I used to know a guy...
I lived with a man back when I was in my very early 20's. He died in August. I found this out last night as I was having a conversation with a friend in San Diego. She knew the family, knew the history, good and bad. This was never a relationship meant to last - too much baggage on his side.
He had an ex-wife and 3 children, all of whom bordered on the horrible. I was too young to be involved with any of it and not prepared to deal with someone else’s children. After several years I left and he married the woman he had cheated on me with. They were really bad times and he was not a very nice person. Bud was abusive. Mentally, physically, verbally. He was just not a nice guy - which is a far cry different from the way his friends saw him. On the surface he was wonderful, funny, smart and a great friend. But as I said, I was very young and very inexperienced.
This was 36 or 37 years ago. Memory does not serve me well but what I seem to remember the most about this period of time were the kids. The son and daughter who lived with us because they didn’t want to live with their mother. The daughter who came to live with us because she was pregnant and had been living on the streets. The simple fact that he supported these kids and the ex wife to the detriment of his own life. Not that this made him a terrific human being, it just was the way things were.
During that period of time, and as a witness to this man’s life, I never saw him lash out at the kids - even when he should have. I never heard stories from the kids about their father being abusive and, to make matters worse, if I made any comment about his abusiveness they gathered to his defense and demanded that I be banished from the kingdom. Because I never saw it did not mean it didn’t happen - it just means that I never witnessed or heard it in my presence.
That’s my sole defense of the man because really, he was just not a nice person.
During this conversation my friend directed me to Facebook pages - his ex wife in particular. Comments not just from her but from the daughter as well. There is a special place in hell for people like this. Facebook, the place of social discourse and political awareness is really not the place to air generations of family dissassociation and abuse. And it shouldn't be a place to air hatred...
The venom from these women reminded me that everyone is human and it takes a very strong person and very positive karma to forgive and grow.
But after being told that he had died I thought back on that time in my life. There may not have been a lot of great times and there may have been a lot of baggage - but I do remember some pretty funny moments. And maybe that’s what we need to do when someone leaves our life - remember the few funny moments instead of all the bad times. One small remembrance of a funny moment can bring a smile that can shadow the bad times.
So Bud Pry - wherever you are, I forgive you.