Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Part 3 - The Beginning of The End

Old Sister had taken over all the funeral arrangements. Just as she did when our dad died when I was 18. At that time, she arranged for a priest from the Greek Orthodox church to conduct his service. This was despite the fact my dad also wasn't particularly religious but did have leanings toward either A) the Mormon church or B) Garner Ted Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. . The airport was snowed in, so no one from Alberta could make it to B.C. where the funeral was held. She had him buried, although he had hated the thought of rotting in a box and had always said he wanted to be cremated. The priest had no real clue who he was talking about as evidenced by his request we all "bow our heads in a moment of silent prayer for Mr. Mixed-Up-Name". Yes, he completely jumbled the 3 syllables of our surname.

It was an interesting service though. I'm torn between the eulogy for a man he was completely unfamiliar with or Old Sister's impromptu speech about Hallowe'en pranks Dad pulled as a kid for my favourite part. It was a nice service though. The casket was a bit elaborate in my humble opinion, but maybe I'm just bitter because the very first thing the Nameless Man and I did when we got married at age 19 was assume the debt to pay off the thousands still owed for dad's service. Yep. that's right. She staged an elaborate service and then stiffed the funeral home for the bill. It took us several years at $325 per month to pay it all off. Great way to start married life together doncha think?

.....Okay, here's the deal. I had this huge post drafted and then Wonderful Daughter, a.k.a. Jiminy Cricket pointed out it was very bitter. Caustically bitter.

However, that's not the post you are going to get. Suffice it to say, Old Sister opened the funeral with a joke. And it went rapidly downhill from there. Apparently her and her live-in have contests over My Mom is Crazier Than Your Mom. So, we got to hear all about the roving bands of lesbians that supposedly pursued my mom around in later years. Erm, ???... This is a funeral talk?

When we got back to "normal" later much, much later...My mom was lauded for her generosity and kindness.

Funny, when I got pregnant as an unwed teen (a situation both her and my Old Sister had found themselves in) she said, "Don't even think about coming home." Funnily enough, Old Sis got support and help. Mom drove an hour into town every week to provide her with anything she needed.

She only offered support to accompany me into the delivery room when I confessed how terrified I was of the birthing process. She was a nursing aide and I don't know nuthin' about birthing no babies.... The day I went into labour, I called to tell her it was Go Time. Alas, she couldn't drive in from the ranch that day. She had "floors to wash". So I, at age 17 gave birth completely alone with a little Vietnamese girl shrieking out her own terror in the very next bed. This was March 10th. My best girlfriend stood by my side as I signed the adoption papers a week later. My dad had died February 23rd, (3 weeks before I gave birth) and I was on. my. own.

Better, when we celebrated Christmas with them, one year there was gifts, mountains of gifts for my niece and not one thing for my two kids. They were 5 and 3 at the time. It was an awkward drive home to say the least. Oh, and our last Christmas with them.

My niece was always at my mom's. She would stay for days on end. Old Sis needed a break doncha know? When I had my youngest, he weighed 10lb 4 oz (ouch right?!) and I had over 100 stitches. She promised when I was released, Wonderful Daughter (who was 2 1/2 yrs old) and I could come and stay a few days with her until the Nameless Man finished the night shift rotation he was currently on. Guess what happened? She was "too tired" so I packed up my kids and went home to do it all on my own.

Lastly, when Old Sis had any kind of medical procedure or even just a serious test, my dear, kind and generous Mom would put everything else on hold and rush to sit by her side until the crisis had passed. I, on the other hand, had a total hysterectomy at age 28 and she couldn't even come visit me, let alone sit any kind of vigil at my side. Oh, and she lived in the same city as we did by this time... I guess it should have been no big surprise, she hadn't come to see me during any of the 4 or 5 surgeries that led up to the hysterectomy.

To sit there at her service while she was held up as some shining example of kindness and generosity*...puhleeze!

Proofreading this, it occurs to me, Wonderful Daughter seems to have been right, but also oh, so wrong.... Bitter? Bitter doesn't even scratch the surface.

* All of these events happened to me before she was considered mentally ill

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Part 2 - Where I am Contacted and Reach Out

So, my son and daughter in law have gone home now and I have time to post again. Today I slept nearly 14 hours and awoke with a migraine. Over the past week I haven't been averaging more than 5 hours of sleep a night. Possibly it's stress... I'm sure I'll survive.

