“A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction.”
― Leo Tolstoy
I never talk about my father much except in regards to his final night and to try and portray him as a loving man consumed by the barbarian.
Which is what he was.
When she was in full on stunt, he was as shameless as her in taking no prisoners. He had no regard for the peace and dignity of others. He would sink low to garner attention.
I want to share with you what stops me from distancing myself from that night.
It has nothing to do with the Barbarian, and everything to do with him. His actions were so scrambled that after 37 years I have made less than zero progress.
Motive is always the question people ask first about a suicide. Why did they do what they did? Who were they pandering to?
About two years ago, I was talking to my SO about that night. I ran down a synopsis of how it all unfolded. My father and mother were up at the farm having a sling fest of a fight. I was at our house in town heating up some chow. I didn't know where he was. I didn't know where she was. Later I saw broken picture frames at the farm and I knew they had been at it and she had been throwing things at him like she always did.
I was about to eat when my father pulled up at our house. He came in and told me to get in the car. We were going to the farm. I got in and we drove away and left the food on the stove. On the way up, I tried to reason with him. He had swallowed a bunch of pills that afternoon, but it just made him sick. I knew what his plans were. But I couldn't make the leap to it becoming reality.
After we stopped in my grandmothers driveway, I made him look me in the eye and promise me that he was not going to go through with what he had been talking about. His shoulders shrugged and he said not to worry, everything was going to be OK.
We both got out of the car and walked to the front door where my grand mother was waiting. I went inside and he stopped and said a few words to her. She closed the door behind him, and I walked over and stood in front of the butane stove. It was September and close to a hundred degrees outside. I stood with my back to the heater and rubbed my hands together as if it were freezing. It was all out of habit.
It was maybe 20 seconds after my grandmother closed the door behind him that the gun went off. He let out this long wail and called my mothers name out twice. There was no other sound until the police arrived.
It was long before 911 and we had to look through the phone book to pick out which number to call. My grandmother dialed a wrong number first, and rambled something to someone that had no clue why we were calling them. She finally got through and a policeman arrived some 20 minutes after and I heard him say to no one that this man is dead.
So I am telling all this to my wife. About as straight forward as I am telling you now. Something that you would think is glaringly obvious, but was not. And it all came in with a rush.
He went out of his way so that I would be there and witness it all. He could have done this first and left me in town. He could have gone off and done it alone. He could have given it up and stuck around and been a father. But he didn't.
He left the farm. Drove straight to town and picked me up. Then drove straight back to the farm and in less then two minutes was dead.
Why did he have to make sure that I witnessed this. Was his message of look at what your mother has done to me so important that he needed me to see it all go down? What satisfaction was derived by becoming a martyr.
Here, I focus more on the murder because I figure people want to hear about that. It is sensational. It's true crime. It shows just what a sociopath can do.
As nice of a guy as I am sure her victim was, it still had no long lasting effect on me. After her trial we moved on and started over because that's what you do. If that was the end of the story I would not be blogging now. I would never open myself up to douche-bags on ACON sites. I would have considered myself lucky to have so little baggage and be able to move on and forget that time ever existed.
But the soundtrack of that night rules supreme. It is one I have played over and over in my head since. Every day, dozens of times.
To try and move forward, which is what a normal person would do, there has to be conscious thought of the thing to move on from. Conscious thought of moving on is not followed by the thought of how to move on. Conscious thought of moving on takes me back to that night.
In the middle of a crowd of people
I can go there.
Sitting alone at home.
I can go there.
Christmas morning and new years eve.
I can go there.
Anything can pull me back into that nightmare all over again.
The barbarian set the stage for all this. My father took what she started and raised the stakes. He went out of his way to maximize the impact his actions had on others. He inflicted himself on us in the harshest and most enduring way possible.
At this endeavor he was successful beyond his wildest dreams.