Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The subconscious is a bitch

The house went on the market last weekend. The house that my grandparents built and raised their children in. The house I grew up in, full-time for the first 7 years of my life, then part-time, one weekend a month and holidays, for the rest of my youth. The house I could always call home, no matter what the situation. The house I've begrudgingly helped my family clear out and stage for sale. And, contrary to what we were expecting given the current housing market, there is already an offer on the table. And not flippers, who'll tear apart the house, or people who intend to rent out the house to people who'll leave the house in ruins. Nope, they're a young couple just about to be married.

My mom told me all of this Sunday. And I spent the rest of my time at TyRoy's that day crying. And a good deal of time since then too actually. I knew it'd be hard to do this, but I didn't know how hard. And the closer we got to actually being finished with the house, the harder it got for me. It was like losing my grandparents all over again. As melodramatic as it sounds, it was like I was letting them be killed, inch by inch, cleared out room by moved recliner. Intellectually, I know all the reasons we have to sell the house. It's owned by my mother and her two brothers. No one person has the money to buy the others out of the house. And no one (but me) wants to live there. They all have homes, or at least another town they call home, and don't want to leave them. And everyone could use the money from the sale of the house, especially my youngest uncle, the one who is living with cancer. Yes, intellectually, I know we have to sell it. But my heart just can't let it go.

I remember Sir telling me that life is not what happens TO you; life is just what happens. I keep trying to tell myself that, but I don't really think it is helping. As childist and, once again, melodramatic as this sounds, I feel like things keep getting taken away from me. Things I either really had no hand in building, such as my family and home, or things and people that entered my life when my circustances were different so I'm not sure I could replicate them now. It is easy to say that I can (and probably should) find/build a new home for myself and find new lovers when mine is transferred. But I cannot replace my grandparents or my uncle, who will be taken from me far too soon. And I am lost, confused, and absolutely rudderless when it comes to what to do when I actually can make a life of my own, when this death watch is over. (And yes, that is what it is. I value that he is here and I will love and care for him until he is gone, but I am only being honest, with others and myself, when I say that he will die, sooner than anyone could ever want. I refuse to apologize to people who think I'm cruel but have never watched with certain knowledge that a loved one is going to die. I also refuse to chase false hopes and miracle cures when there are no more left.)

All I want is someone who will listen to me and who I can believe them when they says they understand or that they are sorry. Someone who can show me enough emotion for me to believe that they sympathize with me. I have yet been able to find that, despite the fact that many I care for have diligently tried. Sadly, today I was once again reminded that those I could always count on to have both the emotional capacity and life experience to bring insight or a different point of view to a situation are cut off from me in this situation. Gram, always one to voice her opinion even when it was unsolicited, is no longer here to share and I'm sadly devoid of the supernatural powers I would need to hear her now. My uncle is...well, honestly, what could I say to him about all this? My mother is always there to listen and I know she is aware of what I am feeling to some degree, but I am afraid that she'd pull back all the caretaker responsibility she's entrusted in me, which would mean it would all fall on her. I don't want to be a martyr, but I don't want her to be one either. I believe the burden should be shared, as best we can manage, even if it tears us both apart.

Last night I had this dream. Now, most of my dreams are fantastical, rarely touching on real life situations, though things I have seen or thought about during the past day or days do pop up. Just my brain transfering memory around. But last night's dream mirrored what had been happening with the house during the preparation phase: Mom was trying to keep everyone on task, though that is easier said than done. My uncle was hindering progress, "Well we can't do A because of X. We can't empty the garage because it's too cold today. Etc." My step-dad was supposed to be fixing things but he was really just making a big mess. And my gram and I were mostly just crying. (Oddly, in dreams, my gram is usually still alive while my grandfather either appears as a ghost or I know he's dead despite the fact that he's physically solid. My mom suggested that it was because I was there when my grandfather died so his death is more real to me.) Back to inside the dream, where my mother and I ran an errand to go pick up some things from the local lumber yard, which was owned and run by Dr. Phil (who knows). I was thinking about how I should send out a tweet/facebook status update, but all I wanted to write was, "This is all your fault. I will never forgive you. I will hate you until the day you die," which in my mind was directed at my uncle. That's about the time I woke up. And when I was slapped in the face by that evil little reality. That despite how much I might love my family and want to help as much as I can in all this, I'm also bitter and frustrated and hateful. I detest that it is so, but it is. And I have no more idea what to do about it than I do anything else.