Back to the saga... I was away from home all day Tuesday, getting Tikki groomed and working from WD's house. When I arrived at her home, she shamefacedly told me my Great Aunt had, in fact, left a voice mail for me on Sunday, but with all the drama the Soon to Be Ex caused on Friday it had slipped her mind. The way things were left on Friday, we thought we had to be in family court at 8:30 a.m. Monday to thwart his latest court move for no rules involved access to the grandboys. Since he didn't see them for 18 months after the judge decided he needed rules to prevent him from leaving the country with Dom, we need to make sure there is structure and it is followed.

Wonderful Daughter doesn't have free long distance in her new place so I wasn't able to call back my Great Aunt until that evening. She had been trying to reach me, as had Long Lost Little Sister who had come by my condo but couldn't get in. You can't leave a message if you ring the buzzer and she had mislaid my unlisted number. Great Aunt (did I mention I adore her?!) wouldn't give out my number to her just in case I didn't want her contacting me again. So, they did try to reach me and the "hurt on my behalf" tone my Heinous Mother In Law had adopted was unwarranted after all.

By the time I was able to talk to my family, they had cremated Mom that afternoon. Outside the funeral home, my oldest sister who is MEGA HEINOUS asked one of my single, Mormon cousins if she "was still Mormon?". When assured yes, Girl Cousin was still Mormon, Old Sister said, "Oh I just wondered since I see your picture on FaceBook in bars all over the world." Um, and this is your concern why? Older Sister is also a baptised Mormon but hasn't lived up to her dedication in any way, shape or form.

I guess Old Sister is under the impression one cannot obtain soda or virgin cocktails in bars. Girl Cousin has travelled all over and has quite enjoyed getting to meet and socialize with people in various settings, including bars. Whether she drinks demon rum or other spirits is of no interest to me. I have my own dedication to try and live up to.

Old Sister then moved on in her conversation and informed all those present she was now employed at an STD clinic and could give Girl Cousin a discount if she said the code word Zorro when calling in. WTH?! They cremated Mom not 20 minutes ago and she's shilling for business?

She also proudly related how she had cleverly entered into the computer the information of a new patient with the surname of Bates as "Master" _____ Bates.
How droll! I wonder just how long it took her to come up with that one? She also filled in the blank first name herself by wittily substituting my Long Lost Sister's husband's name into the blank. This was in front of my Little Sister. I'm glad I missed it since I would have been tempted to smack her. I see she hasn't improved with age.

Back at the teeny tiny condo, I decided I would let my son know about the passing of his grandmother and her funeral even though I was sure he wouldn't want to come down from St. Albert for it. He had a right to know, of course. There have been many, many deaths in my family where I didn't find out until well after the fact. My step father's mom, my mother's grandma (who raised her until age least I assume she is dead since she would now be over 100) and I'm pretty sure my great uncle Frank to name just a few. I didn't see great aunt Rita at Mom's funeral but didn't want to ask what could have been an awkward question.

Ah yes, you say, but you have been in quasi-hiding for all these years. How were they to contact you? carrier pigeon? Well, guess what? Several relatives died back when we were all still trying to have a relationship and they still didn't bother to let me know. It's fairly humiliating to ask, "How's Grandma?" only to be informed she died 8 months ago. I can only imagine what the rest of the family thought when I was a no-show at so many services. Also, everyone knows my in-laws, particularly since they have all been friends at least since the Nameless Man and I attended Grade One together and the in-laws have kept the same listed phone number for over 30 years. So, if they did wish to reach me, it wasn't really all that hard. I just maintained the illusion I was hidden away to disguise the pain of their rejection. My Heinous MIL has visited my mom many times over the past 5 years.

To my surprise, my son and his wife and baby decided to drive down and stay with us. I was so touched and pleased they came to support me. It was nice to have all my immediate family by my side as I renewed aquaintances with my extended family.
Their little girl is 14 months old and she's a cutie. I quite enjoyed getting a chance to bond with her. After a rocky beginning, her and Tikki became such good friends that when her own daddy tried to get after her, Tikki growled his displeasure his little buddy was being spoken to. At one point, Wonderful Daughter leaned over to stop her from doing something bad and Tikki leapt at her! I'm sure the baby loved me for me though, and not just because I have (the illusion) of control over the dog. Uh huh, sure...that's it.

Next (and final) installment: The Service