My father’s wife, Joan, passed away the other day. Her death marked the end of a chapter in the family history.
My parent’s divorce wreaked havoc on our family and, I suspect, on Joan’s family as well. But. like most things, time ameliorated the anguish.
My father and Joan were married more than twenty years. Their marriage lasted longer than my parent’s marriage. It ended with his death from cancer.
Why, many would ask, am I revisiting such things? Several reasons. First, despite the incongruities of his having had an affair while married, my father tried to instill a sense of honesty within us.
And second, because this is my way.
Not every action he took demonstrated an honest approach to life but, in general, it did.
This is my honest thoughts on Joan’s passing.
Another reason is something my wife often jokes about. Something else that lingers from my Catholic upbringing, guilt.
That guilt of never openly confronting some things that people do.
The guilt of choosing sides in a situation I had no part in.
The guilt of letting time flash past while I clung to anger and resentment and disappointment.
There was a wedge driven between my father and me. It opened a fissure that never closed. I made little effort to do so.
It has taken a long time for me to come to understand these things. Just as long to be able to talk about them. Some of my family will find this uncomfortable. Some of my family found a way to deal with the matter and maintain a better relationship with my father and Joan.
This is just my way of saying I envy that.
Joan was a lovely woman. She stayed with my father throughout the many difficulties life presented to them. She was with him when he died. She loved him.
Now she has passed on and the number of people who had a close connection to my dad is one less.
Another opportunity lost, or maybe I just decided to pass.