one day react to the passing of my father.

My father and I are pretty much estranged. He calls maybe twice a year. Usually it's when he's had a few too many and must be feeling either lonely or guilt-ridden. The conversations usually revolve around him and last approximately 5 minutes.

Then I spend the next 2 days reeling from it. I resort back to the little girl I was when he was in total control. The girl he demeaned and abused. I long for the father I should have had.

It's easier keeping our distance.

I've kept him away from my children. Yes, he's met them. He has seen my oldest a few times in the past 10 years. Most times it has been at a funeral. He has seen my youngest child once, the day after she was born, where he also saw the middle child for the second time. The first time for him was also the day after he was born.

It's the way it needs to be. I will protect my children from all the harm he is capable of. No matter what it takes.

He was a horrible father. He destroyed my self-esteem and my self-worth. He left bruises; physically, mentally, and emotionally. He was abusive to my mother, which made me become her protector. It's a trait I wear to this day, it's one she should have possessed, to protect me and my siblings.

I hope every day that I have taken that hurt and turned it into strength. I do see some of my father in myself. I try to correct that.

I tell my children I love them instead of calling them names. I try nurturing them instead of tearing them down. I hug them instead of hit them. I respect them instead of use them.

And when I fail to do the right thing, I own up to it and make it right.

So, I am wondering. What is this dream? Is it a message? Am I to take something from it? Why is my subconscious showing me this?

My smile, it seemed so wrong in my dream. But then again, it is quite fitting.


Jennifer H said...

We have much in common, though it was a stepmother who treated me as your father did you (though my mother would never win a mothering prize, either).

And that dream, about the wake, is exactly as I imagine either of the two funerals of my two mothers.

I don't know the purpose of the dream, but I think that sometimes our brains manage to sync some essential information, and what comes out in a dream is reflection of that. Maybe you're at peace now, in a way you weren't before?

I found your blog from a comment you left at Oh, the Joys, and had to click over here since my maiden name was Schmitt.

I'm glad I did. :-)

Zephra said...

Sounds to me like you are letting it go. AT least subconsciously. Is that how you felt in the dream? Free?

I have always interpreted dreams by asking myself how I felt in them and then asking what in my life makes me feel that way.

Laura said...


To me, it seems your dream is hinting towards a since of control and acceptance. They say death and taxes are the only certains in life...maybe the stage of a funeral is reaffirming that the steps you have taken to protect your children and the steps you have taken to protect yourself and to heal are two certains in this situation - two things that needed to be done.

By you being in complete control, perhaps this indicates that deep down you knwo that he no longer has control over you and your life and your feelings - that you are now in control, or at least striving to be in control. That you are the person who can control his reach into your adult life and your smile indicates that you have, or are starting to realize this...and that you do, or will, feel at peace with that.

Perhaps the comment from people saying, "What, that is it?" Is affirmation that your father caused you pain and abuse and that it surprises people that you could be so hurt by someone, but still beable to find yourself and move on. Their statement is more like, "what, she is not oging to be-little him and curse him and get all emotional?" Do you know what I am trying to say???

I think you should try to take comfort in this dream - comfort in knowing that you are the bigger and better person - and perhaps the next time he does call, you only dwell for one day and not two. That as you grow older and your life with your loving husband and children continues to be your strength, that you can forgive...not forget, but forgive him for being so terrible to you. There is a big difference in forgiving and forgetting... I cannot relate totally to your experieinces, but I was in an abusive dating situation for many years - I am just starting to come to terms with it all - and I am trying to forgive, but I will never forget...and I hope to have the last smile...

HUGS to you --- thank you for sharing.

I hope you do not think me a crazy fool for my thoughts on your dream, but you captured it so wonderfully, I could see it in my thoughts and it all made perfect sense to me...and as a friend, I am so very proud of you.

Valerie said...

I understand how you feel. This is how I imagine my stepmother and fathers funeral will be. I too keep my distance to protect my family.


Maria said...

Actually, I think that dream was a big breakthrough for you. It sounds as if you have made some peace with the facts of your life and some decisions that work well for you and your children.

I think your decision to keep your children away from someone who was the source of such hurt is a sign of great love for your babies.

You have become what your mother couldn't and all on your own, in your own time and in your own way. I think that says volumes about you.

Bonnie said...

I have nothing wise to say on the suject. I just wanted you to know that I am sure you are doing a better job. Remember no one is perfect. Your Father in Heaven loves you and wants you to suceed in all things. Even if your earthly father is lacking.

Izzy said...

I think it's a sign of letting go and moving on. In dreams, death can be symbolic for change, as well as new beginnings but only you would know if that's accurate :)

EE said...

kudos to you for breaking the cycle!

We're still in the testing stages with Reilly. I'll keep you updated:)

Leigh said...

You are a strong woman, one to be commended on how you made a negitive situation into a postive by the way you conduct your life.
Perhaps in your dream you are finally at peace knowing that your father can no longer hurt anyone, maybe more because he is at peace and (hopefully) confessed to the Lord his sins and asked forgiveness. Maybe it is because you no longer are the little girl inside and can now move beyond the pain? Maybe I am giving to many suggestions?
In any case, I am proud of you Mrs Schmitt! You have come a long way.

meleah rebeccah said...

First of

And thank you for sharing such a private story with us.

"Did you ever have a dream so vivid it stays with you all day?"

yes. and its very unsettling. I too have "daddy issues" which remain unresolved for years.

I imagine my reaction to my 'real' fathers death to be one of sheer joy.

(My step dad, the man I consider my DADDY, and the man I adore is my hero. I was lucky enough that my mother finally married the right man, (13 years ago) and I finally have the father I always wanted. If I could pick any man on the planet... it would be the daddy I have today)

I hope you can resolve some of your issues, just by letting them go. But thats waaaaay easier said than done.

Day Dreamer said...

It feels good to let it out, I know.

All the crappy ones in my family died before I had children. But I still feel the need to protect them - sometimes overly, I'll admit.

When you see how beautiful and trusting your children are, you can't help but question the ones who either threw you to the wolves or were the wolves. As long as I live, I'll never understand some people. (And I've seen all

Hugs and cudo's for this post. I would have read on if it were much longer than that! :)

Jen said...

Wow, what a powerful dream! I'm no expert but it sounds like maybe your subconsious is coming to peace with some things. I can see why that dream would affect you so much, I think it's really telling you some important things.

I respect you so much for breaking the cycle of abuse with your own children. That is no small feat and I am so poroud of you for having the strength and the courage and the wisdom to give better than what you got. You are an amazing mom and an amazing woman.

Anonymous said...

Yep, sounds like you're letting him go and making peace with yourself, FINALLY!

Your children are very lucky to have you as their mother.


Jennifer said...

I don't think your (dream) smile was wrong. I think it means you know you're stronger now than you thought you were. That you've been able to heal and bring peace to that sweet little girl you were. Good for you.

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

I think it means what you think it does; you have come to terms and will be okay.

I could have written this post; I related to everything you said. My dad pased away in 2005, and even though we had an on-and-off relationship and the passing was peaceful (we all got closure), I still have a good cry now and then. Congratulations on breaking the cycle!

Anonymous said...

i can definately relate to your story & empathize. It is definately out of necessity when you keep people like that out of your (and your family's) life. My mother will never see my kids ever again because of the way she is. I knew once she starting using the same abusive tactics towards my daughter that it was time. I am better because of it. I like to think I am everything my mother failed to be for my sisters and me. But everyday I have the same "Am I doing this right? What would a good mother do?" voice in my head, which I think helps me make the right decision. My kids are my world and I ofter think i over-love them, but then, that is surely not possible.