Completely OT: Mind if I rant a little?
The question was rhetorical, of course, because I’m going to anyway.
So we went to John’s mother’s memorial this past Saturday. Never mind how tacky it is to have a memorial in March for someone who passed in December. But considering that this family has been bitterly battling for three months, gathering them all for a solemn and sad occasion in the guise of familial closeness and respect seemed like a farce.
John and I took separate cars, because I fully intended to go home right afterward and not attend the reception at his sister’s home. I just couldn’t stand the thought of making small talk with these people. But I wouldn’t let John go to the memorial itself alone. So I dressed up — it was 95 degrees outside, so I wore a sleeveless black dress with a floral print, nude pantyhose (which John hated, but I told him the occasion called for it), and I dug my more conservative black pumps out of the back of my closet. Why I bothered worrying about my appearance, I don’t know.
Because one of John’s sisters, the one who owns the restaurant (and was, no doubt, pissed off that she had to leave her store on a business day), came in faded jeans and flip-flops. Folks, this is no kid. This woman is nearly 60 years old. She knows better.
John’s brother hugged me — twice. But neither of his sisters did. Of course, his lecherous brother-in-law went in for a hug. I went completely stiff and barely hugged back. I don’t even pretend to like that jackass anymore.
I got a warm greeting from John’s aunt (his mom’s sister) and her son. I felt bad for her; she’d lost her best friend. Her sorrow was dignified and real. The others? A lot of crying and sniffling and stories that made me cringe. Great. Talk about how Mom couldn’t tell her TV remote from the cell phone, or how she couldn’t use the microwave no matter how many times you showed her. Make her sound like a mindless dolt.
Just last week, John’s sister-in-law was telling me how John’s mother was complicit in the father’s tyranny over his children. But at the memorial, she wept and said John’s mother was a “total sweetheart.” God, the hypocrisy at these things.
John didn’t cry, but then again, John doesn’t cry. And he softened the remote control stories by saying that those damn things really were complicated, and even he couldn’t figure out how to work them and he’s an engineer.
One of the in-laws played a solo on the flute, some sort of new-age melody meant to sound like birds flying away. All I noticed was that he was off-key. And not just once, but several times. Please, make it stop.
John’s eldest sister said, “She brought spirituality into our home.” Spirituality?? Is that what they’re calling rigid Catholicism these days? Those four kids were dragged to church every single Sunday, and put through twelve years of sexually segregated Catholic school. John has horror stories of abusive nuns. With the exception of John, who was the Good Son, all the siblings broke free of their oppressive environment and acted out in destructive ways. If this is spirituality, then I’ll be happily soulless, thank you.
When it was over, I suddenly and unexpectedly teared up. People around me assumed it was my own reaction to the loss. But it wasn’t.
I was crying because I knew that, with all my heart and soul, I didn’t want to go back to that damned house with these people. And because I knew that I was going to, goddammit. John wasn’t insisting. But I saw the look in his eyes. Pleading. I went.
And so I parked myself on the couch and didn’t move, listening to the stories, holding John’s hand. There was a buffet of sandwiches and salad and so forth, but I didn’t have any. Who the hell wants to eat a meal at 3:30 in the afternoon? I sipped from a bottle of water, nibbled from the crackers on the table, and just listened and observed. I looked at pictures. I watched both of John’s nieces put hard liquor in their Diet Cokes.
John’s sister-in-law was the only one who said anything about John’s upcoming surgery.
We made our escape a couple of hours later. I must have been looking shell-shocked, because John asked if I was OK. All I could say was, “I just want to go home.” And we did.
John thanked me over and over for the rest of the weekend. Said how beautiful I’d looked. Yeah, at least now I don’t have to worry about looking like a surly bitch when I’m not smiling, thanks to the wonders of cosmetic surgery.
I can’t think of a single reason from now on why I need to see either one of John’s sisters or their families ever again. The torture may finally be over. Fingers crossed. The business with the will and the estate still hasn’t been resolved, and there is a meeting between the siblings next Saturday. I am hoping his sister will do the right thing and not bring a lawsuit down on her head. Not because I give a damn about her, but because I don’t want John to deal with the added stress. He had a little matter of open-heart surgery to deal with.
Poor John. He deserves so much better than this. But at least, maybe (I’m still skeptical), he’ll have his brother and sister-in-law. They both told us, “Anything you need, just call,” during John’s surgery/convalescence. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, since I was all dressed up, John said to pick anywhere I’d like for dinner. I thought it would be nice to go to our favorite Italian restaurant — but upon arrival, we discovered it was closed for remodeling. (sigh) So we headed in the opposite direction and went for Chinese instead. I was overdressed, but it turned out to be a good choice anyway.
I don’t know what this blog will be like in the coming weeks, kids. It may not be much fun. It probably won’t have much spanky stuff, unless I go stir-crazy and sneak in some play. But I hope you’ll all stick around.
I’m going to visit Steve tomorrow. Who knows, maybe we can improvise something, even with his knee bandaged and braced. 🙂 I will need to snatch my sanity and stress release as I can get it for a while.
Hope everyone had a nice weekend.