feed Subscribe to feed

Just to record some impressions

Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Monday, August 13, 2007 at 4:40 pm by flerly.

I guess everyone has their family weirdness. I didn’t realize how many different ways there were for families to just go wrong. I feel for others out there dealing with their struggles right now, but I’m just so damned tired that I don’t know how I could help.

This weekend, I met some guy who I used to call a brother… whom I haven’t seen since 1990, despite the fact that he has lived about 20 miles from my mom all these years.

He only vaguely even looks like the guy I remember, really vaguely. Still has the same voice, I guess. He looks like he’s lived a life that has taken quite a toll on him, frail, pale, crippled, constant pain that shows in his face. A person who would probably garner some sympathy in a stranger, so it was easier to detach and just think of him as a stranger in order to function. He doesn’t seem to want forgiveness for anything he may have put anyone in the family through so much as understanding for how he got into the mess he is currently in. He seems to be punishing himself plenty with regrets, but he also seems, probably thanks to his therapist, to understand that the people he’s hurt may or may not care about how he is punishing himself.

He says he’s out to reconnect now for his daughter’s sake, but I would hope it’s for his own. His daughter seems well-adjusted enough, if on the rebellious end of the spectrum, but not anything unexpected from the product of such a repressive household. His wife, her mother, has been and still is genuinely insane. The more I hear about her life, the more I actually feel sorry for her. To live with that kind of paranoia, with the constant fear that you’re about to lose everything, and I’m quite sure never actually feeling love… the condition begs some pity, but from her daughter now, there is no sympathy, only hate. The woman needs to be hospitalized.

“Brother” Bob has not been unchanged by his years of marriage to such a crazy person. I find him to be mentally and physically weak, and with the recent separation from his wife, he’s managed to build some kind of umbilical cord to his daughter, who seems to be all he is living for. He isn’t a person on his own anymore, he is simply her dad. Again, the situation should beg sympathy, as the 17-year-old senior begins her last year, with distant colleges already in her future.They laugh and tell us stories of her psycho mother following her to high-school to observe who she talks to, and I have images of lonely dad looking for a house near a distant college, and meeting his baby-girl for lunches on campus.

He is having an effect on us, though. Mom, most of all. Everyone is worried about him hurting her again. I can only see her consumed by worry about him, and coming back into her element as the mother he needs. In a year, if he hasn’t rationalized a way to move with Sarah, I see him getting a place with mom. He needs the care, and she needs the task. It could be mutually beneficial, if it wouldn’t make every other member of our family sick with the notion. It makes me sick. He really is in constant pain. A former strong working man has been brought down to pale and fragile with pain. More surgeries are in his future. In this scenario, I see my father… going from unstoppable hero of a hard-working man into shadow of himself in a matter of months. Death follows that. These men don’t know how to go on when they’ve lost their ability to live the only life they know — with their hands and the strength of their back.

Sarah, I’m very glad I met. She called us the “awesome side of the family” which I hope means she’ll stay in touch. We’re not parental types, but I hope we can be people she can turn to in need.

My sister is anxiously awaiting my report on the whole weekend, and I can only wonder if she’ll wait until we see her in person this coming weekend, or the phone will be ringing before then. I really don’t know what to tell her. As the youngest, I didn’t grow up with Bob. He’s old enough to be my father. I’m closer in age to his daughter than to him. That isn’t true for sis, though. Losing him was just more of a blow, I know that. Maybe that’s why I could be the first sibling he sees after all this time.

I will say one other thing, though. I took no pains to leave out any detail of relating all the wonderful family times we’ve had since we’ve seen him. Weddings, vacations, and gatherings at mom’s in particular. All things he should have been a part of, but choose not to be. I went on about my sister and her great husband and their daughters and their wonderful house and how close we all are. It felt good to make him really feel that he was an outsider. Inside I was saying, so what you’re so much older than me and you can claim you never really knew me…. Sis is older, too, and she is nothing if not my sister. We can talk. We are there for each other. We can have fun together. Your age difference excuse is just that, an excuse. You’ve missed out, and your weekend good deed to bring mom down to see my house isn’t going to change that.

Now, I think I need to write a letter to my sister to just thank her for being her and tell her how much I love her.

Tags: , ,

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Search this blog