I thought I was done with blogging. No one cares what I have to say really. Who am I? No one of any real importance. Just a mom. A wife. An Admin. A daughter, friend, sister, wannabe writer, the list goes on. 2019 was a shit year. I had to move, lost my job, my only brother died and all in less than forty five days. I nearly had a nervous breakdown. I was lost. I had a falling out with my father and stepmother. My half-stepsister (my dad adopted her so legally she’s my half-sister) chose their side. We haven’t spoken since August. I am okay with it. Not what I would have chosen but still, I will live with it without regret. I get more into that part later. I dealt with some real nasty sports moms at my son’s new school. Felt like I was in high school all over again. I was ready for something good to happen.
At the end of the year I found a new job. One I could be proud of. I now work for a non-profit, I make less money but I actually feel good about myself and don’t have to convince myself daily to walk into work. I don’t hide in the bathroom stall or privacy rooms weekly to prevent others from seeing my tears. My stomach issues are nearly gone. As are my headaches and panic attacks. I swear that place was slowly killing me. In the seven years I worked there, there were at least four suicides. It was to the point that if you told your supervisor or anyone you thought of self harm you were put on FML and referred to mental health assistance. So many of my former co-workers were stressed beyond their limits I can’t even count. One of my supervisors kept a flask in his car and told us he often went home on his lunch break to smoke pot just to deal. And he wasn’t the only one. Thankfully I got out with some semblance of sanity.
I started my new job at the first of the new year and was excited for 2020 to start. So much to be excited for, aside from the job. My son was set to graduate in May, and planning for all the fun events for him- Prom, track season, graduation, parties, his entire future. And my youngest son, finishing his junior year, getting invited to Ohio University and Eastern Michigan University to tour their football facilities, all the other universities showing interest in him as well. He has worked so hard to reach his dream, his goal of playing at the next level. Planning what training camps he’d attend this summer. My husband was happy with his new job, too, he’d been headhunted in the fall and started in October working for a company he really liked. And in a few short months, we would be moving to our house and out of this apartment. My mom returned to nursing after taking a few years off and was able to go to work for the VA, in honor of my late brother, who’d spent so much time there.
Then as you all know, we began hearing about the Corona Virus, Covid-19, the pandemic, and how it was spreading from country to country, from one continent to another. Slowly (at least that is how it seemed at the time) it reached the US and before I knew it, we were in quarantine, working from home, the boys were schooling online, then my husband was laid off. As were my older two sons, and their girlfriends, and so many others. At least I still had my job. And here we are, some fifty days into the quarantine and people are upset they can’t get their nails done or attend concerts. Here in Ohio, there are over 1,000 deaths now. It is strange to say the least. No Prom. No graduation. Well, our district is doing virtual versions. Parties are cancelled. People still are hoarding staples like cleaning supplies, meat, and toilet paper. That was the strangest of all- seeing people buying toilet paper en masse. And here we are, May 4th, fearful to go outside without a mask on, without sanitizer in your pocket, to stand within six feet of another. My family stays at home unless we need something from the store. Home is sanctuary.
There are reports of increased domestic violence, alcohol consumption is way up, I type this as I pour myself a second glass of wine. Folks are bingeing shows and playing video games like crazy. I have contemplated doing something more constructive with my spare time (writing, crocheting, reading) but instead I like so many others am in such a funk I find myself scrolling through Netflix, Apple TV, Prime, Hulu, and Disney Plus to stumble upon some ;great; find that will whisk me away into fantasy land for a while. I have done some gardening. So there’s that. And tonight like so many others, I couldn’t find anything I wanted to watch, so I decided it was time to do something. And here I am. Blogging again. Do I think this will capture anyone’s attention? Nope. Not even a little bit. But does it make me feel a bit better to get it out? Maybe.
It’s been nearly a year since Tony, my brother, was found dead in his apartment. In fact he was found on May 9th 2019. The authorities couldn’t locate me or my mom until four days later, the day after Mother’s Day to tell us. He had struggled with drugs and alcohol for many years, more than half his life actually. But what killed him was diabetes. He stopped taking his insulin. We will never know why. The coroner reported his blood sugar was over 2000. That’s is where the test stops reading levels, so it was likely higher. He was found by a maintenance man after foul smells were reported by his neighbor across the hall. It wasn’t pretty. He was in a pool of blood and fluids. His cell phone was in his hand. He had been robbed. The police weren’t interested in investigating. He was a user. How do we know for sure he was robbed? Aside from his wallet, sunglasses, backpack, and several other portable possessions missing, his door was locked from the outside, the deadbolt locked and his keys also gone. So someone either left him there dead or to die and took his things and locked the door securely behind themselves, or they came across his body and them stole from him. Either way we will never know. There will never be justice. No one will ever be held accountable.
