Siege Diaries 10/7/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Why does my wrongdoing hurt me most of all?

Because I beat myself up unmercifully when I make a mistake.

The photo above is of a spot on our living room rug where Furiosa has been whittling. Note, if you will, that she has stayed within the lines of one particular geometric figure. She hasn’t done this anywhere else. Just here.

I’ve now finished up making all of the vigil arrangements with the exception of the sewing and embroidery parts. That will start tomorrow.
It’s now been thirteen years since Dad died.

I’ve been following some of my hometown’s FB groups, and what I miss most were those rhythms of life that were established in my high school and university years, when home was still home, not a memory. The 4th of July parades, when my dad was always involved in the float-building (along with me). The decorating for Christmas. The cycle of the school year. When you’re an only, so often the lives of your parents are closely caught up in your own life. Even after I moved to Canada, while I was in grad school there was always the same cycle, still operating in the distance, and I’d drop in every three or four months or so and still be part of it.

I’ve mentioned before that I really never got to know my mom as an adult. I did a little better with my father, but in the couple of years I lived in Columbus after finishing grad school, and in the years I commuted back and forth after we moved back to Canada, it was definitely a different dynamic. We were slowly pulling clear of each other, and when I was let go at JP Morgan Chase and then took my current job, the separation became more clear.

I still wonder a bit at those last few years. Dad was clear–from the time I became old enough to know all the planning that had gone in for my parents’ retirement and the estate–that I would not be asked or expected to assist. They had this. That was a kind of freedom for me–but it also meant those ties between older parents and their adult children never really matured. No matter what, my parents were always better off than I was. Again, not complaining–no financial pressure or worry about paying for medical or other bills was an amazing gift–but there was also never an ask to help. At all. Even emotionally, because there was always that sense of emotional reserve with my parents; they didn’t show or share feelings much. (And I’m definitely their daughter in that).

So these anniversaries don’t pack the punch they could. I miss those visits to Columbus. I miss the sense of coming home, in all its various facets, including the presence of my parents. But there’s a sense that all of that has receded far in my rear-view mirror. None of that exists any more. The memories, however, evoke the original sense of nostalgia–memories so sweet and aching and yearning that they are almost a kind of pain of their own.

That, on this day, is what gives me pause.