Monday, November 8, 2010

Can We Get Clean Again?

This weekend was another no call no show with the Redneck.  I hear he is in the area, and working under the table.  He is living with my sister's ex husband, and has not bothered to try to maintain any contact with me.  I decided not to wait around for a call that might never come, and when noon rolled around on Saturday, told Uncle M that the visit was off because we had another no call - no show.  Uncle M laid the Vampire down for a nap, and I went to enjoy some girl time with a good friend of mine from college.  The Drama Queen had a very good day at school on Friday, and is starting to master being able to sound words out when she sees them on paper.  The Vampire has had three bite free days as of today (WTG my lovely little blonde!!!)  Hopefully we are seeing the end of that horrible biting stretch, and I give so much gratitude to this daycare for being able to help her with her issues.

We went to the funeral of my Great Uncle Joe this weekend.  He has been very ill for years with Parkinson's disease.  I felt  so much sympathy for his wife and kids, but didn't have the ability to convey it in words.  I freeze up in the moment, and just stand there like a blithering idiot.  I did compliment his daughter on the lovely obituary that she wrote for him, and was able to talk to his son for a little while.  His son's advice was to spend as much time with my parents as I can while they are living and healthy.  I smiled and told him "thank you, I will.".  The entire conversation... I thought "I do.  I call them often, include them in any plans I have, try to show up at the events they plan."

I was deeply saddened, though - because some of my other siblings... don't.  My baby brother has started to more often.  He and his wife have let mom and dad have their kids more often, and they go to their house just to visit now and then, mom and dad adore that.  My youngest sister does try to spend time with mom and dad, but she has two small girls of her own, and lives about 20 minutes away from them, so it is rough for her sometimes, she also just graduated from nursing school, and stays very busy.  My other sister... well she is the one who fled to Arkansas.  The contact she has with mom and dad is not detailed, but she has apologized for everything she has done to them.  Finally my older brother, he has disowned himself from the family.  He doesn't respond to any correspondence from my mother or I.  He has associated with my father, but won't come to any family functions, I guess because my mother or I are there.  There have been times that I have been so depressed over this action of his, that I have tried to seclude myself from the family.  Maybe, if I disappear - he will come around more often, and mom and dad will be able to enjoy him, and his son, whom they miss dearly.  In June it will have been three years since I will have seen my nephew, his son.  I miss him too.  He is the one who gave me the nickname Aunt TT.  Beautiful memories.

I have been sad lately thinking of times that are gone by.  I remind myself that it is the past, and this is the present.  Then I hear a song that reminds me of that corner of my life... and I'm sad all over again.  I always wished I had the courage and talent to be in my brother's band.  I wanted to get up on that stage and sing or play a guitar and just be as bright and awesome as my big brother.  I hung out with the band, and one of the guitarists was convinced that he loved me.  I always viewed him as my brother's friend and a brother type himself, and couldn't return the feelings.  After years of that, he finally couldn't bear to be around me anymore and finally just cut off all ties.  He was one of my best friends.  There has been so much loss in the last 10 years of my life.  If I could have seen things differently, done things differently, maybe my family wouldn't be as broken as it is today, and I wouldn't have lost so many friends along the way.  But then again, I am living in the past, and I can't do that, if I am to move forward in this future I find myself swimming in.

With what my sister has done to my parents and myself, and most importantly, her kids, I have a hard time believing that this family will ever be anything close to normal ever again.  Then I question what is normal anyway.  What family is as functional as they show on T.V.  What family is without problems, issues.  Maybe others are just that good at hiding them.  We aren't.  We have hurt each other so much over the years, and some can't find it in their hearts for forgiveness.  I know I struggle with it myself at times, but what good will it do me to hold a grudge for ages?  I won't benefit from it, but when others do it to me, or those I love and adore...  it cuts my soul.

It is like this demonstration that I remember from my girlhood school years.  The speaker took a piece of paper and drew a face of a little girl on it and told the assembly, "this is Susan.  When she left for school this morning, her mom forgot to tell her Happy Birthday" then she folded the paper in half, "when she got to school, a group of kids teased her about the second-hand dress she was wearing," then she turns the corners in.  She names other things that happen that day to little Susan, and continues to fold the paper until it is all wadded up.  Susan had a very bad day at school.  I can remember days like that.  Then when Susan gets home, her mom tells her she loves her, and wishes her a Happy Birthday and the speaker began to unfold the paper a little with all the nice things that happened to Susan through the course of the evening.  When the paper is entirely unfolded, Susan feels better, but she isn't whole like she was at the start of the day.  I think of that in reference to my family.  Every thing that happens, puts a little cut or tear on my soul, and it is so hard not to be bitter or angry.  It is so hard to smile and walk through each day as if I am my heart isn't bleeding, for my parents, for the kids, for the beauty my siblings are missing out on and might one day never be able to recover, for my nieces and nephews who will never know how truly amazing grandma and grandpa are, and for myself.