On a brighter note, my mom also had a dream. She dreamt that I had become a famous and wealthy writer of cheesy romance novels. Of course, I wrote under a pen name, something equally cheesy, like Sweetpea Smith, and none of my friends believed me when I told them that it was really me who was that famous and wealthy writer. (Mom must have seen Lethal Weapon 4 recently. Wasn't it 4 where the one cop's wife was actually a romance writer and that's how they could afford all their stuff?) But every year I sent a Christmas card to my grandparents' former house, telling them that if they ever wanted to sell the place, I'd pay handsomely. Finally, one year, they bit. Then, I started buying up all the houses around my grandparents' house, demolishing them all and building a big mansion on the hill. And you had to take Sweetpea Lane to get there (or whatever my pen name was.) Mom didn't say whether or not I left my grandparents' house standing or not. I bet I did, though. Well, a girl can dream, right? Guess I should get to writing those romance novels.


TyRoy Washington said...

Grieving Fairly

First all this may sound accusatory but it is not. It is simply underlines the fact that All people are different. And understanding one another is big reason for dissonance in everyday life.

I do understand what you are feeling even if I have no idea of the depth. I have sympathy but not so much empathy as I try hard to keep my emotions in check and very Vulcan-like. But I can understand that this is a hard transition that is full of emotions.

But just like no one fights fairly, we do not grieve fairly either. We do not grieve equally or on a time table. Grieving is not on a time table or scale that can be measured.

I believe that you want more sympathy then you are getting. But what if I or anyone else has exhausted their capacity for sympathy? It is not your concern. Still you will perceive this as far as a slight to you personally.

Even for the people personally involved, your mother and her brothers, they may just be handling this differently or on a different time table. Once again, not your concern or anything you can change.

Only you can handle the amount and time frame of grief you have on this or any other issue. But don’t confuse that with the amount of caring anyone else has for you on this or any other issue. But we are helpless in this. If you need to grieve, we can’t change that. And there is little we can do or say to stop, slow or any way effect that grief.

Dr. Phil provides sound advice that can form the foundation for your philosophy towards life. I think that is why he is selling lumber in the dream. He tries to help you and others by providing the wood, tools, nails and screws. In life, your philosophy is much like the items that are sold at a lumber store. Maybe that makes some sense from this amateur philosopher on the level of David Brent.

But Dr. Phil can’t live your life or anyone elses’. Look at the Dr. Phil family. He has given them sound advice that if they [the Dr. Phil family] used, they could get on the right track. Even they agree that they are on the wrong track. So you would think they would listen. But they don’t and the same thing with you and others. We can suggest but only you can do what you want with your life.

I understand that you feel out of control. But you can do things to change that. Of course, there are consequences for making those choices. [Hopefully this doesn’t sound like I am making this about me]. I have chosen to be away from my family. I am the only one who lives away; everyone else is in my hometown. So I don’t help out. You can make that choice but then there are consequences for that. My consequence is, I miss just about everything with my family viscerally. And I have to make up for that time which is rushed and not fulfilling.

But at the end of the day, you are in control of your emotions, actions and reactions. No amount of outside help, sympathy, empathy or any of that can change that.

I am not trying to shift blame or make you feel any different than you do now. Just trying to explain the situation as I see it. And hope you know, it is a very helpless feeling to know I can’t swoop in like a winged savior and change what is happening. Knowing that the best thing I have to offer is a hug. I just have to sit back and think to myself, “Sweet Aphrodite! What can I do to change this?”

The unfortunate answer is: nothing.
You’re and Your Friend,

Cassie said...

Dear friend I know this is hard to do. I took care of my mother in law before she passed. Just know that you can have strength to get beyond the grieving. You have many people that care about you and I'm sure they appreciate what you are doing for the family. Its hard to keep the sorrow and pain from pulling you down with it. If you need a friend I'm here.