Sunday, December 27, 2009

Unexpected Lessons

Hi everyone.

It's been awhile, and I wish I had something more happy to post, but my mother passed away on Tuesday, and I've been dealing with the loss. I've also learned a great deal during this time, and I think I'm going to write about that for awhile.

For anyone who remembers the saga with Aunt Crayzee, you'll recall that she turned her back on my mom and uncle and managed to poison the waters so that almost nobody wanted to help them. Well, that contributed greatly to my mother's death. She died while my uncle was away, and he says the last thing she said to him was "Nobody ever stops by". She felt so abandoned and alone and was severely depressed towards the end, and when people would come by, they would be nasty, hurtful, and not willing to offer the least bit of help. She apparently wrote a letter to someone right before Thanksgiving asking for food because they were starving, and in it she wrote that she wanted them to be able to have a little bit of fun. She never asked for much in life, and towards the end she couldn't even get that. I came to see them as often as I could, and I would buy groceries and give them money. It wasn't enough. Now we get all these people coming out of the woodwork who claim to have loved her, but they wouldn't visit with her, or give her a kind word. The church that refused to help them pay a single bill (and refused to give them food!) has offered their space for the service, and I only agreed to it because I was trying to cut down on the funeral costs.

My uncle is hurting, and my aunt can't seem to give a shit. She has been a saboteur from the beginning, wanting them to fail and wanting us to fail in this funeral. The joke's on her; my church raised funds and will be helping to pay for the funeral, and my high school's headmaster called me up to say he's raised $3,000 and that I can call if we're still short. One of my girlfriends that I haven't spoken to since my baby shower even offered $300. My church is not a church of great means, whereas the church that they belong to is a historical African American church that is full of gossipers who are soulless, despicable people who would rather listen to someone who is no longer a member (who I am convinced is filled with venom; she's pure evil) than help those who need it. She is going to find a way to take credit for this when she did nothing. She deliberately waited until after church service was over to bring over the guest book, so that the people who visited were not recorded in the book because she didn't bring it. She also lied and said she would contact people she never called (like the hairdresser; she did the hair herself, which is why we're closing the casket for the wake and service). The "flowers" she promised her church would pay for are fake...and since her best friend's family makes those things for a living, so she probably paid nothing for them. It was just one stinking thing of flowers that she had placed on the casket. I hate her.

I hate everything she has done. She had the audacity to tell my husband (when he was telling her to keep trying to help find funds) that I should have just cremated her! I PAID for the bulk of her own mother's funeral, and it was my support system that is paying for my mother's funeral, and she has gotten away with ruining lives and not paying a dime. When I hear that people feel bad that they didn't visit, I always think "Good! You need to feel guilty." All my mother wanted was for God to come through for her, and for her to be loved. I want her to know that she is loved very much.

This is so hard to write.

I have invited my uncle to stay with us for awhile. I want him to be able to rebuild his life and heal away from a house where two of his loved ones have died. I am not sure when he will come, or if, but I don't want to go through this again. I want to know he's going to be alright because it's true what he said: It's not fair that people treat them like shit, treat them like they're worthless, as if they were the worst people in the world when all they were trying to do was survive. They were trying to live. And now she's dead, and I don't want him to be next.

What do I want for my aunt? For her to suffer. For her to feel humiliated, feel pain, to struggle. To not know where the next meal is going to come from. I want the worst for her, save only one thing: I don't want her to die. I want her to live with the consequences of what she has done. I want her to PAY.

I'm also angry with my father-in-law because he decided, on the day my mother's obituary was running in the Plain Dealer, to call her and my uncle "fucking irresponsible" for not doing what he thinks they were supposed to do with probate. Here are a few fun facts that he's completely forgotten about. 1) My husband and I hired him to help them, so if any money is owed, it would be from us and not them. 2) He told them that he was doing this for them because "we're family", and then treated them like they were idiotic pieces of shit because he was making side deals with my aunt, lapping up everything she served him. 3) He made my mother sign papers that he didn't explain. 4) He came over, while on the phone with my husband, pretending that he was giving them food when instead he dropped off a nasty letter saying that, essentially, my uncle had virtually no claim to the home. 5) He treats people like shit and has the nerve to be upset because they don't turn around and thank him for his service. I'm never asking him to do a damn thing for me again.

Since the title of my blog suggests that I learned something, let's review what I've learned in all of this.

- I want to be cremated. Fuck all of this shit with the funeral home (they demand payment upfront before services can be rendered; however, the newspaper, the printer of the service bulletins, and the people at the cemetery were more than willing to accommodate our situation of not having the money yet but that it was coming, or of lowering prices or not charging extra fees). If my loved ones want a service for me, fine, but I'd rather spare them the expense. My husband is willing to give me a service that observes Japanese rituals, but that's about all I want. He wants to donate his body to science.

- My mother was a wonderful woman who never deserved to die alone. I hope beyond everything that she is happy now.

- I apparently have a hell of a lot more friends than I could have possibly imagined.

