I never ever see or hear from my two nephews. Both of them are trombone players or “Bone-heads”, which lately has allowed me to feel a very faint kinship to them now that I get to regularly play a musical instrument. I'm the black sheep of the family and they were kept out of contact with me because I wasn't considered safe for them to be around, so I don't exist to them.
The crime I committed without knowing it would mean my permanent exile was not getting myself a husband, being officially married and having children. My intellectual Stanford Grad mother never told me this. I never dreamed she was fixated on controlling her bloodline in this way, being fooled by her restless, devil-may-care exterior and her unhappiness in her marriage, so my doom was sealed.
To be fair, my exile was also the only way I could protect my blood family from the rages and endless problems of the drug addicted severe traumatic abuse survivor man I live with, and I can't blame my family for not wanting to have any contact with us after I got to the point where I couldn't find a safe way out of a no exit relationship. A no-exit relationship can be summed up as “I hate you, don't leave me”. And the person will often damage themselves or try to commit suicide repeatedly but they never die, leave or remove themselves.
On the other side, I had to protect him from their contempt, fear and hate by us staying away from them. His extreme, life threatening problems made it impossible for me to stand by him openly with them and have him and have normal contact with them. I finally realized the only safe contact with my sisters and their families is in relation to finishing dividing the estate money period, the end.
I became the black sheep/bad seed that never left, moving out, coming back, moving out, coming back. I had no chance to fight off my bad reputation because I didn't know how bad it was until it was too late. Even after I finally knew that I was considered what my mother used to call a “n'er do well”, I was dependent on the family estate for survival so I was the perfect candidate for permanent family scapegoat.
My mother didn't do grief, vulnerability or old age. Since I was outside of what she considered of any real worth, I was perfect for the job of taking care of her and her home and land as she approached death. My sisters, having full time family and work could not caregive my mother two states away. At one point she seemed beyond what I could handle after a bad fall, so I called them and we were set to put her in a home. She rallied through better nutritional care through people I'd hired to caregive who were good, so by the time we were going to do the dastardly deed of putting mommy away, she wasn't having it. It was her money that was keeping things going, and I let her know what was going to happen. She had just enough mental health and life left in her to tell them she was not going to the home and that I was doing a “good job”. I suspect this was the only time I officially filled the bill as accomplishing anything she valued. My guy, despite being a liability in so many ways, actually did a great deal to take care of my mother's land and her welfare while I was taking care of my mother.
Nevertheless, I'm proud of my nephews for being musicians. I wish they'd come to see their grandmother before she died. I think my mother was waiting for her male grandchildren to come see her on their own and would have given anything to have them spend al little time with her. But her deep, life-long rejection of all vulnerability, particularly while aging, prevented her from admitting it or asking for them to come.
I wonder if mom would approve of my partial living death, of the loss of family connection which I've never been able to let in or deal with by fully feeling. So I'm a chip off the old block, the collaborator in killing a part of my own heart.
I realize the person killed in a war to not be forgotten today is me. along with my uncle Jim McClure, who was shot down over Athens in WWII well before I was born. I didn't find out about him and his story until well after my father's death. But I'm remembering my father told me about some things about what was going on that my mother and sisters would never discuss. I am grateful for that though I have no one to share them with.
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