Thad wrote:Good luck / belated condolences.
Thanks. I've been sitting on it for a year wondering "When is a good time to bring it up with the BrontoJerks? Is
there a good time? Eh, forget it. Let's just try and go to BrontoKon '16 and try to pretend everything's okay."
I'd like to say it's going to be okay, but I'm not sure it'll ever
be okay. Like... hm, how to do this without a great wall of text...
My aunt loved me, my brothers, and my son like they were her own; she was so uncritically supportive of us, it was actually annoying at times. She once said the only thing I could do to truly upset her was to shave off all my long hair, but you can bet your bottom dollar she'd say I have the most handsomely polished dome in the land. She was hardly perfect; lots of failed marriages and poor life choices and always talked over me, but she was scrappy and loving and the kids always
came first. She was like a second mother and
a terrible example at once.
Towards the end, she'd hooked back up with her first ex, who I guess had drinking and abuse problems. You wouldn't think so just meeting him, though. Jolly, despite being pretty much poor and having COPD that would eventually kill him. They remarried last summer and everything seemed fine; I was one of the groomsmen, and she was bugging me for a way to fuse her engagement and wedding rings together. And he seemed like he really was on the mend, working a crappy but honest forklift job at a warehouse somewhere.
It seemed fine until June 16th 2016, at about 4:30pm PST, less than four days after they were married, when my younger brother calls me to tell me they were both dead. It looks like he shot her in the back of her head, possibly as she was sleeping, before going into the front hall and blowing his own brains out. They were rooming with my mother on account of being one medical emergency away from bankruptcy, so his dead ass was the first thing she saw coming in the door from work. No note or anything; we haven't even gotten her Chromebook back from the police yet. We didn't even know he had a gun in the house, nevermind five.
The last thing I'd ever spoken to her was something like "I'll see if epoxy plays well with silver," and the last text I ever got from her just read "Lol." To my knowledge, it was the first violent death in the family since World War II, when a distant uncle took flack in the neck in a bomber flying over Europe.
So what better time for a bitter phone call with my dad? Father's Day just a few days after, and he chose that time to get all pissy about being estranged from the family. Like, "nobody will call me
a saint when I die! Poor me! It's been so hard since I ended a marriage of 35 years to run off with some bleached blond in Mission Viejo! How come Kathy got a free pass for infidelity and all I got was a beautiful timeshare in Maui??" Paraphrasing, of course, but all that while my emotional wounds are still bleeding. And this is after years of growing animosity between the two that I never completely understood. We were on increasingly shaky ground for years before, what with him randomly yelling at me for hours about my rude friends and my sinful life choices (and by those, I mean "Romo helped himself to leftover tacos after I invited him to" and "you're sharing a bed with a girl you've been in love with since high school").
He says he misses us all and I desperately want to believe him, but he hasn't been terribly proactive about meeting up. Doesn't help that there isn't much overlap in our interests; he likes trainspotting and drag racing, I like video games (which he's upset over how violent they are sometimes. To be fair, the last time he said that was when I was playing Dead Space). But it seems like whenever I do
try and get together, he's got some race in Bakersfield to cover. Just today I tried to make plans, but he's busy with some other damn thing this Sunday that has more priority over me and my new copy of Driveclub VR.
I guess one of the things making it difficult with him is that I really used to look up to my parents and their relationship. It seemed like everyone else in the world were getting divorced or were already on their second marriages, but they somehow beat the odds, like they were somehow above it. Then one fine night in 2007, we catch him making late night phone calls to strange women and it was all downhill from there. It was like my family was this island in the middle of a big, dangerous, unknowable ocean, and it had suddenly fractured into this disfunctional archapelago, trying to build flimsy bridges between everyone.
I'm trying to deal with it all, but it's hard. I'm always wondering how Alexis and I are going to split, since it seems pretty much everyone does with enough time. It's not even like we're in any imminent danger, but it's hard to feel safe after my invincible parents split. Like, it could happen to anyone
at that point. As for my aunt, I try distract myself from the fact that one of the most important people in my life is now just an old photo album and a bag of ash in a ceramic angel. But I see her everywhere: fireworks at Disneyland, where she used to work at the hotel. Anything in tacky leopard print, which she always wore. Even my own son; whenever he learns something new, I always think "Your aunt would be proud if she weren't d̡͚̣͉̱̩̙̤ḙ͙͟à̗͙̀͢d͇̝͕͈̫ͅ."
Sorry to go on like this. I don't even know many folks here terribly well, but... I dunno. It seems like a better way to deal than Facebook and making shitty paintings.