MIL and SIL reach a volatile understanding.
At night I sat in the backyard of my house and looked at the swing set that hadn't been used in 15 years and thought about Megan, Stuart, and Faye growing up and running around like a pack of wild animals, chased by their mother. I looked at the azalea bushes Connie and I planted after moving in and thought about the good times, the cook outs, the gathering of friends, and the times we made love under the stars. Just knowing that she was in my life made me feel warm and comfortable, now I felt cold and alone. I also needed to sort out a lot of unresolved feelings.
The biggest unresolved issue was the extent of my responsibility for Connie's ingesting those sleeping pills. I didn't put them in her hand and force her swallow them but I sure as hell helped to create her depressed emotional state by refusing to talk to her. I was hurt and wanted her to hurt too. I loved her so much and she did probably the one thing in our marriage that could have destroyed me the quickest, once I found out. She was my wife, my love, and I loved her more than anything else in the world. Giving herself to someone else destroyed me. And now I may have destroyed her. I never wanted her to die; I just wanted her to feel what I was feeling. Maybe she did and couldn't live with herself, now I'll never know for sure. All I know for sure is that she did something wrong and destroyed our marriage and I did something equally as wrong and destroyed her. We were both wrong. May God have mercy on our souls.
Tomorrow would be Connie's funeral and the last time I'd ever see her. I had to keep my emotions in check. I had to see the faces of all our friends and family. I had to say goodbye. I had to not break down.
I turned when I heard the front door slam and seconds later a car roaring off down the street. Megan was walking toward me from the back door.
"Dad? Are you okay?" Megan whispered as she sat in the lawn chair across from me.
"No, not really. "
We sat quietly gathering our thoughts listening to the rustling of the fallen leaves in the night breeze.
Megan looked over at me and said, "You know that all this wouldn't have happened if you had just come home and forgiven her. She made a mistake. I'm sure you made mistakes that she forgave you for. She said she couldn't go on living without you. It was your pride that killed her."
I just sat there with my mouth open. My own daughter blamed me for my wife's death. I don't know how many times I said it or thought it but I didn't do anything wrong. I wasn't the one having the affair. I didn't lie to my friends and family for six months. I didn't swallow a bottle of sleeping pills to ease my guilt.
"And Dad tomorrow is going to be a long, hard day. Everybody's invited to the house afterwards and there will probably be a lot of people here. You don't have to do a thing, you don't even have to be here if you don't want. Stuart and some of Mom's friends are going to help me with the food and stuff so there won't be anything for you to worry about."
Now Megan didn't even want me to come to the after funeral gathering? What the hell's going on? Maybe I was just so emotional and stressed out that I misunderstood what she was saying. One thing I was sure of and that was I didn't want to get into a confrontation with my daughter on the eve of her mother's funeral. I stood up and went into the house and down to the family room where I'd been sleeping.
I put all of my bedding in the laundry hamper and put on my suit and tie. The kids were all dressed and waiting in the living room when I got upstairs. My Dad looked tired. Faye came over and straightened my tie just like her mother had thousands of times before. I kissed her on the forehead and took her hand and went out to the waiting limousine. Faye held my hand the entire time. She didn't say a word to anyone or me but sat with her head down.
When we got to the funeral home there were a lot of our friends milling around in the foyer.