- Know who to trust, and who to leave in the...bin (I wanted to say dust, but I do not want to offend my friend for the sake of a rhyme scheme).

- I apparently had more faith than I thought. When my grandmother died, I lost my faith. I think with my mother's death, I found it. I still told God off, but whatever.

- I will do right by the people who did right by me. And the others need to watch out. I'm full of anger and will release it on the first person to say the wrong thing tomorrow.

- There are some nasty people out there in the world, and they get away with a lot. If there's any justice in the world, they won't get away with it forever.

- I have the will to pull through this, and I want my mother to be remembered for who she was. And I want all of those people who said they care but didn't give a damn to know that her death rests on all of their shoulders. Live with that forever.

I signed all the paperwork, but the funeral home violated their own policies by allowing my aunt to take my place for the first viewing. She also dropped off the flowers and the book and never came back. My uncle and I stayed with her until they closed the home at 5. A few visitors came by and my little girl got to see her Gram-Gram one last time.

I've also learned that I have a mean streak that runs deeper than even I imagined, but I think these people have earned it. And if the money my aunt got the home church to donate is not given to the funeral home, my husband is going to call the church in a week to let them know that she had no expenses and that she should have to give the money back.

I never said I was a good girl.

The funeral is tomorrow afternoon, and I hope that her siblings from California come, but something tells me they won't.

There's only one crypt left of the six my grandmother bought. It's going to be for my uncle, because I'm cremating my aunt when she goes, so she'd better not go soon.

I may change my mind on a lot of things in time. But I won't change my opinions on those who hurt my family. I may just ease up on them in time (maybe). I've got to get some sleep to get through tomorrow. If things go poorly...well, let's just say you'll be hearing about me on the news.

I love you, mom. Never doubt that.

Her obituary is here.

EDIT: Okay, so now I'm feeling guilty about the things I said about my aunt (1.5 hours later). A little. I'm still angry, but she's still family. However, she needs to redeem herself to make this right.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Short Update

Hi everyone,

I know it's been a long time since I've posted, but things have been very busy lately. Now that I'm on winter break, I'm taking the time to get caught up on my Master's Thesis work as well as creating a syllabus for my class next quarter (like I know what the hell I'm doing).

Anyway, here's what's been going on (in case you haven't been following me on Twitter):

- I managed to get through teaching my first classes without too much trouble. I had some problems with students not working well together in their groups (and a couple of extra credit assignments that drove me crazy [one person wrote "colored" at least 14 times in his paper about his family's views on race, and the other insulted the poor and people of color while railing for people to eat better so that they don't need organ donors...not exactly the best way to sell people on being organ donors]) but everything worked out in the end. Only one student had to take the final (out of 45 total students) and everyone got an A.

- My husband's job situation went from bad to worse. HR refused to pay him and when they laid off the majority of the design department, he was the only person not to get paid. After smashing the HR person's family photo against a wall (bad idea, I know), we filed the case with OSHA. I'm going to have him call to do a follow-up with the federal branch tomorrow, and that branch is supposed to force the regional branch to get to work, so we'll see how this goes. At least now he qualifies for unemployment, so we'll finally have some $ coming in for the first time in months. My pay is not enough for just one person to live on, let alone three, so this is help we needed.

- I got sick during finals week last week, and I'm still on the mend. Since I won't gross anyone out with details, let's just say this was serious when the people at the Student Health center booked the appointment for 30 minutes from when I made the call, instead of for the next day.

- We've gotten Christmas photos done & I will be scanning and posting them soon. What pissed me off, however, was the fact that the girl who was helping our photographer (who was doing her first day of sales) kept trying to do a hard-sell with us that almost resulted in us not getting any photos. The girl who normally does our photos had a death in the family, so they had two people in as replacements. One who had been a photographer for years but had never worked on sales for the company until that day, and the other was a hard-assed bitch who kept trying to sell us $200 and $300 packages. We barely had enough gas to get to the damn session, and we weren't trying to spend more than $50, so when she kept coming back into the room to change what we were ordering from 5 sheets to 9 so we qualified for some stupid package or another, I was about to lose it. I had to fight for a montage photo I wanted, because it was the only way we were going to get some of the shots, but when the girl came in and said a montage photo was extra (which wasn't the way they did packages in the past), that was when I finally got upset. We got the photos we wanted, but to add insult to injury, a bulk of the images were thrown away. Usually, they make all of the images from the shoot available online, and there were some that I could have gotten my m-i-l to order, but Bitch-Ass probably only kept the ones we ordered photos from. If our regular girl doesn't come back, I'm taking my business elsewhere.

Anyway, I have a syllabus to write, a house to clean, and a headache to get rid of. I wish I felt better about writing a syllabus, but all the help I've gotten so far is to look at what others have done in the past. Unfortunately, people don't say what they taught in their syllabus; just what books they covered. I'll figure out something.

Happy Trails, Happy Holidays, and all that good stuff.
~ Kay