joannebest











{June 5, 2013}   Long Way From Home

communion
Is it always this way?
Families.
Crumbling falling breaking down breaking apart going going gone.
It’s true, in most cases, the Mother is the heart of the Family.
Our heart is dead and every limb on our little Family tree is broken beyond repair now.
Infighting isn’t the correct word, it doesn’t explain the destruction and rapid decline of a Family now consisting of one Father, two Sons and one daughter.
We are all broken and at a time we should be pulling together we are instead pulling apart despite my best efforts to keep a broken Family as whole as we can be when the most important part of the puzzle is forever gone.
At a time when we should be close, my 86 year old Father has decided he needs no sons, no daughter, no Family and in fact is basically disowning us.
I say us but I’m the middle-child-only-daughter, and the truth is I can usually manage to get through to my Father. A little bit. Usually. Sometimes.
He hasn’t disowned me, yet, but the fact that he feels there is no problem with disowning his sons is killing me.
We are blood, we are bound together in this lifetime through our bloodline and no matter how nasty he can get I can’t help it, I still love my Father and, deservedly or not, I still respect the fact that he is My Father.
Maybe it’s the memories; me in my Communion Dress driving home from Nana’s house falling asleep on my Father’s lap as he sang “Daddy’s Little Girl” to me.
Walking down Third Street at the age of 4 on a full moon Halloween night, my hand clasped firmly in his as I safely strutted my gypsy-wear, trick-or-treating my way up and down the street. Tugging on his hand to hurry because, candy, and him pretending he couldn’t keep up with me while enjoying every moment.
Me being so sick his employer sent a holy-shit-your-kid’s-pretty-fucking-sick fruit basket to the house and all I cared about was the Mary Poppins doll Daddy bought me.
Walking down to the corner bar where my Dad worked a second job as a bartender on weekends, the only 8 year old sitting at the bar, swinging my feet drinking root beer and eating Slim Jims as my Dad got all the old records the jukebox man took out and handed them over to me.
Maybe I’m just a sentimental old fool, melancholy flowing through my veins as I watch my entire past implode.
Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment as I continue to love my Father even when his face takes on that detached look as he tells me he doesn’t need any of us.
But maybe it’s also because I’m unfortunately an expert when it comes to Alzheimer’s and I’ve been watching his descent for years now, doing everything the law would allow to get control of it before it got control of him but there’s that whole doctor/patient thing so I only got so far, but nowhere near far enough. Now it’s advancing more rapidly.
My brothers (deal with it bro, this is my blog and nobody told you to read it) refuse to recognize the fact that my Father is grieving for my Mother, his wife of what would have been 65 years come August.
I love my brothers but we are different, they both married and had 3 children each, white picket fences and minivans, I married, but wrote songs and played shows, recorded cd’s and ooops I forgot to have kids. And I pass no judgment on them, I love and accept them as they are and only want the same in return.
But.
One of the side effect of me not having kids was the amount of time I spent with both my Parents together, me staying there night after night as they aged and broke bones and had eye surgeries and different cancer surgeries and treatments. Me going away with my Mom twice a year and talking, always talking as I thirsted for her stories. Me being there, being the one who watches and thinks and sees. And me who didn’t move right out at 18 never to return except for holiday visits for the most part.
There’s a reason they say a daughter’s a daughter for all of her life and a son is a son till he takes a wife.
In other words brothers mine, I think I know them a little better than you. It doesn’t matter how much of a mean son of a bitch he is, he’s our mean son of a bitch who gave us life, drove 80 miles a day round trip to work so he could pay for that house in the suburbs, those two weeks at the beach every fucking summer and the Pennsylvania trips we always took.
He bought all those presents under the tree and fed us and guess what?
We are not entitled to anything just because we were born.
And don’t even with the semantics, I know Mommy worked too but not until we were all in double digits, this isn’t about her, except for the fact that our Father, my Father, just lost his wife of 65 years, the woman he loved and lived his life with.
They were us once upon a time. Then they grew old.
But they were us, why can’t you see that we will be them one day? I don’t have kids, but brothers mine, can you even imagine, in your wildest of dreams, how you would feel to know you are losing your mind but are too proud and scared to admit it,and to know your sons have no use for you and your wife died; to be a control freak with no control over anything anymore.
Can you even imagine how that must feel?

