The Tenth Day…

…a day you’d rather forget

That’s easy…March 2nd, 2010.

My grandmother passed away…

She’d had two back to back heart attacks one early Saturday morning…and never recovered. She was 81. I was heart broken.

I woke up that Tuesday morning…and instead of readying for work, a sense of doom fell over me and I sat on the side of my bed in a trance. My heart knew what my mind didn’t want to face…today wasn’t going to be a good day for her.

My sister called me and said that my father had summoned us to the hospital…that it didn’t look good. I already knew that. I got dressed and we went to Mt. Vernon Hospital.

She’d died just moments before we got there.

I went to her bedside and hugged her and cried the hardest wail I’ve ever cried. Her body was there. The machines were moving her chest as if she were breathing. Such cruel necessity.

I was never the same.

Our family was never the same.

I still think my father has lost what small piece of mind that the drugs and alcohol didn’t claim before his sobriety.

We’re a lost clan today…at least on the paternal side.

Yea…that’s all for now.

Parenting the Parent

Let me begin this by saying…I am a super-private person. I don’t like living my life’s ups and downs in front of a crowded stadium of the cyber-audience known as the Internet. I believe that your business is yours and you should be careful with whom you share your problems with. True enough, speaking on your issues can help someone else, but everything doesn’t have to be a wide open, spread-eagle, free-for-all of your most intimate moments. Having said that…I have to write this. If for no other reason, then to get through it and over it.

My father and I have struggled for years. I’m an immovable Capricorn and he’s a brash and bull-dozing Taurus. He and I, since the beginning of my adolescence…have had a back and forth, biting rapport. He had a tendency to say mean things…or at least I felt that way about it.

[I walk into the room]

Him: “You’re fat…you need to lose weight!”
Me: “You’re a crackhead…you need Jesus!”

True Story. I swear. *lol*

Though he is sober now…probably going on 16 or so years…he was an addict all of my childhood and adolescence. I know of the coke, the crack and the alcohol…I suspect heroine as well. I know that his relationship with my mother was tumultuous. I know a lot of things. Some…I wish I didn’t.

It doesn’t change the fact that now…even in his sober mind…he’s not changed a whole lot. I suppose with anything (including addictions), that learned behavior is hard to break. The longer you practice, the better at it you become. Well, my father was a selfish addict. Now…he’s just selfish.

My grandmother, his mother passed away in 2010. She was my heart. Loved that lady. With her gone…I see how she was the buffer. She was the go-between. I knew that…but, now I REALLY know that. Whenever I needed anything, I’d ask her and she’d ask him. Asking HIM was surely a way to have my needs forgotten. Constant reminding would become my job and eventually I’d get exasperated by the chase of him, rescinding my request. Surely, his plan…or at least his pleasure. Hell, I’m sure that a LOT of times my grandmother gave me money in his name so I wouldn’t feel some kinda way.

Either way…nothing has changed.

When my grandmother died, he of course became power of attorney for her affairs. In spite of the fact that my grandmother gave her policy to my aunt, it was my father who was able to cash it. All of a sudden my father needed to replace his 2 year old car with a new model and his not-THAT-old laptop as well. I don’t recall him asking my sister and I if there was anything we needed. He didn’t even offer my aunt anything, even though it was SHE my grandmother trusted to hold onto it. Luckily for him…I don’t feel the need to “profit” from my grandmother’s death. His forgetting us is just a reminder that in the thick of a time when we needed each other the most, he fell back into old habits and thought of no one but himself. That includes, making it very clear that his girlfriend (with her needy, manipulative ass) came first.

The GOOD thing here? I’ve never really asked him for much of anything. I surely don’t EXPECT him to do shit. I just observe the way he does family business and I’m confident that my stance is a smart one. Offering distant love.

In all of the years of his substance abuse, I’ve never taken jabs at him about what he didn’t do for me. I feel it’s futile to exhume past bones I buried in my 20’s. What gets me and at times makes the balls of my feet itch, is to have someone want father accolades and kudos with his chest stuck out proudly…when he’s done not a thing to garner that, except seed us. Half of what he DID do, he did seemingly, under duress of my grandmother’s influence and insistence.

The drugs, the alcohol, the streets, his friends and his girlfriends were always his priority. He even told a story at his one year sobriety anniversary about how he’d taken me on runs. A baby…barely 2…sitting in the back of a Buick Riviera, as he hit drug spots in Harlem. *that explained the deja vu I felt as a child riding through certain areas on my way to a class outing*  I cringed at his confession…I cried. I felt abandoned, even though I was with him. Does that sound weird?

Anyway. Here we are…in 2012…and I refuse to go along for the ride anymore. I refuse to sit in the back and coo lovingly…blindly at a father who refuses to look back, see his child and stop his shit.

I refuse to parent my parent. I love you daddy, but no more.