I'm an idiot. A selfish, self-consumed idiot. After causing someone I love dearly immeasurably deep pain, I finally get it. Not only do we all deal with the past differently, we remember it differently. As a mother I'm sure that I'll look back one day and need to believe that all went relatively well in the raising of my kids. Whether it's the truth or not, it's something that I'll probably need to believe so badly that I'll just believe it anyway.
For me, looking into the past is therapeutic. For other people it can be like a death sentence. Someone I love is hurting. This work, these conversations, this research has really hurt someone who I love and who I never intended to hurt.
A very smart friend told me once (actually she tells me over and over again) that non-fiction writers should never write about the living relatives in their family. It can cause too much damage. I didn't completely agree with her. It worked in "The Glass Castle", right? But it's not working here. Knowing that I experienced pain and hurt as a girl is too much for some of my loved ones to bear.
I thought that since it was "my story" I should be allowed to tell it anyway I want anywhere I wanted. But my story, almost every piece of it, is always intertwined with others. I wasn't alone then and I'm not alone now. It's more than a courtesy to leave out the bad things that other people may have done when I tell my story. It's a great kindness. It's the ultimate act of forgiveness.
If you're reading, I'm sorry.