There are people who say sorry all the time. After every statement. After every sorry they were told was unnecessary. Then there are people who don’t find the time or feel the need to offer an apology. Maybe it has nothing to do with them and this is the distinction.
I recently raised money for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as a birthday fundraiser. I’d never done it before and Facebook is very savvy at encouraging this. I started the fundraiser with the basic settings not knowing any better. $200 to raise. Within a day I raised the money and this has never happened before. I was asking for dollars and I don’t have a lot of friends so I thought this would take me a while.
Upon realizing I could modify the settings, I increased the amount to $520. May 2020. I still had days til my birthday and another week until the deadline. I woke up the day of my birthday to find that we raised $524. How exciting! Then I see a message from my mother telling me that she and my father wanted to make sure I hit my mark before the day was done. 🤗🤔😖
This hurt my heart. In the last 20 years they haven’t come to my rescue. I’ve been in urgent situations. Our common communication style was to speak every 3 months about logistics. Now, with the “uncertainty” of a pandemic, they are calling more. This is not a good thing for a relationship that was never close (even when we lived together). But it is allowing them to get to know me whether they like it or not.
I called my mother and asked about the donation. She said the same thing she wrote on my page “we didn’t want YOU to go to sleep without…”.
This is where they’ve always been wrong. They don’t do things for me. They do things in regards to me—to help themselves feel better. If they ever wanted to show that my life was valuable to them, they wouldn’t have created the relationship we have now. Full of guilt. But no sorry. Shame, but do not name it.
My father just discovered I earned Honors when I completed my Masters program. 11 years ago. I recall them asking if they should fly out for my graduation. The thought itself is nice, but what would the purpose be for one day. These very people planned a vacation during my undergrad commencement ceremony. Their only child to receive a degree they’d been pushing since elementary school. But I wasn’t the person they wanted to have represent them, even if I showed success and a fighting spirit. They told me to keep it ALL to myself.
I’ve kept myself away from family and friends because of the notion that I will misrepresent my parents. I’ve also stayed away so I can mitigate the amount of judgment I receive. Criticism based on illusory notions of who I was and why I was that way.
But mostly my parents didn’t get me the help that I needed. Or give it. Emotional and Learning supports were laughable. So was their final donation. My Christian parents didn’t have faith enough to allow others to step up and donate. They didn’t have faith enough that I could raise the money. They are still very afraid of what the world will do to me. They are so afraid they won’t ask what the world has done to me.
And all I need from them is to acknowledge that, at the very least, they’re sorry.