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Speaking with "the Dead"

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Speaking with "the Dead"

Postby Craig Browning » 24 Oct 2011, 03:02

I get a call this afternoon from my 76 year old father who, just yesterday, was placed into a Nursing Home. He wants me to come down to Ohio -- it's that big "I want to see you one last time before I die" ritual that's always followed by the "I'm sorry for doing so much wrong to you, I did the best I could" speech a.k.a. the Hillbilly Forgiveness Plea.

Since I was 15/16 years old I've stated rather loudly that I would not attend this man's funeral; he's an ass! The classic red-neck male that believed that his family was his possession; wives and children were to be pounded upon and belittled -- kept under thumb (for as we all know Fear = Respect). I could list tons of reasons for my attitude towards him and yet, I'm the one that keeps doing more when it comes to helping him deal with those things he does not want to deal with in life. I'm the one that "returned" so to speak -- the prodigal son -- or so it would be in his eyes; this now frail old man who's mind has shattered along with a heart that's become "hollow" unable to properly move blood with lungs that can no longer draw in the essence of life on their own.

No one in my family can remember a day in which there was not argument, no physical "correction" or sense of insult over the past half-century -- not a single day! Not a single "family" outing :| and yet, I have the audacity to see the other side of this tarnished coin; that abused hillbilly boy that had to plow fields behind an old plow horse at age 9 and up; that prematurely born child that found himself motherless by the time he was six -- never knowing why she left "him" and "betrayed" his father -- a man who was so much harder and cruel than this boy would grow-up to be.

I have to look at the tremendous odds this kid over-came in life by way of personal determination and hard work; a kid with a 6th grade education who would become chief maintenance supervisor Navistar-International (International Harvester) as well as commercial licensing for both mid-sized aircraft and seafaring vessels under 200 feet. He was an award winning photographer that two weeks ago, sent me all of his camera equipment in hope that I would be able to find some footing in that same craft.

:?: So how does one juggle such potent contrasts :?:

The bitterness and loathing I knew in my teens and twenties has tempered itself, but only slightly and only because I've learned to see and understand things differently thanks to both, my spiritual beliefs as well as the psychological/clinical training & processes I've endured now for some 30ish years. That does not mean that I have totally let go of my resentments towards this man, only that I can understand them on a greater bases and thus, focus my venom more on his unwillingness to help himself in not being "his father"; as certain Christian types would say, "I hate the sin, not the sinner" so much.

Adding salt to these wounds is how he has deliberately tied things up financially, etc. that my mother will be left with next to nothing upon his death. The woman that endured 55 years of abuse, who waited on him hand & foot and protected his dirty truths, he's abandoning and yet, he wants me there at her side. . . he wants me to be there so he can give to me whatever it will take to earn his forgiveness. But how does one forgive the very thing that has been the cause of your own life's insanity and frustration? How do you forgive a man that has devastated no fewer than a half-dozen lives because of his brutishness and "opinions" for anyone "living under his roof"?

I'm quite confounded when it comes to this situation in that I know my mother is going to need me; not just in dealing with the drama of a dying man but similarly, to crack a whip here and there and make certain she is taken care of and not screwed as the result of his Will (you can take that either way). Yea, old Craig, the black-sheep of the family, has to be the strong one and will be expected to not just be at that funeral when things finally happen, but to speak kind words about a person that few such memories exist -- very few.

On my end there is even more drama given both, physical and mental health issues -- agoraphobia and long distance travel being a small part of that scenario let alone the hell people with disabilities must endure now days when traveling (imagine getting your wheelchair back, totally disassembled or missing parts because of baggage handling).

Anywho. . . I had to rant a bit, I honestly find myself "lost" when it comes to this particular stop on the wheel of life. :?
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Craig Browning
 
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Re: Speaking with "the Dead"

Postby NinjaPuppy » 24 Oct 2011, 03:24

Craig Browning wrote:Anywho. . . I had to rant a bit, I honestly find myself "lost" when it comes to this particular stop on the wheel of life. :?

I hear you on this dilemma. Been there, done that, but I can't say if it was worth the hassle or not.
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Re: Speaking with "the Dead"

Postby ProfWag » 24 Oct 2011, 08:41

I'm not quite sure what to say Craig. I know you're smart enough to know and do what's right for you and any other family members that may need you during this time that is hard on all families, regardless of the scenario.
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Re: Speaking with "the Dead"

Postby Craig Browning » 25 Oct 2011, 01:12

Thanks guys. . . mostly, I just needed to let it out. There's only two boards where I feel comfortable doing such a thing.

Funny how one can find the comfort of the local pub on line every now and again. . . you know, where everybody knows you name
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Re: Speaking with "the Dead"

Postby ProfWag » 25 Oct 2011, 02:24

Craig Browning wrote:. . . you know, where everybody knows you name

And that was my second stop when I visited Boston a couple months ago! Although I am no expert by any stretch, Cheers had THE best Clam Chowder I've ever had!
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Re: Speaking with "the Dead"

Postby Craig Browning » 25 Oct 2011, 20:00

ProfWag wrote:
Craig Browning wrote:. . . you know, where everybody knows you name

And that was my second stop when I visited Boston a couple months ago! Although I am no expert by any stretch, Cheers had THE best Clam Chowder I've ever had!


It's addictive stuff. . .

Oddly the best chowder I've ever found was in Las Vegas at the Rio casino (All American Bar & Grill). Of course in those days you could get a Prime Rib dinner for under $10.00 and the meat was HUGE (easily a two person meal if you were dealing with "normal" people vs. Midwesterners, Southerners and Texans :lol: )
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