Bipolar Memories

I recently read Polishing Dookie’s post “The Piano Man” on her blog and found so many similarities that it had me thinking. I thought of my own Grandparents and immediate family. I then went through some pictures. I’m not sure if this was a good idea or not.

I never knew my father’s father. He passed away at a young age from bleeding ulcers. I know he was stern, hardworking, and did not show affection. I’ve only seen one photo of him and it was blurry. I know my dad was born and raised mostly on a farm. He’s the oldest of 9.  My father’s siblings do not talk to each other at all. They do not show emotion. All the men on my dad’s side of the family have these famous Popeye forearms. I’m not kidding. My dad, not realizing what his looked like, had an anchor tattoo on one and a skull on the other. The tattoos were so horrible no one was surprised when the tattoo artist was shot to death a few years later.

My father’s mother was 4′ 9″ and also stern. She didn’t do hugs until she was in her 70’s. She didn’t tell her children she loved them until she was in her 70’s. She had been adopted and the circumstances of her childhood were less than ideal from what I can piece together. My sister and I would be left with her on occasion when my parents needed a weekend alone or there was an emergency. It wasn’t our favorite place to be.

For some reason we spent most of our time with my mother’s side of the family. My mother’s mother was loud and overbearing. She wasn’t the best wife or mother. Of course my mom always longed for her approval. She never got it. Even though she raised her brothers and sisters and was the one who sacrificed the most. My mother’s father was a plumber and served in the Army. He let my Grandmother do as she pleased without question or responsibility. Eventually she left him with 7 children, there was 8 but she had given one up for adoption when they were first married. It wasn’t my Grandfather’s.

My mother was close to her father. When he was diagnosed with Colon Cancer and Bone Cancer she was devastated. He insisted on being treated at the VA Hospital. He was diagnosed too late but as a last ditch effort they had taken bone from his neck to fuse something. He had a halo screwed into his head. When my mom would take us daily to see him she would have to clean him, change his diaper, there would be vomit running down the front of the halo and his top. She would clean this too. Her siblings couldn’t see him like that. When we received the phone call that he had passed away I could hear my mom screaming at someone on the phone. The Hospital was refusing to remove the halo saying it would break his neck. She thought this was insane since he was already dead. He had suffered with that thing on him and she wanted it off. She told them she was coming there with a screw driver and if it wasn’t off by the time she got there she was doing it herself.

My mom was one of the toughest most loving people I will ever know. Her experience with Lung Cancer changed her personality and changed the rest of us forever. I’ll never fully recover from those years.

I’m at the point in my life where my father is thinking of what he needs to do with the house and anything else he has. He’s been trying to figure this out for months. My mother wanted the house split 3 ways. My dad isn’t so sure it should be like that. He knows everything that I’ve done for him and my mom. I’ve also paid for a lot of things and pay monthly bills. I’m on Disability. My sister is married with a house, my half brother makes a lot of money that he usually gambles or drinks away.

It’s already started. My mom had a ring made for me from an extremely gaudy ring my Grandmother had. When she showed it to me she said “This is for you after I’m gone. I know you’ll probably never get married like your sister so I wanted you to have something for yourself”. Now my sister debates this and my father doesn’t know what the truth is. I doubt the ring is even worth much. It’s just the point of it. I can only imagine what they’ll do when it comes to my dad’s antique clocks or if he doesn’t make a will or a decision about the house. I’m not looking forward to it. Neither one of my siblings would have a problem with me living in a shelter or my car. At one time my sister had said something about me living with her. They have a good sized house and a spare room. I wouldn’t because of her husband. I mentioned it in passing recently and she denied ever saying it.

Family. Do we have to like them? No. Do we have to love them? It depends on who you ask.

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2 responses to “Bipolar Memories

  1. I think with the exception of my parents and one out of three of my siblings, I’m pretty ambivalent about most of my family. It feels strange that I’m so indifferent, but blood doesn’t equal love. I love some of my friends more than some of my family, and even like near-strangers more than I like certain people I happen to be related to. Sure, we share predisposition to disease and some physical traits, but even familial relationships require the same sort of work as any other kind of relationship to make them thrive. 50 years ago, family members generally lived close by, so it was easier to see them to form relationships. Nowadays, even as I was growing up, families are more fragmented so it’s much more difficult to bond with them. It’s not wrong, it just is. At least, I hope so. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made me laugh with the spoon. My mom had a wooden spoon and her slipper that she used when we were bad. She didn’t know that neither actually hurt and we were pretending that it did. She also had dentures and when she would yell at us they would slip and she would sometimes bite her own tongue. The poor woman! She usually laughed with us. It bothers me that I love and trust my best friend more than a human being that I shared a womb with and was born 5 minutes before she was. I can’t keep spinning it around in my head or it will kill me emotionally. My sister gives ultimatums and threats instead of trying to accept me. Sometimes I think it’s her loss.

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