I don’t consider myself a particularly angry person. Generally, I’m even tempered and relaxed.
However, I’ve been accused this past year (2015 vs. 2016) of being a grudge-holder.
Yeah, dude. Seriously.
My baby sis hasn’t really spoken to me since May, when she was screaming at me (and making no sense at all for the contradictions in her reasoning) about letting go of the fight with our father over my baby brother’s grave.
I say “my” vs. “ours” because Jimmy was born before her, and she never knew him / has no emotional stake in the game.
I, however, was 5 when he was born. I recall the months of preparation for his birth, along with the devastation when he died of SIDS (sudden, unexplained infant death syndrome) 3 days after birth and before he came home from the hospital. So, our viewpoints on this topic, and the ages we were during our Mother’s grieving, have had profoundly different impacts on our psyches.
Flash foward 50 years, and Jimmy is still as real and a part of my life as when he was born.
My baby sis was 4 when divorce proceedings began between our parents. I was 11. I remember all the fights over money, my surgeries, Mom’s additional miscarriages before baby sis was born; everything.
I remember Mom’s depression. Her fight to pay for Jimmy’s gravesite (she’d traded plots with her parents, buying them a 2-person site in exchange for the 4-person site where Jimmy was buried). It was also where they eventually expected to bury me, even though I wasn’t supposed to hear that conversation.
Mom worked for 5 years to pay off that loan. While also fighting with my father over the supplemental costs of my surgeries, and the additional cost of my baby sister’s surgery. The bills were mounting, and Daddy Dearest was never much of a worker.
While I’d like to give him credit for trying, the chip on his shoulder from lack of money didn’t get any smaller as the debts from his children’s repairs mounted. He was working hard, his talents were showcased in Architectural Digest for the remodeling he did of chef Julia Child’s kitchen, and he wasn’t getting ahead financially.
He resented Mom’s depression, and her focus on having all the children their Catholic faith would insist she bear.
He buried his anger for a time in buying a 200 year old farmhouse and giving us all a fresh start by working off his anger via remodeling, however, everywhere he looked he couldn’t find easy street. Just work and more work.
Two years after giving themselves a new start in a money-pit of a home, they had my baby sis. Three years later, they began divorce proceedings.
They say it’s the rare marriage that can recover from the death of a child. While I was only a sibling, and not the parent, I’d have to agree.
I never recovered from the death of Jimmy, and I was just a bit player in our family drama.
Through the years, I listened to my Mom’s advice to stay out of the marital fights. Mom tried her best to shield us all from the ugliness of the battles, but my bedroom was directly over the kitchen, and their fights filled my dreams as they were conducted directly into my room via the floor heating vents.
So, I *know* where the body is buried, why he never got a gravestone until my father was bent on inflicting more pain a few years back, and how hard my Mom fought to have her youngest son recognized vs. erased.
As I’m going into my 8th month of my younger sister not talking to me because of my decision to resolve the ownership of Jimmy’s grave before my own passing, I keep seeing the signs like the one gracing this blog, and I wonder: Am I really an angry person?
When did our culture become so focused on the here and now that we stopped honoring our dead and the final wishes of our dead?
While I would like to be able to give into my sister on this issue, I already made the mistake of putting off a decision and trusting that my brother (our Father’s right hand man) would help me put it right after Daddy Dearest was dead. It was the wrong decision to make at the time, and I own my fault in putting off until today what should have been resolved then as my brother has since passed away, so the topic has reopened.
At this point, I’ve spent most of the last 17 days struggling with this topic, and the lawyer’s choice to bow out of this case vs. proceeding with the probate court hearing that she originally proposed. Not sure why she’s changed her mind, but I’m pushing back that a single letter and some research about their divorce should not have cost $3k, and that she’s given Daddy Dearest final say in this matter vs. proceeding with the plan agreed upon.
Maybe I am an angry person. Maybe I’m like that old film, “The Last Angry Man”. However, I feel that everyone needs to stand for something in this life, and my word is one of those things that I try very hard to honor.
I gave my promise at 17 to try and get this matter resolved, and reaffirmed that promise when my Mother was dying. Why is it now so “convenient” to stop honoring the final wishes of the dead?
Why am I such an anachronism that I just can’t let this one slide?
No answers here, but I truly feel that I’m seeking justice in a cruel world. Maybe the Don Quixote label does apply…