Sunday, March 22, 2009

RBOC of "Life's a Beach"

  • Apparently there was a service - today - as a "close friend" of my stepmother's accidentally blurted out to me at the end of the calling hours (so I suppose they're not all that close after all or the friend would have known that I'm not "really" part of the family) - and I wasn't invited. Nice.
  • So I've got no idea what's happened to my father's ashes, but I figure that since I had to bust my ass to visit my father for the past 15 years with no reciprocity that I'm probably exempt from having to visit his remains. In other words, wherever the ashes are is fine with me, though, as my mom noted, this does sort of exemplify the way that my stepmother has held him hostage (though in his life with his permission, so it wasn't all her) all this time.
  • The calling hours thing wasn't so bad. Only A. ended up coming of my friends (J.'s mom had emergency gall bladder surgery so direct your prayers that way!), but my uncle and his wife did come, too, and my grandmother's sister and one of her daughters. The whole thing was an episode of Celebrity Widow - not at all a send-off for the recently departed - and thus (I thought) gross - but I think I handled the whole thing with class and sensitivity. I realize my classiness and sensitivity are not in evidence here, but I blew my wad on that yesterday.
  • I should admit, though, that A. and I were starved in the middle of the whole thing, so at one point cut out for some taco bell, which some might not regard as a classy move. Hilariously, at about the same time my brothers cut out with some of their friends for dairy queen. Were my dad not dead and all, I think he would have been right there with us.
  • The great thing about the whole thing being Celebrity Widow was that I did get to have private (i.e., no stepmother keeping watch) conversations with my brothers, and the three of us are cool with one another and I think they get where I'm coming from in terms of wanting a relationship with them and being here for them.
  • Today I went to mass with my mother and it was really just perfect. Because it was a Lenten mass, the readings and the sermon were all about death and rebirth, and living with Christ as an example, and it really just was the perfect thing. Then I went to lunch with my parents, and then my mom and I tried to go visit my grandma but she wasn't home, so we left a flower and a note. Duty there done.
  • Now I'm back home with my kitties, and I'm feeling like I got the closure that I needed. Of course I'm still grieving, and will continue to do so, but I feel like I said goodbye to my father and at peace with things.
  • I think my favorite thing of yesterday was that one of the pictures (one of the few that included me) that was displayed was one that I didn't know existed. The picture seems to have been taken in the summer, when I was 12 or 13. I think that the picture, aside from my apparent age, can be dated about 1987, from my outfit. In the picture, a bunch of people are sitting around a table outside, at what appears to be a cookout of some kind. I'm sitting on my dad's right, my dad was in the middle, and my stepmother was on his left. My dad has his arm around my stepmother, and they're smiling happily. I'm a few inches from my father, arms crossed, a look of pure misery on my face. What was I wearing? Jams (totally) and a bright yellow t-shirt that said "Life's a Beach" in huge black block letters. First, there's something about my miserable scowl and posture that is so perfect with that shirt. But second, I really felt after seeing that picture totally validated in my feelings about where I've fit into my father's life for the past 23 years. I didn't make this shit up. "Life's a beach," indeed.
Thank you again for all of your condolences. They have meant so much.


Virginia S. Wood, PsyD said...

Funerals do bring out the best in families, don't they?

(that was sarcasm)

Unknown said...

I've been reading all these posts and all I can say is boy, your step-mother seems to be a piece of work. That, and you should friend your brothers on facebook or something so that you can have the sort of low grade awareness of each other that might make future real contact easier to initiate when the time is right.

AAYOR said...

I'm glad you made it through in one piece. You sound well and I hope that you are.

p.s. i had that outfit, only mine was a "Frankie says Relax" t-shirt.

Anonymous said...

my sister totally had that shirt. I can so picture it. and I cherish the fact that you cut out for taco bell. it's perfect.

life_of_a_fool said...

I'm glad you had a chance to talk to your brothers, and that there's hope for an ongoing relationship with them. And I'm glad you feel a sense of closure.

* said...

I'm glad you found some closure, too, despite the obstacles (am still shaking my head in disbelief about the service/noninviting part). ((((Dr. Crazy))))

Sisyphus said...

Heh --- it wasn't one of those Hypercolor shirts? :P

Ahhh, you are making me remember such things! ---- horrible, horrible, trauma inducing fashion memories.

I was just wondering when the biker shorts with the lime green stripe down the side was coming back!

grumpyABDadjunct said...

It sounds like you handled things really well, good for you!

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

At Sir John's father's viewing, his teenaged nephews & I all cut out for Mickey D's. I don't think anyone realized we'd gone, even though we told the appropriate people.

Take care.

Susan said...

Crazy, I was away for the weekend, so just heard your news -- I'm so sorry. Like all your other fans, I'm impressed by how classy you've been. As for your stepmother? Yikes. Celebrity widow indeed! It's good that one of you has class! What's really funny is she probably did not realize how revealing that photo is.

I'm glad you managed to provide yourself some ritual that felt right. We can't always count on our families, but we can take care of ourselves.

Good luck with the weeks ahead.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

Very sorry about your father. Hope you're doing well.

timna said...

I'm just catching up. my thoughts are with you.

Doctor Pion said...

I hope you got a photo of that photo, even if it doesn't capture a happy time in your life.

Glad to hear about your conversation with your brothers. They offer a way to visit your father's remains should that matter to you in the future, and you offer a connection to an extended family they might value greatly in the future.

Professor Zero said...

Condolences and congratulations on getting through it so well.