Saturday, April 21, 2012

Death of a friend

One of my friends died this week. She was felled by a particularly aggressive form of cancer that killed her in only five weeks. It always seems like evil people live long, full lives while decent folk get cut down at middle age or younger.

My friend's name was Ro. I want to take this time to write what I most liked about her. None of my (few) readers have ever met Ro, but I know you would have liked her. She had a sense of humor that was not politically correct. She had a raucous laugh. She helped raise three children who were not her own. She was true to her partner for close to thirty years. She adopted unwanted dogs.

She and her partner were also deeply caring people. Back in 1996-1997, I went through a pretty tough time. I almost ended up homeless. My family turned me away. My church (I was still Christian then) turned me away. My "brothers and sisters in Christ" turned me away. All but one friend turned me away. But Gail and Ro helped me get back on my feet. I would would have either died in a gutter somewhere or I would have committed suicide that year if not for that intervention. I never forgot their kindness and generosity.

Ro is a person I will miss quite a bit. I loved how she laughed. I cracked up at her jokes. She had a bad taste in movies like I do. She liked my spouse and liked my dog. I wish she hadn't gotten sick.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Various thoughts on my wretched family

Ever since mom got back from her most recent hospitalization, I've been calling her every day. I do it because I know that each call might be the last time we talk with each other in this life. She just isn't bouncing back from her illness this time. I visited her last weekend and she weighs about 70 pounds. It's heartbreaking. I knew that if I did not visit, however, I could curse myself as a coward for the rest of my days. That said, it's one thing to intellectually know that a loved one is dying, but it's another to see it happening before your very eyes. I hate to see mom in so much pain and in such a state of debilitation. It seems profoundly unfair that mom should be so sick while my father is living it up in retirement, traveling all over the world and be in want of nothing.

It should be the other way around. Of course, dad is a Christian and YHVH rewards evil sociopaths with many blessings. It's how YHVH rolls. It's part of why I'm no longer a Christian. I can't worship an evil god.

I don't celebrate Easter. That said, no one in my family invited me or my spouse over for Easter dinner. I don't depend on them for anything. They have let me down too often. There was a time back in the late 1996 when I almost became homeless. My family would have let me die in a gutter. That is the truth. In my time of greatest need, they closed their doors in my face. I haven't forgotten that. So, I can be courteous to them. I can attend family dinners on the rare occasions that the deem me and my spouse "acceptable". But I don't kid myself into thinking that I am loved by them in any meaningful sense of the word.

One of my relatives recently indicated that the reason why she now speaks to me and was "MIA" for fifteen years was that she now believes I am sufficiently "successful". Well... I guess. Sure, I like my job and I'm reasonably good at it, but the pay isn't anything to write home about. I'm not sure how she defines the word. But she is someone who I suppose I can be courteous to, but not someone who will occupy a place of trust in my life. After all, she wasn't willing to part with a can of soup or a loaf of bread when I was hungry and sick in 1996. She wouldn't even answer my phone calls. I guess I was too much of a "loser". Who knows?

So, with mom's death approaching, I keep thinking about my family and it's diseased interpersonal dynamics. It's depressing and frustrating.