While on my stepper this morning, I played a Cooking Channel show called Drop 5 Lbs. Three boisterous women chatted about fish, fat, and folate on a sunny set. I could stand to drop 5 lbs but if I have to talk loud or listen to raucous laughter to get tips to jump-start the re-dropping of 5 lbs that I lost six years ago along with another eighty, I might pass.
This weekend I heard several podcasts in which adult survivors of childhood family violence shared their emotional aftermath. I closed my eyes during one such story, imagining the scene which the speaker had just described. At age 15 he had begun protesting his father’s abuse of his mother. By age 17, the conflict accelerated and his father threw him out of the house, pointed a gun at him, and pulled the trigger.
Thirty years later, he reunited with his father. He wanted to ask his father why did you shoot me? But in the end, he refrained. He said, “The weight on him of telling me would be worse than the weight on me of not knowing.” I recalled talking to my father right after my mother’s death. I asked him in bitter tones if he knew what his abuse of us had done to our mother, what it had done to his children. He protested, I wasn’t so bad. I did my best. I gasped and retorted: If that was your best, I would no brag. I’ve talked about that incident in a previous entry, taking myself to task for the meanness of the remark. But this weekend, I looked at the incident from my father’s point of view. I thought of his burden. The weight on him of explaining. The weight.
I close my eyes and let my body float as I push myself on the stepper. Losing the weight. That’s what I hope to achieve on this journey. That’s my goal: To lose the weight of my burdens.
It’s the fifteenth day of the thirty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
To hear the full account of the man whose father shot him, check out the episode “Shot in the Dark” on Snap Judgment’s podcast for 12 August 2016.