I know the title is a little cliché and more than unimaginative but what can I say? I think that the simplicity of the title will become self evident as you read this short post.
Whilst I was full of self-pity and absorbed in my own little world, things without my sphere of influence carried on as normal. I haven’t been in contact with most of my family since the death of my mother and am still in an unreconcilable state with both my father and my younger sibling.
My sibling, however, has been causing his usual band of trouble and recently that has included his own daughter. My niece is a beautiful young woman, from Northern Ireland. She has been a little spoilt, I’ll plead guilty to that but her upbringing has been disciplined and she has matured into a well mannered young woman.
Like all of us when we were (are) in our early twenties, she has had a bit of fun, parties and the like, even working in Spain for a holiday company catering for the needs of the young and adventurous. She has had some boyfriends, but nothing too serious until now. She has met a man she loves and they are now engaged to be married.
My niece’s fiancé wanted to do the right thing by her father and ask for her hand in marriage. As my sibling often visited Northern Ireland to see his daughter, they decided to wait until his next visit. When she phoned her father, he kept promising that he would be visiting later that month but the month passed and there was never a visit. In the end, my niece and her fiancé decided that a telephone call would be better than nothing and may induce my sibling to visit his only daughter.
As if often the case, an accident happened. Not the serious bodily accident that involves ambulances and hospital, but the less serious but just as serious kind. She fell pregnant.
Is it me or does the phrase, “she fell pregnant’ sound wrong. She didn’t fall, there was no falling involved, just two consenting adults doing what is natural. She fell pregnant sounds as if she made a mistake all by herself. Anyway, I digress.
As she discovered that she was pregnant a couple of months after she had conceived, she thought it best to let her mother and father know immediately. Her mother was overjoyed, although not too keen on being called ‘granny‘ as I kept teasing her during our most recent telephone conversation. Her father, on the other hand, was not as thrilled. In fact he was positively unthrilled; dethrilled or whatever the correct term is for this dichotomy. As my niece told me, “he said that he needed time to think. He told me that I needn’t contact him again.”
I’m not a parent and never will be but to say something like that to your only daughter…?? Apparently he has called her since that first blow and landed more by calling her a number of unpleasant names. As I have been called unpleasant names by my own father, more times than I can remember, I can empathise to a certain extent. The difference is I never had any respect for my father and my niece idolised her’s. To say she was upset was an understatement.
Now to the part about feelings.
I feel upset, angry, upset, happy and angry – very angry!
I have no idea how my niece feels about the way her father has treated her. I know she is very upset (an understatement on my part) and she talked in detail of the in-justification and unfairness of it all. To add insult to injury, why does a parent have to insult their only child? Were his feelings hurt in some way? If they were, did lashing out and potentially ostracising himself from his daughter worth it?
Feelings are, by their nature, subjective. How I feel about my father does not compare and is in no way similar to the way my niece feels about her’s.
An analogy; something that gets me angry is when a friend is feeling unwell and they tell me that it clearly doesn’t compare to how I’m feeling. Why doesn’t it? If she feels unwell it doesn’t make it any less than how I feel. It’s complete subjective, if she feels unwell, then it doesn’t make it any less or any more than how I feel. We both feel unwell. Does that make any sense?
Too many people nowadays care about one thing. Themselves. I had a discussion about this earlier today when someone told me that as long as you are happy then if someone doesn’t like it, then tough. Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple. If someone we care about isn’t happy about something then they can lash out and thereby make you unhappy. You can try and hide how you really feel but you cannot kid yourself, not for long, anyway.
Feelings aren’t something that can be kept in isolation, either. As I said, I feel a great many things about this incident as well as my own personal feelings about my own situation. Maybe one is influencing the other. It is more than likely.
I know that I have been harsh to people during my lifetime and during my many moments contemplating my life, I do regret my actions. In most cases. I have called a number of people and asked how they felt during those moments and have made many apologies, all too late now. Feelings or how we feel about something, someone or whatever stay with us forever. If we are especially sensitive those feelings can be irreparably hurt and the consequences long lasting.
I have read some posts, recently, about how some people have been hurt by the actions or words of others or because of how they have been treated by those that they thought had some feelings for them. It saddens me to see so much anguish where they need not be any.
Life hurts, no irony intended. I know that life isn’t all daisies and chocolate (not a simile you read often!) but we don’t have to go out of our way to upset people. Maybe if we stepped back and thought about how other people feel before venting our own feelings upon them, maybe there would be just a little less hurt in our lives.
It’s a fantasy, I know. When you are in a position of hurt nearly all the time, you want there to be less hurt, especially for others you care about.
If you take one thing away from this post, please let it be this. We all have our personal feelings but try to think about the feelings of someone else before doing or saying something that may needlessly cause hurt. Even if we hurt, do we have to lash out at someone else? Easily said than done, I know. Nothing says that we can’t try though, does it?
Think on it a little. Just for a moment. Thank you.