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Old 08-21-2017, 06:19 PM   #1
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Trig Do All These Events Seem Excessive?

In 2004 my mother passed away peacefully on her 92nd birthday. It was also the anniversary of my father's death in 1981.

Immediately after the funeral, my eldest brother moved several states away with his wife. He did not tell me, my other brother, or my sister about it, & left no address. We were able to locate him easily, but have not communicated in thirteen years.

(My brother, 18 years older, was first married in the early 1960s. He had four children. He & his wife decided to divorce. He opted to forego all contact with his children in order to avoid paying child support.)

In 2002, an old friend was running for town council in our hometown while I was buying my first house, moving back here from out of state. I'm a commercial artist by profession, so my friend asked me to draw a cartoon against his opponent, a silly caricature of the man, running away with bags of money. Not the wittiest.

In a daze from moving, I said "Yeah, yeah, sure,Ē then promptly forgot about it. I didn't want to draw it anyway, & wish I had just said no, but there you have it. My friend didn't mention it.

Until several years later, when he dropped by, chatted a bit, then said, "Remember that cartoon? Your word's not worth *****." With that, he popped up &, I have to say, scurried out the door.

I immediately remembered a time, maybe thirty years earlier, when he & I dropped over the new apartment of his former roommate. After a while, as we got up to leave, he addressed his first words to his former: "Hi, Al."

"Don't come back, Clem."

"Ok, Al." And the same scurry out the door. (Which sandbagged me, btw: I was just there hanging out.)

I know of no one who was ever in any kind of social, romantic, or business relationship with this self-described narcissist who has anything but revulsion for him now. I imagine he continues to have friends of a sort.

The thing that really struck me was the consistent, identical scene-play between his goodbye to Al & his goodbye to me. It gave every impression of having been rehearsed, of being a scene in a repertoire, ready to be pulled out & played when wanted. Is that weird?

Another old friend & wife came up for dinner. Behaved cold & distant, strained curt conversation, left shortly, never heard from again. Donít know why.

Email invited another to hear live Jazz, a mutual interest. No response.

Invited another up for an evening. Received back a long, several-screen email listing minutely all the things they had to do that made them too busy. Tried again a few months later, same response. Two years later out of the blue comes a phone call from him, all garbled & odd with a sudden hangup. Nothing in several years since.

2013, our nephew, my wife's sister's adopted son, 33, suicided in his grandfather's easy chair in the family back room, where all the Thanksgiving & Easter dinners had taken place in better times. Sure puts a different spin on those memories, I can tell you.

The GF ómy father-in-lawó had previously ordered my never to visit his home again so Iím describing this from a remove. My nephew requested I & another Evil Uncle not attend his funeral. That request was passed by his mother, my SIL, through my wife to me. My feelings were hurt, frankly. I always felt the SIL would have done the job better if she at least spoke to me on the phone, if not in person.

Some months later, she sent me a birthday card. A gift card could be felt within. I felt uncomfortable with that kind of transaction, returning it with no comment.

The day of my nephewís suicide, my SIL, her daughter, the daughterís kids, & their GF were away celebrating his 80-somethingth birthday. Suicides are considered crime scenes, so he wasn't allowed home. In fact, with no warning, he never got to go home again. He was aging rapidly & went to live in a nursing home.

He was given a roommate. The admitting administrator didn't think the roommate was a good fit for the facility, but was overruled. The roommate immediately assaulted the GF, knocking him down & then jumping up into the air in order to land on the old man's leg, breaking his femur. The femur is the thickest bone in the human body. My wife & her sister sued & settled.

2015, my own sisterís daughterís son, 27 ómy grand-nephewó drowned while swimming. I hope it was just an accident. It may have been a prank gone wrong. There are hints of something darker. Weíll never know.

In consequence, my sister, one of her sons & his wife are aligned against her daughter (the one whose son drowned,) her other son, & my brother (the one who didnít vanish himself.) They are not speaking, have maintained it over a year now. Ostensibly over something involved in the funeral arrangements. I havenít heard a clear explanation yet. Iím the only one who can still talk to all of them.

