I should be writing about Hillary today but instead I’m thinking of an odd regret. Someone I love lost her father too recently, always too soon. She is going through his things and I realized, though I’ve always known that as much as I dreaded it, as impossible as the job was going to be, that I wanted to do that in my dad’s house. There were so many little things that I wanted to touch, to feel, to remember. Dad’s crazy abusive third wife made that impossible. My brother’s defiant anger, almost hatred of our mom, made the next best thing, mum going, impossible as well.
I keep telling myself, as I tell my baby sister, who I fought for to get something of her childhood, to think of it like a fire, or a flood had washed it all away. After three years I haven’t let that go. I want the little carved men that I was never allowed to play with for more than a moment of time. I found a letter and a check from my dad, trying to buy more of them – dad’s manic times were full of buying – I don’t know what his depressive side did. Maybe he tried to lighten those with his purchases. I just remember his buying things and my hatred of that purchasing. The fear it brought that he couldn’t pay those bills. I knew his strategies, move his credit card debt around from company to company. But there were things that meant something to me. Those little men were one. The carver, they were so intricately carved, had disappeared when dad wrote to the store owner. Were they the last he carved. I don’t even have a picture or if I do I haven’t found it yet.
I know I shouldn’t care. I should be glad I’m not left going through the mountains and mountains of stuff that dad collected but I wanted that job. I lost my dad years before he died. The Ukrainian mail order bride took that from us along with almost everything else. I miss my dad. Not the fresh loss of just losing him but the ache of never getting to say goodbye. The pain of knowing that the little things that meant so much to him were probably just thrown away. And little things like my Christmas stocking. I don’t do Christmas. I hate Christmas, memories around it usually mean conflict, anger and silence. Manic joy full of things that could never replace a love that I craved. But my stocking, and yes my brothers were made by my mother. It was her hand that crafted my name, one I never use anymore. It was left behind with my childhood, but I do a nice Christmas for my nieces and every year a stocking that is mine is just not there. My dad’s huge stocking that I bought for him just into his 2nd marriage as a joke. I would love to have that.
The vast majority of the time I don’t care about this. I can’t. But I can write this and warn others. Watch out for those mail order brides, especially ones from another country. We need to change laws so that a fiance visa lasts more than three months. My dad had three months to decide to marry this woman or not. His words exactly when he invited me to his last minute wedding were “it’s not going well but I might as well give it a try”. It’s almost like Trump’s “What do you have to lose.” In our case, we lost our father, everything he expected to leave to his children went to the woman who abused him. It’s cost me thousands of dollars in legal fees as I fought for anything I could get for my sisters and yes for my brother. It cost my sister a relationship that meant everything to her. She didn’t quite have my experience growing up. Dad was different as he grew older. Not that she didn’t suffer from the manic depressive shifts. Her parents fought horribly sometimes, but it wasn’t quite the same. She doesn’t remember dad cursing where I remember his curse filled rants that scared me silent and into a retreat.
Maybe that is why I react so negatively to a man like Donald Trump. He reminds me not so much of my father, but of my brother. My brother was different. He felt almost evil – I shouldn’t say that. My niece will read this about her father but I can’t lie to her. My brother felt that the world revolved around him. If he liked music you were supposed to like it as well or you didn’t love him. When my little sister was so sick we were about to rush her to the hospital he wanted us to go to a movie. He was high on caffeine – he had been driving and took caffeine pills – or on drugs I’m really not sure. He was always like that. He would never take no for an answer. He would argue with you until you weren’t sure what was fact and what was fiction. It reminds me of Donald Trump. He says one thing and then another and then goes back and tried to argue. It didn’t matter that you had truth and what was right on your side. He always had another argument. I couldn’t stand it.
I keep wondering if I should reach out to him again. If I can help him, help his family. I want to know his younger two daughters but unless he changes what hope is there. Nothing I do will ever be enough. One wrong word and he stops talking to you. I don’t know what to do. I’ll never seen dad’s house again and I’m pretty sure I’ll never see my brother again. I watch Donald Trump and I see echoes amplified down the ages. I can’t go back. There is no strength there. There is only men laughing about a woman’s weight, making it an issue. I remember my dad complimenting me after an illness that lasted months and left me thinner by too many pounds. He said how nice I looked, how thin. I was never fat but perfection. It was always asked of me, the girl. We have to move forward. It’s not about political correctness. It’s about accepting everyone. Knowing that we are stronger together. It’s a theme not only of Hillary Clinton but of every book that I have written. It’s not a thing – a campaign phrase – it’s a truth. Hillary tells the truth. She studies. She works. It’s what women do. It’s what I’ve done all my life.