Sometimes Anti is better

I love my family.

All sides. From the crazy, colorful, funny and fearless side to the painfully repressed; they are my family and I love them.

But I don’t want to deal with them this year. I should, with the death of my Father and Stepmother, I should want to do nothing but be around my family.

But I don’t. I don’t want to be around my father’s side of the family right now.

I feel bad, but I also know that it is better for me to handle myself the way I know how and to leave them be. They can keep any judgements to themselves, which they will anyway because they are all “too polite” to actually have awkward conversations that might result in actual results. See above: re repressed.

They mean well. They make all the right moves and say all the right things but the truth is I’ve never felt much of a connection to them. We’ve ALL tried. But when you have almost nothing in common with family, that’s when the trouble starts. People have to be free to feel comfortable and not feel like they have to watch what they say in case they accidentally spark off a conversation that inevitably turns to money, religion or politics. Which, when you have zip in common, almost always ends up being the topic!

So instead, I begged off; claiming I had to work because I work in retail now (thank THE LORD) and stayed in bed late with Boyfriend and Puppy just enjoying every moment until Boyfriend had to go to work.

My dinner will be chips and salsa or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and it will be delicious and satisfying. I might get up early and run to Target for a Black Friday deal on a sewing machine. But I might just stay in bed some more until I have to go to work myself.

I’m thankful that I gave myself that time. I’m thankful that my family might not understand but they accepted my excuse and didn’t push the issue. Truthfully they probably knew I wasn’t working, but that tendency towards repression worked in my favor.

And sometimes he SUCKS!

Boyfriend got himself fired from his job. Not as big of a deal as you’d think considering he had an interview where 3 departments at the same place want him; so yeah, he got a new job already. He’s that good.

But that new job doesn’t really start until mid-July-ish. So Boyfriend took a trip to see his family. Very thoughtful, very nice.

However, he didn’t buy a return trip ticket. So I have no idea when he’s coming home.

This wouldn’t be such a big deal except the last time he took a trip like this, is when I found my father dead and my stepmother died.

So yeah, I’ve been heavily medicated for the last 7 days, trying to distract myself from the irrational fear that someone else is going to die on me and I’m going to be by myself again for it.

Stupid. It’s stupid.

I was under the impression that he was coming home Wednesday, he did not.

Father’s Day is Sunday. The first Father’s Day since my Dad died. I’m having a bit of a hard time with it. Combined with missing Boyfriend and PMS this is just a sh*t storm of emotions right now. But I can’t be that girlfriend who whines and cries and begs for Boyfriend to come home and be with me during my Emotional Tornado. I’m not that girl.

But I got tired of the anxiety and asked him outright if he was coming home before Sunday so I could mentally prepare myself to be alone. I tried to word it so he didn’t feel manipulated; frankly I wasn’t trying to manipulate him I was trying to figure and make my plan for the day so I don’t stay locked inside my house crying because I’m thinking too hard.

He’s going camping with his Dad.

And I’m jealous. I’m mad. I want to scream at him “YOU SUCK!” because he gets to do whatever he wants and I’m stuck here and I have to deal with this alone, again.

I’ll be fine, I’ll cry and be sad, but I’ll be fine. I’ll visit with Brother and possibly Baby Nephew at the cemetery. I know myself and I know I’m not headed for a breakdown.

But it sucks that he’s not hurrying home to be with me. I know. It’s really stupid of me to think that way. But it’s what’s going on in my noggin.

Parent or Husband?

Brother is going to couple’s therapy with Faux.

Initially he said he was going so they could both learn to co-parent Baby Nephew, which admittedly is exactly what I’d expect from Brother. The willingness to cooperate for the good of his son.

The problem is, they went to her therapist.

Granted, Brother had prepped by talking to his own therapist, gotten some verbal tools and insight to keep himself on task and what to expect. Faux sat sobbing as Brother explained how betrayed and hurt he’s felt for months. Every time Brother would make a statement, the therapist would turn to Faux and “translate”, basically dumb it down for Faux.

Faux is not smart. She’s also very immature and selfish.

Which made me bring up this question to Brother:

Do you want to be a parent to Baby Nephew and to Faux?

