Sunday, April 6, 2014

fourteen years

Fourteen years ago today, Mike Maloney died.

His death was abrupt, in the middle of my softball practice.

His death was slow, throughout my childhood.  

And it's like that - two sides of one event.  And there were two sides of one man, too, I think. A monster, someone unfit to be a husband, a father, a member of society.  A chronically tormented vet, who quieted his demons with visits to the bottle. And the needle.  

There are two sides, too, to the way I feel about him.

Angry.  Sympathetic.  Wistful.  Serene.

My relationship with him is complicated, and probably will be for the rest of my life.  Do I hate what he represents?  Do I understand how he got that way? Yes and no.  Both and neither. He is a puzzle that I'll never be able to solve.  He's been gone for nearly half my life, and yet our relationship gets more - not less - complicated with each passing April 6.

I turn thirty this year.  When Mike was my age, he was nearing a decade post Vietnam, and I suspect that it was among the wildest times of his life.  No responsibilities, the late 1970s, and tormented by his past.  He was still a year or two from meeting my mom, and nearly seven years from having me.

It keeps coming back to this: acceptance.  He was a complicated man, and my feelings about him are conflicted.  But I know this - part of who I am is because of his life... his presence, his absence and everything in between. 

1 comment:

  1. Well written post, reflecting your sensitivities and passion. When Mike was 30 he met ME, and I suspect your age 30 will be even more rewarding. Love you daughter!

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