My husband doesn’t hear from his family very much except when someone dies. Even then, they don’t always tell him. I’m not kidding. The entire family “forgot” to tell him one of his Aunts died. That went over well. Last Friday, he got a phone call that the younger brother of one of his closest childhood friends had died suddenly. His brother told him Paul was only 48 and it was a massive heart attack. Paul had been a meteorologist in Milwaukee for many years and about 10 years ago started working in the financial planning field. That’s quite a jump in occupations but I’m all for whatever makes people happy. Paul was in great physical shape, was married with 3 kids. Later that day, one of Greg’s other brothers called to see if he’d heard the news. This time he was told that Paul was 50 and had a massive stroke. Of course, now we don’t know what to believe. I guess the details don’t matter when the outcome is the same. It’s typical for him to get conflicting information from different family members.
We saw online that the wake and funeral are on Friday. It’s really unusual for Catholics to have it all in one day. At least in WI. All of the ones we’ve gone to have the wake the night before and funeral the next morning. Having it all in one day works out more conveniently for people like us who are coming from out of town. I know my hubby’s first reaction was to attend the funeral. I hate funerals but if hubby decides he needs to go, I will try to support him.
On Mother’s Day, hubby was at work and got a phone call from his older sister. Their cousin Bernie was found dead at his mother’s house that afternoon. He was only about 49 yrs. old. We don’t know what he’d died of but he’d led a troubled life. He was a felon and couldn’t find a job. Now we have to wait and see when the funeral will be. I can’t see going up to WI twice in one week or even 2 days in a row. Maybe we’ll luck out and both will be on Friday so we can pay our respects at both.
So much of my blog feels like it’s about death or dying. I never wanted it to be that way. May 3rd, one of my slam friends I’ve known since 1993 passed away. She had been plagued with health problems on and off for years. She’d had back problems and various skin cancers that kept growing back. April 3rd she’d sent out a group email to everyone in slams that she now had liver cancer and only had a few weeks to live. She told everyone not to send her any cards because “Get well soon” doesn’t quite cover it. I never knew exactly how old Shirley was since she’d never wanted to give her age. Now I’d guess she was about 25 years older than me. It was still shocking. Even though I didn’t have time to blog, I took the time to write her a really nice email. I told her what she meant to me. I didn’t want to have any regrets. I wanted to let her know she made a difference and would be missed. Not to speak ill of the dead but I’m going to. I didn’t know if she was in a ton of pain or was bedridden or not. I didn’t know if she was spending her last weeks doing things she loved or was confined to her bedroom. She told me the pain hadn’t started coming yet but didn’t elaborate further. I knew she was angry and had an attitude about being in an impossible situation with the only way out being death. I offered her a chance to write a post on my blog about anything she wanted. How she felt about dying, what she wanted to be remembered for, memorable moments from her life, etc. She basically answered with “No need to email me anymore. I’ll be closing my AOL account this week.” Ok, I know when to let something go. I had simply made an offer which I’m assuming only another writer could appreciate. If someone offered me that opportunity now, I’d be euphoric. I get that everybody’s different. She either didn’t want to vent or didn’t see the need to do it publicly. I was closer to Shirley than anyone in slams or so I thought. The way I found out she had died was getting a forward of a group email from someone else in slams. Apparently, she had kept emailing this one person up until her death. Good for her. But then this person (who I’ve known well) didn’t even bother to send me the email that she’d died. Ok, so I’m not in slams anymore. But I was a big part of them for 30 years. I know I shouldn’t be bringing this stuff up but I need to get it out of my system. I have so many conflicting emotions about people and relationships, I don’t know where to turn.
Over our vacation, on my Mom’s birthday, I got a nasty email from one of my half-sisters. I have 3 half-sisters (S, J & D) and one half brother. My mom helped raise all but the oldest girl (D) who introduced my parents to each other. The middle girl (J) who was 14 when my parents got married, has always hated my mother. All the kids had a seething anger that their mother had died of brain cancer when they were young. They resented my mother trying to replace her. They couldn’t have treated her worse if she had stabbed the woman to death in front of them. They would’ve resented anyone that came into the house that still held their mother’s presence. My mother bent over backwards for those children, was generous to them but tried to discipline them as well. My father stayed neutral and didn’t back my mom up. He didn’t want to get involved in a dispute of any kind. It was just a horrible situation. In addition to working as a long distance telephone operator, she did all of the cooking, cleaning and laundry for the entire household. She also had to help my father “handle” S who was diagnosed as schizophrenic in her early teens. Not much was known about the mental illness in the early ’70’s but it was a nightmare to say the least. Anyone else might have crumbled under the pressure. To say it was a thankless job was an understatement. She had to host holiday dinners, buy gifts, sew clothes, you name it. To add to her stress, she had me when she least expected it. To give you an example of what her life was like, she had to walk to the hospital to be induced to deliver me. I was 2 weeks late. She had to walk to the hospital which was at least 10 blocks away. The 2 youngest girls walked with her but she (at 9 mos. & 2 wks pregnant.), had to carry her own suitcase to the hospital!!! A decent human being would offer to carry it. Or just carry it without offering. But no. They wouldn’t do a thing for her, it was all for them. There is so much more to this story but I’m only telling this for background. This middle sister (J) badmouths my mom at every turn, even though she hasn’t seen her in over 30 years. Talk about not letting something go!! We have emailed jokes but I would really rather not be in contact with her. She is pure evil. The worst thing is she calls herself a Christian. She is a bible banger. She has been my main inspiration for being turned off of organized religion. She spouts bible verses but leads a life filled with hate and has a tongue that spews venom. She has never forgiven anyone for anything in her entire life. I get how hard forgiveness is. It has taken me decades to forgive some things. She lashes out at everyone she’s ever known. She regularly attacks her oldest sister for her weak moral character & sins of the past. This oldest sister is very religious too and repeatedly forgives J for her viciousness.
