May 1981 II

catoutofbagMy parents asked Lou and me to come to dinner at home one night. Mom’s no chef by any means, so the point was not to impress us with her culinary skills. Instead, they decided to let the proverbial cat out of the bag. In this case, the cat was a well-kept family secret they felt it was time I know.

It was a long story that would fit well as a sub-plot to a long running soap opera. It is a saga of love, lies, secrets, and complicated twists to hide the deceptions. I consider myself fairly bright, but I was totally surprised by their confessional unveiling of the truth.

The secrets that were revealed and the reality of the truth itself doesn’t bother me in the least. It’s actually a love story with heart-wrenching decisions, obstacles, tragedies, and determination to overcome adversity.  What does trouble me is the fact that there were years of deceit and lies that were fabricated to cover the truth.  They were more concerned about public perception than in building trust with those involved by dealing with the truth and facing any consequences head on.  They didn’t give anyone enough credit to be able to love them and accept them with the truth.  They felt the secret was theirs alone to keep, but failed to recognize that it touched other lives in many ways, and that withholding the truth was a betrayal of trust to people closest to them.  And, most likely, they subconsciously resented those same people because of their assumption that they would be judged if the truth were known. You’d like to think your parents always know the right thing to do… but in this case, I’d say they acted out of fear, and did not use good judgment.

Worst thing is that now they have included me in their web of secrecy. There is one other person who has also been sworn to silence with whom I am permitted to discuss this topic.  I think they have unburdened themselves and shifted the weight to the two of us.  Hope they feel better for it.

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