|Dig in my perfectly manicured nails, kick off my high heels and climb out of that dark hole...|
January 5, 2012
It can be very true that it's sometimes our differences that make us draw to one another, it's also true that those differences can create huge obstacles.
Due to the on-going mess of Mum's estate, for the first time ever, my husband and I are in very regular and constant contact with all his siblings. Not just the ones we like and that like us. The ones that point in totally obvious ways the HUGE differences between my people and his family. (To be perfectly fair, however, I watched my parents evolve into a sort of version of Himself's family but with much better manners!)
Huge surprise, many of the NextGen (as we call all the nephews and nieces) are also involved in this estate thing, which surprised the siblings but I don't know why. To say it's all very complicated is such an understatement as to be laughable.
Of course, this means that the stress and unfinished business affects my husband and through him, little ol' me. And much to my horror, I found myself a few times acting, well, like one of them! In private of course, but still, I can almost see and hear my grandmothers gently admonishing me and all their examples of grace and charm fill my mind and heart. Only I've seen certain people in my husband's family push others into fury time and time again. People that have much less history than I do and as for Mum, well, ages ago, my aunt listened to me cry about some particular meanness and gently pointed out that it appeared to her that my mother-in-law had chosen to be bitter from all her life issues and problems instead of better. That stopped my crying (really just sniffling) and I was taken aback. I pondered upon that little conversation a long long time. When my other grandmother told me she believed firmly that some people are and here I quote "just not any good at being loved or getting love or receiving love and you, Sugar, have been lucky since birth, really easy to love but you love people back with all your heart. Some people just cannot."
At times, though, I fear that contact for so very long with some of these people has literally scarred me, as any contact with acid or poison or chemicals will do no matter how strong and brave someone is. Some of my fierceness about not allowing our sons to spend time alone EVER with Mum, most of the aunts and uncles, etc. on that side of the family came from making sure that my sons were not exposed to the absolutely toxic atmosphere and souls of these people. (Once I really shocked my husband when I pondered aloud that is was probably no small thing that so many of the worked for the Petrochemical and Chemical and Gas and Oil and Coal companies and were chemical engineers.)
Now, much of these ponderings come about from one of the most unexpected phone calls I received on New Year's Eve and he called me back on New Year's Day also. Let's see how to put our relationship in understandable terms: We have known each other since before we were even "gleams in our daddy's eyes) and everyone tells me I loved him from the moment he was introduced to me as a tiny toddler. (Pictures to prove it!) Barely fifteen months between us, and his elder brother was the boy I grew up believing loved me, these two people have been in my life forever and we are all very close. After I married Himself, we, this "little brother" of mine promised to keep up and look after each other. And we have. At times, I have had the odd feeling also, that he is keeping an eye on me for his brother and parents. I can't shake this feeling at all and it puzzles me. Still, we can practically read each other's mind, finish sentences for each other, share many of the same tastes and passions and can talk for hours about everything and nothing. It has been pointed out, time and time again...oh, well, that he looks a lot like Himself but blonder and of course, he's every inch of a Bluegrass Gentleman along the lines of his father and grandfather. For some odd reason, he's pretty protective of me even after all these years. He takes a huge interest in the boys and looked after BB II for years...I gave up trying to explain to anyone in my husband's family the complicated (but not to us) ties and links of the old families.
Anyway, we have a kind of belief in my family that "Hotel and Hospital Promises/Vows" are amongst the most sacred and unbreakable of them all. Three years ago, this person was the very first person (he drove over seventy miles through ice and snow at night) that showed up as I sat, shivering, in the waiting room of the ICU (after they had insisted I leave for a bit 'cause my knee had swollen up and I was trembling so badly and at that time, my husband had been put into a drug-induced coma but if that was true, why was it so hard to get his hand off my wrist, he clutched it so hard, I had bruises). Anyway, when I glanced up and saw my old family-friend making his way down the hall, peering here and there, for he had never been in this hospital ever...snow still on his broad shoulders and his hat in his hands...snow on his blonde hair, and oh the expression on his face! I could see him but he couldn't see me...for a few seconds I thought I had to be mistaken but no, there he was. When he ducked his head into the empty ICU family waiting room and saw me...I couldn't even move. He just came across the room soooo fast and practically lifted me up off that cold hard chair and every bit of my shivering seemed to melt into him....he's a big man, not as big as our sons but bigger in ways because of his very very physical and outdoor life...he's a mechanical engineer that also has a small farm and breeds brood mares, so he's spent his life working hard but oh he has the most wonderful taste in his garden and house and truly, has one of the most poetic and romantic souls I've ever known.
That night, I promised him something I would do and I have tried and tried but...well. Getting my husband well, the next wedding, the economic downturn...I've only made small progress on this but he still keeps reminding me of my promises. So, I guess it was he wants to make sure I don't forget and that time is running by...for he gently reminded me of that promise on New Year's Eve and again on New Year's Day.
I know much of my response to him is his accent and the way he speaks...and he's one of the few people I ever even pay attention to, no matter what others believe, he knows when I am truly listening and when I'm just being polite. What totally disarmed me was this:"I'm the closest thing you have for a big brother or even a father now..."this always make me laugh a little but he is deadly serious.
Let's see, how did he put it..."And as your brother, I can say things to you, your husband simply cannot. And I have your best interests at heart in a way only someone that has known your forever can." For by those words, all our shared history and memories and ties and bonds are brought to the surface...he's speaking to me...the person. Sometimes, I do wonder if perhaps his mother (and before he passed away, his father had something to do with his constant presence in my life but I truly don't know anymore) speaks with him or makes suggestions. They wanted so much for me and and later, my family...and now, I think they are trying to gently push back into the life I once cherished so much.
Funny, 'cause our local friends seem to be doing the same thing too. Time and time again, before it was ME that got so sick...everyone was asking me to accept invitations and attend things and even now, a friend called this morning about dinner in town Friday night, insisting I should feel well enough to go, even if Himself doesn't want to.
There isn't anyway I am going to discuss or explain the constant seemingly-never ending influence of this always felt, ongoing, Who's Got The Will? and "Where oh where did the money go?" cloud that has been hanging over us for four months now with no end in sight...or how tired I am for the death of Mum has hit everyone of the six siblings hard in ways both forseeable and unforseeable.
It's rather like a seriously terrible roller-coaster: A few good days or really nice days (and nights) and a phone call, a text, emails...and all I seem to be able to do is watch and try to be supportive. The after-life of each and every text, phone call, emails flying back-and-forth seem to last ten times longer than the actual event. Six children with twenty-plus year span...and my husband the absolute youngest one...at times I just don't know where to start. At all. For over the decades, Himself kept a huge distance from them all...even the one brother he's close to and pretty much I dealt with them instead. However, with this "issue" it has been made very clear to me...that I'm NOT a FamilyName...just a spouse.
When we were all in Texas for the funeral and packing up Mum's house...in that awful heat...several times, I just sat back amongst the packing boxes and duct tape and listened and watched...and watched the boys and their wives watching too! And here we are months later.
How to keep it from affecting me? Us? Our family? Changing telephone numbers, blocking emails, getting new email, moving to far far far North Canada, all has crossed my mind, name-changes, new identities anyone?