This time, out of the blue, J sent this scathing email about what a horrible person my mother is. She did this simply because it was her birthday and she couldn’t forget that. She couldn’t just move on with her life and be glad she hasn’t seen Mom in 30 years. Instead she feels the need to inflict pain on me, probably hoping I tell my mother what she said. Obviously, I’m not about to do that but it did ruin my day. It was just so sudden and unnecessary. I’m not going to repeat the vile things she said (which were untrue). My first reaction was to forward the email to my older half-sister and half-brother and tell them because of this I want nothing more to do with any of them ever again. I had it written out and decided to wait and not hit send. I decided to do nothing. I wasn’t about to email J back because she wanted to get a rise out of me and I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction.
I would like nothing more than to cut off all these half relatives from my life. Is it the right thing to do though? My happiest years were when I had no contact whatsoever with them. I don’t have other relatives though. It’s not like I have so many relatives that I can disown some and still have a bunch of others. Aside from them, I have 3 cousins and that’s IT. I don’t hear from the cousins either. My mom gets a Christmas card from the 2 girl cousins. I’ve tried to keep in touch via email with them but they don’t hold up their end of it. So I gave up.
J is the type that if I blocked her email, she would make it her life’s mission to track me down and heaven help me if she ever found my blog. I shouldn’t have to defend a 93 yr. old woman to someone who has no concept of what life was like then for her or what life is like now for her. In the throws of Alzheimer’s. I’m not about to tell J that Mom even has that. It would probably delight her to no end. There are many people who I feel have wronged me over the years and no matter what, I’ve never wished them ill. I just don’t want them anywhere near me. I don’t sit around thinking of ways to extract revenge or poking pins into a voodoo doll in their likeness. I try to enjoy what life has to offer because if you’re busy hating, you’re wasting time and missing out on some really good stuff. Stuff is the technical term. 😉
Which brings me to the matter of in-laws. My hubby has a huge family as I’ve said before. I have FEELINGS about most of them. Some good, some not good. I’m not going into detail at this time. I wrote this 2 days ago and debated even posting this stuff. I really don’t want to make things worse (none of them read the blog or even know about it as far as I know) but these feelings keep surfacing over and over. Maybe if I exorcise my demons by writing about them, they will go away? I’d really like advice on how you reconcile when you try but the other person doesn’t or maybe you both try and the relationship isn’t what you want. How do you live with it not being the way you want? I can’t control how others act or how they treat me. I have to either take it or not associate. Or is there a middle ground that adults who aren’t me can deal with?! I assume I have high expectations of people but other times I think it’s not me at all. I don’t think I’m being overly sensitive but I hate to sit by and watch them treat my husband differently from his siblings. I have to pretend I don’t know we were shunned from a party or some event. I’m not saying we would go, I’m saying we are treated differently. Well, we are very different. We like to give presents to his family which they never refuse. Yet, I don’t think I’ve gotten a single thing from any of them in over 20 years. Obviously I don’t need anything and that’s not the point. I guess what it comes down to is they don’t think of us. Which on some level, I think we like. We like living removed from the hometown most of them still live in. We like having a life away from them but I know that even if we lived in town, we wouldn’t be treated the same. Does everyone have these complex family relationships? Do you feel ill at ease around some relatives? I know it’s hard to get a grasp on what I’m talking about without being told actual specifics. I used to have high hopes that the weird relationship dynamic with the in-laws would resolve itself over time. I’m not that naive anymore. It will always either be like this or maybe worse.
Maybe I should carry a pie bird around in my pocket. So at least when I’m venting, it will look pretty…Thanks for hanging in there with what was basically a gripe session. I don’t want it to sound like I’m that unhappy, I’m not. Just a whole bunch of things culminated at once to bring these thoughts into my head.