My father had a heart attack in 2007.  On August 12th, he was helping to take a tree down at my Aunt's house.  It was my baby brother's birthday, he turned 23, we joke about what a horrible gift my dad gave my baby brother for his birthday.  My father was whisked by ambulance to the hospital, and received the medical care necessary, with a some stints installed in blocked arteries, he is doing much better now.  He cares for himself now and has regular check-ups with his heart doctor.  I never saw this coming, though.  My dad was always so healthy and strong.  So brilliant and steady.  I realized on my drive to the hospital that evening, that he won't always be there.  There will be a day that I will have to say goodbye that final time.  Mom won't always be there, I cry even thinking about it, but there will be a day that they won't be here on earth.  Maybe I am too dependent on my parents, and my other siblings aren't.  But I can not imagine a day that I call mom for her dumpling recipe and she just isn't there, or need a shoulder to cry on when the kids are just being a bear, and there is no one, because the woman who has been there for the past 31 years just isn't anymore.  I can not imagine needing help or advice when remodeling my home, and having to call a complete stranger, be cause the man that has been my rock for 31 years, has gone to join his father in heaven.   I can not imagine treating them the way my sister and brother do.  Especially after dad's heart attack.  It scared all of us.  We all went to the hospital that evening to hold his hand, mom's hand, and be there for each other.  Dad's siblings were there, and my mom's sister, my dear Aunt Trishy.  I thought for sure that would be a life changing moment for all of us.  That we would all start making time for each other, and being grateful for the time we have with each other, because that was the lesson I walked away with.

I was wrong.  I have naively hoped since then that we would wake up.  We have all experienced death - the loss of someone close, and the inability to ever connect with them on this earth.  Some more than others, as my older brother, and youngest sister have lost their biological parents, but we all know what it is to reach for someone, only to remember that they just aren't there.  I have realized with this recent death, that it just isn't like that for everyone.  People don't always take circumstances like that to heart.  Maybe it isn't in their nature, maybe they just have different ways of dealing with loss than I do, maybe I am just insane.  I just hoped so much, for my parents sake that we could all pull together and be civil to each other at least for the remainder of their time on earth.  I know I would try my hardest to do so.  With age comes wisdom, and you don't always have to see eye to eye with the person you love.  It is OK to have differences, just please, don't let them create a Great Divide between you and those you love, it just isn't worth it.  They might not be there tomorrow when you find it in your heart to apologize. 

I worry that my sister's lifestyle will one day lead her to her grave.  She is still so secretive about everything, and won't tell us anything about her personal life.  We know she spent time in the hospital earlier this year, and she wouldn't tell us why.  I worry about getting that phone call that will shatter the world of three young children, my parents, myself.  She makes bad choices, and has done her fair share of wrong, but she is my sister.  She is the person whom I used to play Barbies with all of the time, and dress up.  She is the person I grew up arguing with, and always blamed for stealing my clothes.  She is the person, whom I thought would always be there in way or another, but now, by her choice, she isn't.  I always figured we would raise our kids together, and call each other for advice or a shoulder to cry on.  What a difference two years can make in one person's life.

So if you are reading this, again I apologize for my somber mood.  Circumstances of late have been keeping me down.  I apologize for this post all about loss and death, but if maybe you could walk away from it with a new appreciation for your parents, siblings, children, and just plain family in general.  If it eases your soul even the slightest bit, and you resolve to end a bitter feud with a family member or friend.  If maybe you could learn from what I have lost...  and begin to appreciate what you have in front of you before it is too late, then I will take comfort in knowing that my loss, is your gain, and in that, maybe the cuts on my soul will heal.

"and the siren's song that is your madness, holds a truth I can't erase, all alone, on your face.  Every glamorous sunrise, throws the planets out of line, a star-sign out of whack, a fraudulent zodiac, and the God of Wine is crouched down in my room.  You let me down, I said it.  Now I'm going down, and you're not even around, and I said no no no no.   I can't keep it all together.  I know, I can't keep it all together.  There's a memory of a window, looking through I see you, searching for something I could never give you.  There's someone who understands you more than I do - a sadness I can't erase... all alone on your face."
-God of Wine by Third Eye Blind

 With love,
Aunt TT

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