My first serious boyfriend just died. He was quite literally a waste of space. I went out with him when you could still believe someone is going to grow up and do something with their lives, but he never did. I don’t remember what we talked about (we must have talked?) or what we liked doing. I remember someone saying that he never returned books and my reaction was “Pete could read?”. I mean, of course he could. I just don’t remember that. Or much of anything else, except how messed up I was at the time because of my parents. (An aside, my step-dad died last year and the funny thing is, he was Catholic. All the nasty stuff he did, and he believed in hell and was afraid of going.) But my step-dad had a daughter who I love very much, and she was sad that her father passed away. So I sent my condolences and told her I loved her.
Right now, I’m thinking more about about Pete’s mother. Even if your kid is horrible, it’s still not in the natural order of things for a parent to outlive their child. There has to be some sadness there, and what much be tough for her, relief. Pete terrorized his parents, too. How must it feel to both feel sad because your child is gone, and be secretly happy that you don’t have to deal with him anymore?
In my opinion, when you can manage, it’s always best to forgive the dead. It’s not always possible. But most of the damage people can do goes away when they die, (although the damage they have done is ours to do with what we can) but it’s no longer about them, it’s about us. Do I want to be someone who hates a dead person? What does that do to me? Do I want to give this person that power even in death? Haven’t they had enough of my head while they were alive? This is not necessarily directed at Pete but at my step-dad, but the principle is the same.
And one of the best revenges in the world is to truly pity someone (which is not the same thing as forgiveness, but gets you going in the same direction). Pete like Peter Pan, never grew up, but didn’t stay in the innocence of childhood but in that sociopathic two year old stage when they don’t really have a consciousness that other people really exist and feel pain. Ever seen a birthday party for two year olds? They mostly wind up fighting over the presents that the birthday kid received, bonking each other over the head because they haven’t learned how to share yet. This is entirely normal for a two year old and a mental illness for an adult.
My argument for those who are religious has always been that there cannot be a heaven or a hell, because every person was once innocent. My roommates just had a baby, and even if he grows up to be a serial killer, he was once gurgling and cooing and being cute in his cradle. Hitler had a mother, and that mother would not be happy if her son didn’t follow her to paradise.
I’m utterly non-religious which means that for me it’s even more important to forgive people. I feel better about myself when I do; I become a person that I respect. I only have that. I can’t lie or cheat because that hurts my self-image. I need to believe I’m a “good” person. (There’s a lyric from a band I like, Freakwater, which goes: “There’s nothing so pure as the kindness of an atheist”.) I don’t believe there is anything external judging us, which leaves me with my own internal judge who is really a bitch sometimes.
All this to say that I’ve written a few kind words to Pete’s sister, and will write a few more to pass on to his mother. My internal bitch is telling me to “spread the love”.
And so I try. Foro is there to help me remember to be kind, to try to forgive, to be a “better” person. He also tells me to chill out. I need to listen to Foro more.