Last week óone week after we were digging fallout shelters, youíll recall, suddenly forgotten in our rush, the following week, into a simultaneous combination Civil War & WWIIó last week, the GF, my FIL, my wifeís dear Dad, died. The wake is Wednesday, funeral Thursday. They are from a Hyphen-American culture, religion, & locale which is famous for bleak, grim operatic wallowing in death rites. I'm dreading it.

My wife is winding up tighter & tighter. I can cool her some, but itís progressively less effective. The alternative is her biting off my head. Soon Iíll have to just hunker down emotionally & ride it out, attending the services in that state. Leave early, maybe. Any advice?

Thank you very much if you took the time to even just skim this far. Looking back, itís clear Iíve had a number of unpleasant episodes with funerals over a relatively short span of time recently. Not to mention sudden untimely deaths, what seem like abandonments by what were friends, & so forth.

Iím on my last nerve with my FILís services upcoming. Iím awfulizing a confrontation with my SIL or her horrible ex-husband. Iím aware Iím among the last thing on their minds, but we know thatís not how awfulizing works. Iím really trying to be over in the rational mind on this, to steer away from the emotional. Suggestions?

Oh, & it seems likely this last weekend, a package worth $240 was delivered by USPS 3-4 days earlier than they told us to expect it. No notification, no knock, no doorbell, no signature. No package. Since we didnít expect it, it seems likely to have spent part of the night out front, then being stolen at some point.

Do all these events seem excessive?
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Old 08-30-2017, 04:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Do All These Events Seem Excessive?

Thanks for the opportunity to vent. I really needed it.

The event has happened. It was nowhere near as terrible as I had anticipated, which of course I expected rationally but just could not trust emotionally. Its aftermath is a bit worse than I expected. I'm absolutely exhausted in pretty much every way possible. Drained. My immediate awareness feels like my head has been held for two days in a vise under a battery of strobe lights at a combination five-ring circus, jungle-combat theatre of operations, & giant heavy metal arena concert.

We drove approximately two hundred miles. For the usual inexplicable reasons, traffic was packed. A normally two and a half hour trip took four-plus. There were five distinct events. They did everything but have a bagpiper aboard a burning Viking ship.

Wednesday evening, a four-hour open-coffin wake. My SIL & I managed genuine graciousness. Her ‘husband’ didn’t show up. There are two daughters & an honorary-daughter cousin, with three marriages between them. Of the three husbands, I’m the only one ordered to never again darken my FIL’s door, & only one who attended the services.

My FIL was one of eleven children, so much of the evening was taken up with “Yes, I’m sure we’ve met somewhere along the line, good to see you, thanks for coming.” I spent most of the evening visiting with nieces & nephews. Made it through the entire event.

Thursday morning gathers immediate family at the funeral home for an hour of religious observances & major weeping. My poor dear wife was so tense & upset that three times I moved to hold her hand & needed to gently hold her frantically fidgeting fingers still with one hand in order to be able to grasp her hand with my other. She doesn’t remember.

Lined up all the cars, sign on roof, lights & flashers on. Rather than ride in the limo we went behind it in our own car — needed the time of peace & stillness to catch our breaths. Short ride to the church. A full funeral observance from this faith, readings, remarks, prayers, music, about an hour or more.

There was a short ride to a nice wooded cemetery with a view over a lake. About an hour, seated front row, more religious observances, then military honors for this Okinawa-based Korean War military policeman: flag on the coffin, two flag bearers, a trumpeter. They seemed to have different uniforms, but were said to all be from the Army. The bearers did the slow, precise triangular folding we’ve all seen. Very formally, with a short statement, the youngest & palest presented the flag to my wife. I guess the triangular wood & glass case is sold separately. The trumpeter played “Taps.”