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{May 26, 2013}   I Rant

rantexplodekaboom
Gather ’round kiddies, it’s that time again. Pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable and allow me to indulge myself in a mini-rant.
Ok so here’s the deal: I’m having a really shitty life weekend.
I hate whining, I really do, but sometimes it’s the only way to rid myself of this damn cranky cloud following me around.
It started off on a good foot, a three-day weekend stretched out ahead of me full of endless possibilities, all of them, at least in my head,full of yummy goodness.
Then the winds started whipping up.
Both literally and figuratively.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good wind storm as much as the next person. But this little thing called ‘the internet’ seems to have a love/hate relationship with weather meaning I’ve been more internet-less than not since Friday night. Makes it kinda tough to do pretty much most of the things I wanted to do which leads to cranky-town.
Then there’s the figurative.
Saturday morning I went to see my Dad. I’m still in the process of going through all my Mom’s stuff which is a lot harder than I can say. I’m an emotional girl on a good day so needless to say there were lots of tears as I continued reducing my Mother’s life into boxes.
Meanwhile my Father is becoming more uncontrollable by the day. He’s the definition of cranky old man and he’s just getting crankier and more irrational every time I see/talk to him.
He now refuses to sign any of the paperwork needed to be signed.
He also said that he’s decided he doesn’t need or want any help when it comes to his three children. He’s independent, he said, he has his ‘friends’ to help him and oh yeah, by the way three children of mine, I’m leaving everything to my ‘friends’ at the bar, said he.
As I sobbed in my Mother’s room at the thought that my own Father considers me disposable, he told me to stop crying.
Gotta love the sensitivity of some men.
I thought of all I’ve done for him all my life, how hard my younger brother and I worked to get that damn house rebuilt after the hurricane knocked it down, how I’ve always been the one on my Father’s side as the rest of the family barely tolerates him.

I’m not looking for a pot of gold at the end of a black colored rainbow but goddamn it if he thinks he’s going to take my safety net away from me in order to make his new-found ‘friends’ feel important, he’s in for a future of nightmares because my Mother may be gone from this world but she will NOT I repeat NOT allow this happen.

I’m grieving and I find that I’m, for all intents and purposes, an orphan now.

The only problem is, no matter what he does or doesn’t do, I can’t help it. I love my Father.
It would just be nice if he felt the same about me.

PS: This is in no way a rant designed to evoke sympathy, to make excuses for my behavior or lack thereof, but more of a spew onto the page without thought. And by the way, it’s really difficult to write any thing of any kind when my only place to write is sitting at the kitchen table making me available to the household to fill any role they decide needs filling.
This is meant to be a Holiday weekend but it’s turned more into a weekend from Hell.
Oh man, there goes my name once again being hollered.
So…still another day of the holiday weekend left?
As someone way more famous than me once said, please kill me now.
And yes that sound you heard was me hitting my head against the table. Repeatedly.

And they wonder why I prefer writing about vampires….
what doesn't kill youi'm fine



aunt becky5stagesgriefuncle max
I hate today.
Ok that’s a little extreme, I don’t love today, how’s that?
It’s this death thing I’m having so much trouble with. Because even though I’ve lost more friends than I can count over the years somehow it’s just not the same when it comes to losing my Mom.
I hate whining.
And I feel like every time I talk/think/mention/cry about this thing called grief I’m getting on everyone’s nerves.
Is this the way it all works? Is this part of the grieving process?
I don’t know what to do.
I mean yeah, there’s tons to do like having to go through all my Mom’s stuff, finish writing Thank You notes to people and believe me, as much as I love to write, these cards are way harder than I expected because I can’t do what my sister-in-law suggests and just sign our Family name, I have to personalize each and every one which turns into tears hence the reason they aren’t all done yet.

My remaining Family, my Dad and 2 brothers seem like it’s no big deal. That’s not true, I know they are all grieving in their own way but their own way doesn’t weigh much these days.
Infighting has begun.
What are we going to do about 86 year old Dad? He’s the definition of independent and always has been. He was born in 1927 to an unmarried woman who died by the time my Dad was 2 years old. That’s the story we were given,although there’s some big gigantic family secret one of my Aunt’s promised she’d tell my Mom “one day” but that Aunt died before she revealed the secret.
We think the secret is that my Dad was born out of wedlock but we figured that one out a long time ago. Plus we have these old pictures of my Dad’s relatives that leave no room for doubt that we are related, I mean ‘Aunt Becky’ looks exactly like my older brother if he was a girl (ok, so I guess I resemble her too) and ‘Uncle Max’ may or may not be my Dad’s grandfather because he looks scarily like my Dad when he was younger. And then there’s my Dad’s twin brother who supposedly died when he was less than a year old. My Dad’s sister looked nothing like anyone in the family and the rumor is she was adopted, or she was another born-out-of-wedlock baby but her birth certificate said she was born in Italy.

I hate family secrets.

I also hate when I ramble.

My Dad doesn’t know how to show love and hides behind sarcasm, jokes, and crankiness. He wants to live alone. Relatives who shall remain nameless think he should be declared mentally incompetent. To them I say Fuck You.
Yes he is dipping his toes into the pool of Alzheimer’s but I’m an expert on the subject after taking care of my Mother-in-law till the day she died, my Dad has a long way to go to get anywhere near the severity she suffered. And I call or check in on him every day.

I don’t know how to do this.
I’m tired of crying.
I’m control-less and not ashamed to admit I’m completely lost as to how to handle this grieving process.

I know there’s books out there about the stages of grief but I can not bear to even think of reading about it, I just want to bury my head in the sand forever.

I’m sorry to babble incoherently, but somehow, it helps.

I think I need to regroup.
And write.

I also think, no I know, I need a hug.



et cetera