When I received a phone call informing me my abuser had died, I can’t remember if sorrow or relief won as my initial emotion.
I would like to say it was sorrow. Maybe to make myself appear as if I’m not completely desensitized to the death of someone I loved. I honestly believe it was relief that flooded me first though. Relief and then anger. Sorrow coming in a distant third.
Anger because there would never be any closure for the death of my childhood. No apologies for what was taken from me. How do you mourn the murder of innocence? Put to rest the death of what I could have been?
I do strongly believe that sexual predators cannot apologize for their actions. They do not feel that they did anything wrong and build their lives on lies and manipulation. Admitting guilt or feeling apologetic for any acts they have committed is not part of what makes them tick. Even knowing that, there will always be a part of me that yearns for that admission of guilt. Knowing I would never receive that closure made my hatred come back full force, regardless of whether or not those words would have come when he was alive.
I still don’t know how to mourn his passing, though it has been well over a year since he has been gone. None of what I have expressed above negates the fact that I did love this person. The emotions expressed by others that it was better for him to be gone or that his lack of remorse should release me of my feelings of sadness did nothing to lessen the fact that it was incredibly painful for me to say goodbye. That was my reality and it was valid, regardless of how others may have felt when they experienced the news of his death.
The rational adult that is somehow able to coherently express any of this will always be at odds with the scared and defenseless little girl that just wanted someone to save her. To love her without hurting her. That child will always miss her father. The woman writing this now is grateful he is gone. Feels safer knowing he will never be able to hurt anyone again. Both of those feelings are valid and neither is easy to live with.