“Which old witch? The wicked witch!!” (The Wizard of Oz) My father died in 1998. My mother died in 2002. I have not missed them. I didn’t cry when they died. I wasn’t at either one of their bedsides. My brother was with them both when they passed and he was pretty torn up. I told myself I should be sad too, if for no other reason other than the fact that their death shut the door permanently on any opportunity for a miracle to occur and a real relationship to bloom. But the truth is, I knew this would never happen. I was over 40 when they died and if it hadn’t happened by then, it was fairly obvious it wasn’t going to happen ever. So I let them go with nary a blip on the radar, in spite of the fact that I felt guilty for not feeling bad. Realistically, I mourned the loss of my parents when I was a teenager. At some point in my early teens, I realized my parents were not healthy to be around, they were not there for me and were never going to be there for me, and their selfishness was always going to require me to give more than I had to offer while they took everything they could get. They didn’t love me. They said they did, but their actions made it completely clear that their love was a love of words only. They said the right things because they wanted to be viewed as good people. But they did monstrous things to me. So it makes sense that I grieved over the death of that relationship when I was in my late teens. I lost my parents young…it just took them awhile to actually die. I didn’t party when they died, but I did breath a sigh of relief. Does that make me an awful person? When you’re raised by parents who abuse you…physically, sexually, emotionally…when they neglect you and slap you and manipulate you and send you flying across the room with one hit; when they demand that you live up to twisted expectations, use you as a counselor, expect you to take care of them, take care of the house, meet their needs, fulfill their fantasies; at least for me, under those circumstances, it was extremely difficult to be around them and have any kind of a relationship with them. I did forgive them. I just couldn’t stand to be in the same room with them for any period of time. It was hurtful for me. Even when they no longer hit me, they manipulated. Even when the sexual abuse ended, the unhealthy relationship dynamics continued. Everything was always about them. It was always about what they needed from me, what they wanted from me, what they expected of me, what they required. Their pain. Their hurt. Their feelings. Their disappointments. I was a means to and end, nothing more. I was supposed to fulfill their every want and need. I was supposed to fix their life, give them meaning and purpose. I was theirs to use. And abuse. I was an object. My daddy died when I was 4 or 5, when the man I utterly adored began sexually abusing me. My mommy died when she chose to stand by her man rather than to protect her child. So when they passed away, it was as if a huge burden had been lifted off of me. I was free! Their reign of tyranny was over!! I didn’t have to try to contort myself into unnatural shapes to have a sick relationship with them. Their death was my get out of jail free card. The wicked witches were dead! I am very sad for the little girl who lost her parents at such a tender, vulnerable age when they crossed the line from neglect to outright abuse of her. I am not sad at all for the adult in her 40’s who was finally set free when her parents died fairly peacefully from natural causes, having lived out their life without suffering any consequences from their criminal actions. I think both (the child and the adult) had suffered long enough.