Faux is behaving like a child. Instead of coming to the conclusion that shacking up and seeing this other dude was wrong; she had to be told by her therapist to move out of this other dude’s home if she wants any chances at making the marriage work.

Sorry, but that seems like a BIG FAT DUH to any reasonable human! But Faux had to be told!

Faux also wants a laundry list of actions she can do to “earn back the trust” of Brother. She doesn’t seem to understand that even if she follows through and does anything and everything suggested; that trust may not ever come back. It’s like she moved out of the Other Dude’s house and expected Brother to just welcome her back into his arms and for everything to fine.

She forgets that she left my Brother emotionally for months before. Granted, Brother says that he “shut down” and “didn’t communicate” his feelings…I looked at him and said “Oh. Well. That makes you a guy. So what?” because it’s completely understandable for the situations he was going through that he would shut down and not talk to the one person who was supposed to be supportive unconditionally but was making the situation worse!

Brother has made it clear that he’s not going to make any rash decisions, and I support that. If it turns out that he and Faux get back together, it will be difficult, but I’ll support that too. Through gritted teeth.

My biggest concern is my brother and my nephews’ happiness. Because Brother can’t relate to nor have regular conversations with Faux, I firmly believe that they should part ways and accept that they were only brought together to create Baby Nephew. That they won’t be happy if they remain in the marriage together. They are too different. But it doesn’t mean they didn’t love each other at one time. It just didn’t work out. The divorce doesn’t have to be nasty, I just think it needs to happen for the sake of each of them.

Kitchen

My dad died in the kitchen of his house.
My brother has moved into that house since he’s pretty much getting a divorce and the lease was up on the house he was living in.
Brother’s friends have been amazing. They have rallied around him, assisting with everything from patching walls to re-doing the garage to helping him move all his stuff.
I did my best to chip in.
Until Brother asked me to unpack the fridge food into the kitchen.

I can’t step foot in the kitchen, not yet. The only way in or through the kitchen is right over where my father died. So no. I can’t go into the kitchen. I can go around it, the way the house is built makes it possible. Not through it though. I just can’t.

I know it’s ridiculous. I know I’ll get over it. Nobody is pushing me to get past that hangup. But I know that I need to. I just can’t help it. When anyone walks through the kitchen, I think about how I found my dad and it puts me right back to that place and I want to run screaming from the county. Yes, the county.

I’m glad Brother is living in the house, he’s fixing it up and eventually we’ll end up selling it I’m sure. But for now, I’m glad he’s living in the house he grew up in. That’s what that house is to Brother.

To me, that’s the house that killed my dad. So no, I don’t ever want to live there. Ever.

Fast but Slow

No one ever tells you that when a parent dies; time speeds up and slows down simultaneously.

Let me explain.

Since the deaths of my Dad and Chatty, it’s been 23 days. But it feels like it’s only been a week. Because there’s been so much to do and everyone has been hurrying us up to do it. Brother has been the better one; he’s gotten little things done every day. Don’t get me wrong, within the first week I was all “I’ll do this and I’ll do that and boom – done!” but now; I feel like…I don’t know.

I don’t want to sound like we haven’t done anything. Brother and I have gotten so much done, met and planned the memorial site (both are being cremated and their remains co-mingled) and begun plans for the Celebration of Life. Brother and his best friend have been cleaning out the house where my Dad died (I managed to make it to the foyer the first time back, then I was able to walk through the house but not the kitchen) and found Chatty’s wedding set which my Dad had hidden (because “the caregivers may be able to crack the safe!”) in his sweatpants drawer. So I’m very happy that their wedding rings will be interned with their urn in the vault at the marker.

And I think I’m going to ask Brother to include Dad’s Eagle Scout card too. Initially I had asked to have it. But the more I think about it, the more wrong it feels to not include it in the personal items in the urn. Dad was very proud of being an Eagle Scout. He was a card-carrying Eagle Scout. Not even joking. When he would meet with new clients or anyone new, he would pull it out of his wallet and say “Do you see this card? It means I don’t lie.”

