Before, my father was my hero.
After, my self shrunk inward when hugging him goodbye after a visit.
Before, I knew my father loved me and would rather tell him almost anything to avoid fighting with my mother.
After, I understood how much my mother loved me.
Before, we were watching General Hospital, looking forward to the summer ahead.
After, I felt as though someone had flung me headlong into a slab of cold marble. The next morning my ceaseless crying made it look like maggots ringed my eyes.
Post-confession, post-divorce, post-childhood--things are different now. Neither Before nor After. I can hug my father again. He's no longer my hero. I've long stopped trying to engage him in endless verbal battles in order to get him to say "You're right. I was wrong. I made a mistake."
No, those words never came. And they never will. I'm as ok with that as I can be. My heart has healed, and the scar tissue protects that tender spot. Sometimes something gets through, and the tears flow. I still mourn the family I lost, or should I say I mourn the idea of the family I thought I had.