It was a late summer day. Goldenrod and asters were coloring the hill. The days were growing short, the birds were gathering in flocks, and there was a feeling in the air that school would be starting soon.
|Grace with flowers|
When you tell a child her father is evil and that she should hate him, you're telling her that everything she once thought to be true about a person she loves more than anyone else in the world was wrong – that she was wrong. If you think being told there's no Santa is hard on a child, this she'll never forget. In a short period of time, the bond she once had with her father will be severed, the effects will last forever, and in the end she'll end up hating herself.
And she won't trust herself again. She may never trust anyone again. And every day she'll see something that reminds her of her father but she'll painfully ignore this because she feels so horrible about what happened — so horrible, in fact, that she won't be able to think about her father anymore. She won't want any reminders of him because they'll be reminders of the saddest, most terrifying thing that's ever happened to her. She's horrified about what happened to her father and about what she's supposed to think about him, and she can never see him again. He's dead to her.
That selfless honesty, which was once a hallmark of her personality, had been replaced with the impossibility of any honest reasoning on her part, at least in regards to me. She was as alienated from herself as we were from each other. I was no longer the father she had known, and Grace didn't know how to think about this except to not think about it. In a mere matter of weeks, we had grown light-years apart.
|Picture Grace drew of us holding hands|