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The Dsyfunctional Family - A Case Study (12 November 2006 - 7:37 a.m.)

So, besides the fact that my dearly loved brother has been missing for 23 days and is presumed dead, and the real grieving process can’t begin without a body, which means the grief we ARE experiencing is “ambiguous” and “anticipatory,” we can add the following to the mix: my mother thinks the rest of the family is conspiring behind her back, my daughter has no generosity of spirit, and my father has no generosity of pocket.

On Friday, my mother and I went to visit the place where Mark’s duck blind is located. We were together for several hours, and did a lot of talking. I knew she was consumed with bitterness, resentment and paranoia, and wanted to given her an opportunity to vent, as well as attempt to talk some sense into her. It was a very trying task.

The bitterness and resentment is based on the fact that she and Mark had become estranged, yet he had a very close relationship with our father, as does his identical twin brother. Furthermore, only one of her children has very much to do with her on a regular basis, and he’s not doing it for her. He is separated from his own family, and has nowhere else to go during visitation with his daughters. There are occasional phone calls and get-togethers with the rest of us, but that’s about it.

We used to be a pretty close family. But we all have our own families and problems to deal with, and life can get kind of overwhelming at times. (At least MINE can.) That’s not an excuse – just a possible explanation for why we fell out of more frequent contact with each other. And, in the case of my mother, I admit that there was a conscious desire to keep my distance. This woman hurt me an awful lot over the years.

But she told me on Friday that she has no guilt. (Both of my sisters burst out laughing when I told them that.) Instead of the concentration of her pain being the loss of her son, it’s all about her. This is very difficult to deal with, especially when we are hurting over our brother. I told my mother that her loss is unimaginable to me, because to lose a child is the worst loss of all. I said that she carried him and gave him life through her body, and that I am so sorry for her pain. That snapped her out of her self-pity for a while, and brought the focus back to the loss of Mark, where it SHOULD be, instead of all this other petty crap. Unfortunately, the respite from drama was temporary, and my mother relapsed back into bitterness shortly afterwards. Still, when she dropped me off, she hugged me and told me repeatedly that she loves me. I did the same for her.

Yesterday, we went back to the duck blind location with my sister, Michele, who took a much less patient approach when our mother started her bitter, paranoid
bullshit. With better results, I might add! Michele looked at our mother in disbelief over the outrageous things that were coming out of her mouth, and announced that she (Michele) was going to drop her (our mother) off at a mental institution because she is not thinking sanely and needs help.

This was after our mother declared that she doesn’t want to have a wake or funeral because we would just be doing it for Mark’s friends (?!), and she doesn’t like them. For the record, she has never MET them. Apparently, she doesn’t like them because she ANTICIPATES that they will cluster around Mark’s twin brother, Mike, and our father at the service, and not pay any attention to her! Do you see what we have to deal with here, people??

I should mention that Mark’s friends have searched for him long and hard, high and low, far and wide. They have put themselves at risk to do so – boating, diving, etc. And our mother doesn’t LIKE them because she’s afraid they won’t fawn all over her at Mark’s funeral? Michele and I both gave her hell for that remark, and told her how grateful we are to those guys for their efforts. They loved Mark, and they are devastated. How DARE she dislike them?

There is a possibility that we may have gotten through to her a little, because she made some encouraging comments later in the day. (She even said that she is starting to force herself to consider that she might have done something to drive her children away! Miracles DO happen!) But it won’t surprise me if she reverts back to her pissed off, paranoid self by the time I see her again later this afternoon. It takes a lot to surprise me these days. Although I AM surprised by my father’s refusal to commit to any financial responsibility for his son’s funeral, if and when his body is found.

My mother has already agreed to cover her share. My father has a large pension. He lives with his mother, and has very few expenses. He goes on annual fishing trips to Canada, and has spent a lot of money to have fish mounted. Nevertheless, he thinks the whole family should pay for Mark’s funeral, or that Mark’s daughter should sell his truck and boat to cover expenses. This girl was pretty much cheated out of a relationship with her father, so why should she be expected to sell his only valuable belongings to pay for his funeral?

This is not the responsibility of the siblings, either. We have our own children. I have two in college, and no money in the bank. My sister, Michele, lost a son years ago, and she and her husband paid for the funeral, which is as it should be. It would be a different story if my father was impoverished, but he’s in much better financial shape than I am. None of this makes any sense to me.

Another thing that doesn’t make any sense is that the police keep telling reporters that the search for my brother is ongoing. In the most recent newspaper article, dated November 5th, a Lieutenant in charge of the investigation said, “This is still very much an active search. We are out there every day. And we’re not going to stop until we find him. We have to give the family some closure.”

I was there for hours on the 10th and the 11th. No one was there – no boats on the water, and no one on land. The same has been true when other family members and friends were there. That seems awfully strange to me for such an “active” search. We would understand if the authorities decided to call the search off. What we don’t understand is LYING about it. That’s misleading and cruel.

I’m really dreading the family meeting this afternoon. It could get very ugly, especially when we try to shame our father into assuming some responsibility, for once in his life. Wish me luck. Some peace would be nice, too.

Rebecca is going back to school this afternoon, and taking her laptop with her, so I don’t know when I’ll be back. Hopefully, my computer will be fixed soon. I need this outlet more than ever.

By the way, in reference to yesterday’s entry and comments, I did send Leigh to live with her father once, but that lasted for less than 24 hours. Snort.

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