punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,
punkwalrus
punkwalrus

The Unbearable Lightness of Fran

Christine got back late Monday night after a long ordeal. She hadn't really planned to stay in West Virginia for several days, so she had to buy clothes for her and CR when they were out there. All in all, Fran didn't want a funeral unless his kids did, and in the end, they decided not to. Fran had two children and two step children, all of them under 21, so I wonder if they fully appreciated their decision. Hope, the youngest at I guess 15, requested her father's ashes.

As a side note, I have always had a soft spot for Hope. I met her when she was 4, then again at 8, then 14, and then this year at 15. Already pregnant, just like her stepsister Erica, who I think is 19 and on her 4th child. The father of Hope's baby looks like a combination of a shady Zoot-suit character from a 1940s character film and a crackhead. I don't see their future as a bright one. But aside from that, when Hope was 8, she lived near the site of Hurricane Andrew. Her town was not directly hit by the devastating hurricane, but she sat down with me, and with a look in her eyes of a seasoned war veteran, told me the horrors that she saw. The wreckage, the looting. I always knew there was somewhat of an "old soul" in her. She reminds me a lot of myself. I find it ironic that her name is hope, because sometimes I think it's all she's got.

As you can gather, Fran's past is not a good one. I won't go into just the details, because we must be respectful of the dead, but Fran suffered greatly from the time he was a child until the day he died. His actions were a result of much of his suffering without any stable structure to hold him up. I never got a chance to speak with him much, but from what little he told me of his life, he paid his dues and then some. I can't say he was honorable, but from what I can gather, I doubt I would have been either.

From a personal view, the whole incident of Fran these last few months have been so parallel to things in my own life, that I have spent many nights in emotional distress not just because of Fran, but what Fran reminded me of. While he was with us, I didn't realize just how... horrible it was living my teen life with an alcoholic mother. I hadn't really missed it, and a lot of the emotional pain lay buried and unresolved. Some of you out there may know what it's like taking care of an adult when you are a kid, and sadly, some of that may be due to alcoholism. Fran wasn't drunk any time he was here, but he was a recovering alcoholic, and we had to hide our liquor.

Just like I did with my mother.

Fran was very sick, and had to be watched nearly 24/7 so he didn't hurt himself.

Just like I did with my mother.

Fran was senile, often forgetting where he was, confused people's names, and tried to do things himself, often creating bad accidents in the process. We had to clean up after him a lot.

Just like I did with my mother.

Living with an alcoholic, especially when you are a kid, grows you up real fast. Maybe that's why Hope is that way. Her brother Brandon is like that, too. He's 20, living on his own, self-employed. Just like I was at 20. No parents to take care of me at all.

I try not to get into self-pity because it's pointless and time-consuming. But it's hard not to, sometimes. The old emotions of "why me?" keep coming up, and the logical, therapist answer of, "well, why anybody?" doesn't seem to soothe the crying child inside. I kept thinking, "Jesus H. Christ, I don't want to remember this shit!!!" Poor Fran probably wondered, at least a little, why I was so awkward around him. I just kept feeling those teen feelings, and how part of me was going, "Oh no no no! You said, God, when I was an adult, I would never have to go back there! You promised! YOU FUCKING PROMISED!!!"

Add to this that my "peace with the past" was already very unstable with my Grandmother dying last month, and my father being so "who cares?" about it (we assume, he's STILL not contacted anyone about it). Just like my mother's death. Clean up the debris, sweep it under the rug with some lies, and act like nothing bad ever happened. The death of someone you care about is just as easy as disposing of their ashes.

Christine always says, "Funerals are not for the dead, but the living." That wisdom reminds me of why I have no closure with my own past. My father had my mother cremated, her funeral done, and in less than 5 days after her death, she was erased. I have nothing. I have no memento, except a few photos, that she ever existed. I got nothing of hers. I have no grave to return to. My father bargained down the funeral director to the cheapest cremation, the cheapest urn, and then when it was over, threw away the ashes. Hell, I didn't even get to mourn because the school sent me to a mental hospital, claiming I was a "suicide risk," so I had to play totally normal to get out. Asshats. Every fucking school official involved in that decision will go to hell, I am sure of that. So my mother's death was this harried sort of ragged ending, like a novel that had written itself into a corner, and the author ran out of ideas. So it abruptly ended with a character you hadn't even heard of solving everything with supernatural powers never mentioned anywhere else in the book. Only my dues ex machina didn't actually solve everything.

I really want to go to Iron Mountain, Michigan, and visit my maternal grandparent's graves. If I could drive a car, I would have already gone. It's only a little over 1000 miles, according to Mapquest. So far away. Just like San Diego and Sweden. I know I have a lot of friends, and a great wife and son, but there are times like these I feel so fucking lonely. I guess I am an ingrate, expecting some kind of TV normal family or something. Best I have is to talk to a pair of graves behind a veteran's hospital.

Christine is very, understandably, depressed. She just go to know her brother again, and after maybe 20 some odd years of abandonment issues, loses him again in just a few months. CR has been wonderful through this, which only reinforces to me how deeply good of a human being he is, and how I don't deserve him. My pathetic parenting can only be hindering him. He was the support for Christine because I wasn't there, and I am sure he did a better job than I would have, because he doesn't have the emotional baggage piled around him like his dad. Honestly, I wonder how my family puts up with my whining and clinging to the past so much. Christine and I discussed having a sort of wake this weekend with some friends of ours to help her cheer up. I don't know who will show up, but we have already a few people saying they would come.

Of course, all this comes at a very bad time. CR turns 14 in less than a week. This whole debacle seriously interfered with both his birthday planning and gift budget. Happy Birthday, CR, here's an IOU... for 2005.

Yes, money is very bad. I guess it could have been worse; we could have been well on our vacation and spent more money on food and fun. I guess we were lucky we got so sick and saved money that way.

Also, at work, there was this HUGE political tumble that is NOT going to end well. Some project manager got his way, and gave up our contract for a rival department who not only doesn't have stable code, but doesn't have an infrastructure in place. I am praying this new job I am applying for goes through. In have to get off this ship before the torpedo hits, you know?

Ugh. I want a blankie.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000531.html
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