My mom and I had to clean his apartment, pack up his things, step over his dried blood. My dad refused to help. I asked him and my step mother, and my sister to all come help. Help with his arrangements. To ease some of the stress from us. But they refused. My dad said it was too painful. Too hard. Really? Thanks. Thanks for your pain being more than ours. And thank you for not ever coming up to visit him in the hospital even once. I had no idea you were so weak and pathetic you couldn’t be bothered to deal with your only son’s death. And thank you for putting it all on my shoulders. I stayed up with my mom every night afraid to leave her alone. I planned his funeral. I made sure his final wishes were followed. I contacted family and friends. Oh, you did do something. You wrote his obituary and misspelled my mom’s name and you paid for part of the funeral. I will give you that. That was the very least you could’ve done. When he needed you- you weren’t there. When I needed you- you weren’t there. At the funeral, you couldn’t even give your grandsons hugs, you just left. Refused to come to my home afterwards because you were too sad. Sorry if I just don’t buy it anymore.
But even after all that, I still tried. It wasn’t until I found out you took half of his ashes and stuck them in a hole between your parents’ graves, then lied to the VA to ensure you got a free military headstone which you bragged about installing yourself. My father, couldn’t have it professionally installed because he wasn’t buried in his own grave, just a hole. That headstone you are so proud of, he would have hated. Why? Because you told the VA he was Christian when he wasn’t. You are so weak you insisted that there be a cross at the top of that headstone for your beliefs, not his. You know he didn’t believe. You know he was an atheist but that wasn’t acceptable. So you lied. And when I told you what you did was wrong and shameful, that Tony would hate it, you stopped speaking to me. Battle lines were drawn. Your wife and her daughter chose your side. That’s fine with me. If you sleep better at night knowing in a span of three months you lost both of your biological children, cool. You do you. Me an mine will be swell without you. We have all of our lives.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so stubborn. So set in my ways. But I honestly am sick of the judgement, the lectures, the grief, the utter bullshit my father has dished out my entire life to care anymore. I can give many examples of why... being told two days before my wedding to call it off because there is no way a man like him could ever really love someone like me and I would be saving myself hurt and embarrassment... watching my sister steal money from under their noses and shoplift while I was accused of taking a handful of quarters from his coin jar... telling me my cough is too manly and don’t be a “donut eater” (fat ass) or no one will ever love me... being kicked out at 12 because I refused to serve my sister and her boyfriend drinks in our garage... listening to him try to convince me that the US fought in the Crusades with Constantine and this is the reason the world isn’t Muslim... I write a novel, and they have a copy, but none of them ever read it... the list goes on and on and on. I guess I just realized I don’t need that sort of toxic in my life any longer. I’m not mad, I’m just tired, over it.
Maybe one day I will write down more of the stories about my family. I don’t have to worry any of them will ever read them, honestly I’m not sure they can even read. Enough about them.
I thought 2020 had to be an improvement over 2019, but so far its been running neck and neck. Not nearly as bad for my family, though way worse for many others. I consider myself lucky. I have a home. My husband, sons, mom, in-laws, friends, and coworkers are all safe. I have a wonderful marriage. Not one of those facebook wonderful marriages where everything is picture perfect. I’m not delusional. We aren’t perfect. We get mad at each other. There are days where we would love to strangle each other. But our good days far outweigh the bad. We actually like one another. There is no need to be stuck up the other’s ass and we can be angry at each other and still know there is love. My sons, all four of them, are happy. They are nice. Are they angels? Uh, no. But they are good young men and I am proud of them and who they have become. They are all different. They fight, they defend each other, they are brothers. Our moms are good. We like the other’s mom, which I know is not common. I don’t have a ton of friends. I never have. I don’t need many. The ones I have are incredible. I know I can trust them. I can count on them- and they on me, they are my second family.
Being in quarantine has made me think a lot. To be grateful for what I have, to appreciate my loved ones. To care about what matters and to discard what doesn’t. Going to movies, out to eat, to a salon, a mall is nice but not a necessity. Going for long drives without a destination in mind, talking to my kids, getting my hands in the earth... those matter. I know I’m not the only one who’s realized this. I just wanted to write it down. To get some of what’s been in my head for a while out. I can’t wait to see the seeds I’ve planted grow. To sit in my backyard around the fire with my family, to watch my son graduate virtually. It’s the little things I find most exciting.