The guest of honor staying behind, we took another short drive to a restaurant for, I guess you’d call it The Reception. It’s now safe to joke that there should have been another event, The Nap, between The Cemetery & The Reception. Two full hours of roaring way louder & more percussive than the loudest thunder. Four times it rose & rose, building to peaks for which I wished I’d had a decibel meter. Food was not bad. I got to meet my newest grand-niece for only the second time. She’s almost three, we had a good little getting-to-know-you series of transactions involving several sets of silverware. Then a long, exhausted ride home for my wife & I.

I want to be compassionate. People suffer at the deaths of loved ones. I understand the role of busy-ness & formalities as distractions from grief & standard roles to play when you’re really just feeling numb in the days after a death. Coming together as relatives & friends to bond & remember.

So what am I complaining about? Probably I resent feeling overwhelmed by the proceedings & how exhausting they were, leaving us numb & dazed, still to process the death. There’s a feeling of being a spear-carrier in a public grief-demonstration production for the benefit of the least common emotional denominator in the group. It’s a different culture in many ways from what I grew up with.

Oh well. It’s up to me to handle this sort of thing in such a way as to protect myself. Thanks for your patience.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:49 PM   #3
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Unhappy Re: Do All These Events Seem Excessive?

Yes, I think it's excessive. Enough already.

Over the past year or so, I lost a good friend suddenly. Then, about 6 months after that, I lost my mom. My friend was my age, and they didn't know the cause of his sudden death.

I also lost a few good neighbors: Some to passing away, some to moving away.

I've been dropped by two "friends" suddenly, one I just knew online. The first real life "friend" abruptly stopped e-mailing/texting/talking to me about a year ago. This takes guts, because I still run into him at the stupid senior center where he (of course) doesn't acknowledge me anymore. WTF??? A few women I discussed it with think he has a bruised ego because maybe he was interested in more than being buddies. But he didn't get his way, so it's the highway. What is this? High school?

My online friend told me she doesn't want to talk to me anymore because she thought some things I said about the above jerk was mean. Yeah, it was mean but honest. I have a mean streak for people who deserve it. We humans have a dark side, look at the atrocities committed over the thousands of years of humans vs. humans.

It's not all unicorns and rainbows like she wants. Still, after a year of e-mailing each other, she said goodbye just like that. She thinks what I SAID is mean? "Real" meaness is someone beating up a person for looking different. And saying mean things is not the same thing as BEING mean or mean behavior. People who know me better than her know I'm not a mean person even if I said something mean.

In early 2014, my best friend was forced to move 2,000 miles away to another state cause he lost his job, then of course his apartment. He would have been homeless, so he had to go back to his hometown. I miss him every second of every day, even with regular e-mails.

I also miss his cats, which were/are "my babies" too.

I could go on and on, but I have a time limit on the computer. Anyway, in a nutshell, I've had multiple losses over the past few years. Life keeps kicking me in the ***, and I don't see a light at the end of this tunnel I've been in for YEARS now.

I thought I made a few new friends, but unless I contact THEM, I don't interact with them. A phone call would be nice once in awhile, without it being a call to return MY CALL.

Even my therapist said it's not fair that so many bad things keep happening to a good person.

Job loss, friend loss, etc. Car trouble, minor health problems, estranged family (what little I have left), one & only sibling who won't even speak to me, etc. etc. etc.

Even when I ordered some coffee pods over the phone, they screwed up MY order when MILLIONS of people order online or over the phone with no trouble. They sent me more than what I ordered, charging me for it as well.

And "little" things like being in the computer room at the senior center...and "my" computer is the only one not working right. Nobody else is getting error messages.

Enough ranting for now....

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Old 09-10-2017, 10:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Do All These Events Seem Excessive?

Things like that do add up. Plot twists so improbable they'd be laughed off the screen in a movie.

Persons can feel a need to seek corroboration of their perceptions. "Pinch me! Am I dreaming?"

Thanks for your reply.
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