We just passed the anniversary of the death of the person who made my life a living hell for 18 years. Through decades of neglect, he passed away due to lung and liver cancer. There was no way I could say that it couldn't have happened to a nicer person because no one should die that way.
At the time, I had no intension of being involved with the funeral. Really, I should have known better and stayed away. When the eulogy came up no one had any real ideas, then someone in the family, people who (still) haven’t bothered to speak to me for years remembered that I was a so-called writer. All of a sudden, I found myself the center of (unwanted) attention. The woman who on occasion claimed to be my mother (she isn’t really) through begging, flattery and the like got me to say yes.
The night before the funeral, I sat in front of my computer trying to decide what to write about this man. What should I have written? How about the time when I was eight years old, thrilled to be invited to a birthday party, and ran into the living room with the news. How during the commercial break, he picked me off the ground by my neck choking me and screaming how I dared to disturb his game. Or even better, when at eleven years old I did something at school (I don’t even remember what) that made my teacher call home. That night he slipped into my bedroom and beat me into unconsciousness because he was embarrassed. Or how about the number of times I lay on the floor because he had a bad day or the number of times the person who called herself my mother walked around with a black eye because she 'ran into a wall'.
I guessed no one wanted to hear about it, no one wanted to hear about it while he was alive. So I wrote about his life, his idiosyncrasies (he had a few) and his love of sports above all. My muse screamed and cried the entire time as I typed the words into my computer. I felt dirty, depressed. All of the despair I thought I had suppressed (I’m quite the professional) came back. Finally it was finished and I printed it out and like some dreaded book report turned it in. Thankfully, no one expected, or wanted me to speak. So I sat in the back of the church in the comfort of the shadows. Others praised him for giving such a good eulogy although he tried to tell people I wrote it. I didn’t care. I was numb. How can someone planted six feet in the ground, still have the ability to hurt you was beyond my understanding. The contusions and yes broken bones have long been healed but I guess those other scars will still be with me for a long while.