So Many Things Hard to Watch

My family is dysfunctional. Not evil or ill-intention-ed. But perhaps not all that bright.

First, there is my mom. Kind and sweet, just wanting everyone to get along. Her sons are in poor health. My brother Mike has cancer. My dad showed me a picture of Mike on his phone probably a month ago. I was aghast. Mike has these sunken eyes with huge dark circles around them. And he has a large lump slightly above and between his eyebrows. I seriously doubt he will survive the summer. Anyhow, I was talking about that picture and Ma acted surprised, like she had seen the picture and that I was simply mistaken. I told her to look at the picture as soon as Dad got back with the pizza. She did and acted like it was the first time she had seen the lump in the picture. WTF? I told her that I am not a doctor and cannot say conclusively that the lump is a tumor, but, whatever it is, it is not good. Barry had cancer. I know a little bit about tumors. The point is that a person cannot connect the dots if they are incapable of actually seeing the dots.

Then there is my niece’s giant baby. This baby is very happy–and obese. He is over a year old and has zero interest in so much as crawling. The term for this is “developmentally delayed.” He is falling further behind by the day. I love how content this boy is.We should all be as happy as he is. But they are setting him up for a life of ridicule and failure.  have never seen thighs so large on a baby.

Then there is my brother Dave. I always thought he was the smartest of the three brothers, but, if that is true, my family is in sad intellectual shape. He had a heart attack a couple years ago. He had a few arteries scraped out and now wrongly assumes that that gives him a new lease on life and that he can go back to eating  the high-saturated-fat diet he has consumed for years. And–drum roll–he still drinks and smokes cigars. He actually lit one in front of me. Don’t get me wrong: I am suicidal sometimes, but at least I am honest about it. He is committing suicide with every puff and swig and taking no responsibility for it.

None of this is the scary part. Dave’s son drinks alcohol at home and is not 21. That makes Dave and Celeste liable for anything their son does after he drinks. The boy attends MSU, a party school if ever there was one. Let me paint a picture. The boy has a beer. He is not drink by any definition. But he is driving to the local grocery store, someone runs out in front of him, the person is struck, and is injured or killed. The cops do a breathalyzer and he blows a .05. Not legally drunk, but, being under 21, it should be a .00. The victim’s family finds out about Dave and Celeste providing alcohol to someone underage and sue and win. That big house they live in–gone to pay the judgment and legal fees.

You say that is far-fetched and you would be right, except for one little detail: this is how Dave and Celeste got the big house they live in now. Their oldest daughter, Melissa, was killed by a drunk driver. The family of the drunk driver had money. Dave sued and won and that has provided the financial security they have today. Put the shoe on the other foot. The victim’s family could say, “This won’t bring our child back, but it will provide for the future. I’m digging into their deep pockets.” Dave and Celeste’s financial security could be gone in a heart beat.

I get so frustrated with my family because they never learn. It frightens the crap out of me. It is so painful to watch people grow older, but not any wiser, age but not mature.

I want to be there for Ma, but I’m not sure if I can be. I probably come off as a judgmental bitch, but I will not forsake common sense just to go along and get along. She is going to watch her kids die and it will devastate her. What can I say? What do you say when you watch your family make the same mistakes decade after decade after decade? This is why I stay away. I really am not interested in hurting anyone, but I am also not terribly interested in watching a completely preventable train wreck. My strategy in life has always been simple: when I see a train coming, I give one warning, and then I get my own ass off the tracks. But I gave up saying anything a long time ago. I mistakenly believed they were capable of learning and maturing. I try to learn from my mistakes. But part of that effort is to hang around other learning and growing people. And that clearly does not include my family of origin, no matter how much I wish it did.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

One response to “So Many Things Hard to Watch”

  1. Ninasusan says :

    ….and you have a lot of history and experience watching someone deteriorate! You already know there’s really nothing you can do for them!

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