I really should have been prepared for it, but somehow the moment still blindsided me. Perhaps it was because my brother’s funeral had ended only 30 minutes prior and I was standing, massively pregnant and completely exhausted, at his wake. I hadn’t yet processed it–still haven’t–how a relatively young and healthy man just drops dead. I was still numb when the family friend approached me with the requisite platitudes and hug.
But then she started the conversation I should have known was inevitable.
“I was talking to your dad…”
I immediately tensed, and listened, stony eyed, as she told me how worried he was about me, and how I really should talk to him, how he was hurting. I was relieved to get called away to handle some minor detail with the food we were serving so I didn’t have to respond, because how could I?
Could I tell her that my dad had disowned me–for the fourth time in eight years–two weeks prior for having the audacity to point out that he’d made no attempt to see my son in nine months? That, like everything else, he claimed his lack of involvement was solidly my fault?
Should I show her the myriad emails in which he called me an evil bitch, told me I was going to hell, strongly implied that my mother knew I never loved her for any number of slights against him, real or perceived?
How could I explain that my father had been physically and emotionally abusive to all of his children behind closed doors for our entire lives, and that the brother he now so publicly mourned had borne the brunt of it?
As I scurried off to handle whatever needed fixing, I got very, very mad. I’ve known this woman for most of my life, and I know she thought she was helping heal the family rift that I am sure my father presented in a compelling way. However, what she was doing was being manipulated and feeding into the behavior of a narcissist. What she was doing is something no one should do–involving themselves in someone else’s family business.