When 2019 started it rolled into a year where there were growing medical problems in my mom’s household that demanded attention from family. I had started some personal projects that were not going well, my head was not in the game, and I was really feeling like things were not going my way. Who knew?
To begin with, 2018 was a shit-show for much of the year. My relationship was starting to show stress and all my projects were just fucking hard. I was really experiencing some burnout and the universe was trying to tell me to just stop. I did not listen.
So everything for my mom and step-dad turned to shit quickly and they ended up in hospital. Eventually they ended up in hospice care and it was unlikely they were going to survive as late as Christmas 2019.
My mom and step-dad eventually came out of hospice and needed more care. Neither could take care of their finances and my mom may well have come to a point it was no longer safe for her to drive or manage some of her basics. So changes.
I managed their bills for 2 years. There was no family around to do anything, or at least there was no will to jump into that fire, by anyone but me. Granted, there were offers from the step-sibs but it would have been a bigger mess. I did this with a sense of duty to a parent, that there was no one else, and not a sense of much more.
My parents were people who should never have had children. The same could be said for my step-dad, so you can see there are some personalities at work here that were very much in their own reality. There was a history of abuse, parental irresponsibility, sexual deviation, and just shitty behavior in general.
My dad (the biological one who is referenced in this site a few times under #jack) Jack was a well known artist who did absolutely amazing work as a cartoonist as his second job. His parents were Ray and Voneta, and he had a sister named June. There was nothing I could find by talking to relatives that indicated my paternal grandparents were anything less than ‘normal’.
There is the exception that my grand-dad was an alcoholic, a point my father was sure to make that I understood when we went back to his family home after his parents were both passed. My grandmother Voneta had intense eyes I can remember as if she sat across me today.
Her dad, my great grandfather George, his 2nd wife was Mirdle, were amazing. I have nothing but great memories of them.
My mom is Sallie. She is also still alive even though in the last 2 years we were sure she was not going to survive. She said on a number of occasions that she was not long for this world. There was a point about six months ago when I started to realize she was going to out-live me.
She worked hard in her life and had a less than pleasant life and I think when she retired she thought she was leaving all of it behind. The thing is no matter what, changing your environment to avoid your own miserable personality is not going to change that fault in who you are.
She became an alcoholic and was so bad that I was forced to simply walk away. Yes, she eventually became active in AA, but there was a point where she drifted away from that foundation. Instead of it being called out and urging her to return to meetings, she drank copious amounts of Old Miluakee and convinced herself it was okay. I found a bottle of wine hidden in the house when I was there not long ago.
There is a personality to an alcoholic that is selfish and self serving. In my adult life today I am surrounded by them. And many are rooted in the 12 steps and practicing being a healthier human and I never saw that in my mom. It was getting worse by the day.
Her parents were genuine, salt of the earth, true and green as they get Irish folk. The matreiarch was Phyllis (aka Phylligumbo) and her dad was Charles N.. I wish I got to know them better, but I was genuinely blessed to have known them. My mom had four brothers and a sister. My mom was the oldest of them. What a bunch of characters. I can say that not one of them seems to be a clone of the other, but all her siblings were their own people.
And the last player in this is my step-dad, Bob (Robert). That man was one of three men to marry my mom and the third man that was just a shit on so many levels. Yes, a classic alcoholic, with little or no sense of other people around him that mattered.
He had a sense of humor that was sometimes funny, usually inappropriate, and often unkind. In the last year of his life he was always in a diaper and confined to bed. Much of that last year the dementia was so bad I was not sure he had his faculties at all. He died abruptly in October.
Bob had siblings that were just as wildly different as my mom’s siblings. Linda was amazing, kind, and giving. Dennis was about as lost as Bob. Jay was a good man, but I did not know him hardly at all. His wife and I sometimes talked and he had to have been awesome to have such a kind wife like Ellen.
My bio sister is Lynn. She and I grew up oil and water. Our parents played us against each other our whole lives. I blamed my dad for that most of my life, but in the last couple of years it became clear how much my mom was involved in that as well.
Lynn probably grew up as close to normal as she could, given the crazi-ass family dynamic we had. I have no idea what her thought on all that was, but looking at her success in life is satisfying in a way. She managed to raise some very beautiful kids and get them into college.
We have not really spoken in 30 years. We had a huge fight that had been boiling on the stove like a pot with a lid locked on it that channeled an entire childhood. I was ugly, mean and filled with emotion. It is a time in my life I regret.
I failed her as a big brother. I have 3 landmark points in my life with her that seem to define a lot:
- when she was about 2 or younger (not really sure), I was swinging a bat to hit a ball. She yelled, “I got it” and ran face first into the swinging bat. It hit her right in the mouth. That moment is frozen in my memory. I was 5 or 6 at the time.
- one of my friends was being a dick and we were all alone in the house. He wanted to do something that was on the level of supreme asshole and I told him “no”. He jumped in front of her with his dick out and it was such a shit thing to do. I am not sure if I ever talked to him again after that. I honestly do not remember.
- once when I was driving her to her dentist appointment, or was it for her braces, we talked about me being gay. She told me she wished I was not gay. In that moment, for her, I wished the same thing. For myself too, because it was a different world back then.
I have steps too! Bob’s kids, husband #3, had five kids. They had 2 different mothers, because Bob.
- Sean (mother #2) was the youngest. I had known Sean his entire life at one point. He married his first girlfriend he met when they were like 12 or 13. She is an amazing woman. He and I have not talked in so long I could not tell you.
- Jennifer (mother #2) is the most troubled. Can’t say much about her because everything I write sounds a bit judgy and bitchy. There was a short time when she and I were fine, but she has a lot of baggage to deal with.
- Christine (mother #2) is the one I grew up with and we maintained a dear relationship much of our lives. She was very important to me and still is, but I worry about her. Her husband, John, is perfect for her. He is amazing, strong and more man than most men I ever met.
- Rob (mother #1) on the surface seems the least scared by his dad, but he seems to be the best at self preservation. He was simply not willing to jump in the path of the bus Sallie and Bob was driving and probably the best for it. His wife is such a cool chick.
- Tracy (mother #1) is an amazing woman whose journey feels like the most relatable. She is caring for her mom now, they struggle with each other, but she is surviving. In my eyes she is a super hero.
That was a lot about a few people none of you know about. I think writing this tonight was just something I needed to do for my own mind. I want to write about this nonsense.
Of my own immediate family, I have decided I needed to walk away. Just in the last week or so I realized that all that venom was more than I could handle any more.
There were some events that got me there. But looking around and seeing where my mom was in the scheme of things made it vital for me to step away. Especially with my sister entering the picture.
The venom I was getting from Lynn and her husband Tom was not deserved. They were hanging on to a mislaid past. A past I have mostly let go of. It is also a past I have been working on for a long time. I have not caught up with all the stories I have written over the years on this blog about that. I could catch up.
For now. I want to channel this stuff out myself and free myself.