Now, unfortunately that couldn’t be true these last few years. But for the majority of my Dad’s life; it was true. He didn’t lie. His Integrity and his ability with Logic were his thing. That doesn’t mean he didn’t make mistakes in his life, but he didn’t lie. Not really. Not when it counted.

Back to the subject; the time space whack-job that’s been happening to me.

First, I went back to work too soon and now I’m convinced more than ever before in the 10 years I’ve worked here that I will be quitting The Cubicle Farm soon. Very soon. The sooner the better. Even though my having a steady job in an industry that was secure was very important to my Dad, I just can’t do it for much longer. I’m not and have never been a Sheep and this place has crushed my soul for the last time.

Because I came back too soon, I’ve been avoiding work. My birthday week/end time off had already been planned and approved, but then I couldn’t get back in there again. I took another bereavement day. Then another. Then a vacation day. Then Boyfriend got sick so I stayed home to take care of him and take him to the doctor, etc. The Cubicle Farm decreed that “because you aren’t married” I couldn’t get paid for the sick time. Whatever. I didn’t want to be there anyway, but it sucks that I can’t supplement my unpaid time with paid vacation time. No no, that would be the human thing to do. The Cubicle Farm doesn’t function that way. Then I took a personal day. Now, next week, I’ll literally be working Monday and that’s it. I managed to get two vacation days in as well as knowing I’ve still got 2 more bereavement days. So yeah, avoiding is the word lately.

Because I’ve had the time, I’ve noticed that it’s been going faster. Going to therapy, trying to sleep, trying to do anything has gotten difficult. Even Pole! I’ve skipped THREE classes this week, and I’m supposed to be training for competition! It’s all really gotten away from me. And that’s bad.

I just can’t seem to get it together again yet. I’m really hoping that once the Celebration of Life is done, my life will normalize again. Not zoom forward or slow to a snail’s pace like it has been. When I need it to slow down, like when I’m trying to sleep or trying to cuddle with Puppy or Boyfriend, time speeds up or becomes so much more limited, but when I’m in The Cubicle Farm or home by myself (with Puppy, but she can’t talk so it’s not like I can have a conversation, sheesh!) time seems to run almost cruelly slow. The other day I took 2 baths, 2! That’s an excessive amount of baths for one person in one day! And I did it because I had the time. As lovely as I smelled after, bath bombs are my JAM right now, I didn’t enjoy myself. Not like I should have given I took 2 FREAKING BATHS, ugh.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to make everything feel more normal again. Probably more time, just depends on the speed I suppose.

Oh Brother

Brother has been holding out on me.

Turns out that Faux actually left him, right before Christmas. I wish he’d told me, but I understand the embarrassment he felt and the fact that he didn’t want me to hunt Faux down and rip her face off with my bare hands…figuratively, I think. I don’t know, I’m not one for violence but that girl left her husband AND her baby right before Christmas…she could use a bit of a unleashing of fury. Maybe. I’m not 100% sure yet.

Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s heinous and I’m afraid that she only wants to “work things out” with Brother now that she knows there may be some inheritance coming. Which goes back to her being heinous; but she’s also not very smart. So I don’t think Brother will fall for it; but if he does then I’ll welcome her back in to the family, with no venom.

But I’ll be watching her.

Together

New Year’s Day, Brother got the call. Chatty was fading; her time was short.
Naturally, after hearing from Brother, we both made attempts to call Dad. No answer. I told Brother that I would go over to the house and pick him up and meet at the hospice so we all could be there for Chatty.

On the drive, I called my Mommy. Going to get my Dad to take him to go say his final goodbyes felt like a very big job and I’m just a tiny little person. I called Pretty to send up some prayers. I called and asked one of my Uncles to keep trying Dad’s phone while I drove, I wanted to be safe.

I got to the house and opened the gate, parked the car and ran to the back to see if Dad was on the couch in the living room. I banged on the glass, but the couch was empty. I thought maybe, just maybe, he was upstairs in the bathroom or doing some little project. So I ran around to the front and started banging on the door. I banged on the front door until my knuckles were bruised. I rang the doorbell over and over in between banging the door, I screamed “DAD!” until I thought the neighbors might call the police. But I kept at it. I thought about breaking a window and how pissed off Dad was going to be, so I thought I’d try the back one last time, maybe one of the sliding glass doors would be open.

I was right, one of the sliders came open and I exclaimed “Thank God” and took 3 steps into the dining room.

Then I saw him. Not moving, on the floor. *I’m going to spare you the details, sorry*

I started screaming. I’m not sure how it started or if I was screaming any words. I just know I was screaming. Loud, and from everywhere inside me.
I knew he was dead because he hated when I get emotional and yell or scream or cry. Somehow, amidst my screaming, I managed to call 911 and gave the information and address, then I had to scream again. Raising the phone to my ear again, I gave some more info, then had to scream again. This happened at least 3 times. Each time the dispatchers asked me a quick question and then let me scream. They gave me the time, I gave them the information. They stayed on the line with me until the first responders came. During the screaming, I managed

They made quick work. I don’t even think they stayed in the house longer than 2 minutes. When they came back out, they confirmed what I already knew. My Dad was dead, and had been for at least a day.

The sheriffs tried to get me to sit down, but I was shaking so violently that if I stayed in a seated position I would shake myself through the crust of the Earth’s surface.

I managed to pace, even though my legs didn’t want to function.

My first instinct was to call Brother and let him know that I had failed and I couldn’t bring Dad to say goodbye because he was already gone. But I think I scream/sobbed that “He’s dead” instead of breaking the news gently. I can’t really be sure and I don’t want to ask Brother if he remembers what I said. I remember him sobbing and saying how sorry he was that I found Dad and that he wasn’t there with me. I remember saying “No no, it’s ok. I’m ok. You’re with Chatty, stay with her, I’ll call you back.”

I called my Uncle, still not calm, but I managed to convey the news without terrorizing him. They jumped in the car to come to the house.

Then I called my Mommy. And came unglued again. Terribly. My poor Mommy, so far away from me and freaking out because I’m shrieking and sobbing and screaming and obviously in a spectacular state. She stayed on the phone with me until the Crisis Team (whom the first responders had called because I was in RARE FORM for freak outs) and then my Uncle and Aunt came.

Then I called Boyfriend, who was out of town visiting family. By then I’d stopped screaming, but I was still sobbing pretty violently so I can’t imagine that was pleasant to experience.

When my head came back together, I knew. I wasn’t going to make it to say goodbye to Chatty; and knowing Brother he wouldn’t tell her that Dad was gone. So I called Brother back and told him to hold the phone up to her so I could say goodbye. And I did, I said “I love you, it’s ok to let go. Dad’s waiting for you. It’s ok now. Brother is going to be fine, I’m going to be fine. It’s ok now.”

According to Brother, she passed about 10 minutes later.

I firmly believe that she knew Dad had died a day or two before, so she’d started the process of her own release in order to cause an alert to the family. Knowing full well, that someone (most likely me) would go over to the house to pick Dad up to come and say goodbye but then discover his remains. It wasn’t until she knew that he had been found and that we all knew that she decided to join him. Frankly, it’s a beautiful representation of their co-dependency, teamwork and the level of devotion they had to one another.

Dad, naturally, having to micromanage everything, would have to be the first one to go in order to “organize everything” and Chatty came in with the save to complete the process. That’s how they worked in their office, that’s how they worked in their marriage. They were always always together.

It’s been a rough 48 hours; Brother and I are in constant contact. People are naturally curious as to “what happened” because it’s so odd that they would both pass so close in time but so far away in distance (about 20 miles or so, he in the home, she in the hospice) and because his death was so sudden and unexpected.

It’s hard for me not to give the details because, it turns out, I’m the only one in the family who actually saw him because I discovered his body. The sheriff’s wouldn’t allow my Uncle or Aunt in when they arrived. So yeah, I’m the only one with the picture in my head. I’ve described it on accident to others, but I don’t want to keep doing it. It forces me to live a terrifying moment. And while I know that in time it will fade, I’m not quite ready to deal with it 100% I don’t think.

Brother and I are in the planning phase; it’s going to be a rough time and because of the magnitude of everything, it’s going to be a long time before everything is settled. But we’re a team, we keep saying it to each other to make sure the other knows they aren’t the only one.