Aug. 11th, 2010

thejunipertree: (Default)
One of the only reasons why I keep my Facebook account active is because it keeps me in contact with Middle Brother. We're pretty much all the family that either has got. I mean, I have my father, but that's it. And Middle Brother only has me (he's my half-brother, but we were raised to ignore that fact). He updates rarely and its usually forwards of one kind or another, but they're there and it's a small bit of contact I'd like to retain.

He came over last night because he's moved back to the area and right before he arrived at the apartment, I was struck with the realization that I had not seen him since December. It left me unsteady for a few moments, with a bitter and metallic taste in my mouth.

We hung out for several hours, me and him, the Engineer and the Amazing Larry. Middle Brother sat in the recliner and drank his shitty beers and talked a lot of nonsense about aliens and programs on the History Channel. It was a good time and he left with the two of us making plans for me to visit his new apartment in the very near future.

When I logged into Facebook this evening, I saw that he had "liked" the page: I WISH I HAD MY MOM I TRULY MISS HER TAKE CARE OF YOUR MOM CAUSE YOU DONT KNOW HOW LONG YOU HAVE HER

And it made me cry. Even though it'll be six years in November since she died, we still don't talk much about her. I don't know if it's our family-taught brand of stoicism or our own emotional stuntedness, but we just don't talk about her. Once in a while, one of us will pass a comment about her, but it's always in a general our mom was a little bit nuts, in a slightly annoying and charming way. And whenever it happens, we both smile for a brief time and kind of share a small laugh over it because, at her heart, this was very true.

She could also be a real ball-breaker, our mother. And I won't lie and say that I don't carry many scars. She could be warm, when she let herself and when we, because it's not all her fault, let her. She loved us fiercely and would go to great lengths to protect us. One of the things she said in the lead up to her death was that she was scared. She was scared and worried for my brother and I because she wouldn't be there to take care of us. When she said it, I put my arms around her and told her not worry about us. And while it didn't settle her mind completely, it was enough to calm her.

She loved us. But, at the same time, she was deeply unhappy with how her life had turned out. Even back before the cancer was just the barest thought of an abnormal cell in her blood, she was miserable. Pregnant at 16 and married to an abusive narcissist. Divorced at 23, with two young boys in tow and no skills to survive. Married again to a man she didn't love because her attorney told her to "get married yesterday" because her ex-husband was making noises about a custody battle. A single mother, who initiated the divorce, in that time was not a sympathetic figure. Working an endless stream of dead-end, soul-killing jobs. Failed relationship after failed relationship. Drunk mother. Dead father. All of that and then cancer gnawing away at your guts? Yeah, I'd be a downright cunt about the entire affair too.

So, I don't blame her for being miserable. She didn't have many options. The disparity between her life at 35 and my life at 35 gives me The Fear and the idea of a very similar bullet I am dodging every day leaves me awake at night. No blame and no grudge held, but the scars remain.

Every year, they grow a bit fainter. I look in the mirror in the morning and see her face more clearly every day.

Last night, my brother had himself a good laugh over the thick crop of white hairs I have been growing as of late. I haven't dyed my hair since January or so because I haven't had the money, so my grey has gone dandelion wild. Despite the fact that he is older than me by five years, I'm the one who got hit with the shitty end of the genetic stick. Both of my parents were completely grey by the age of 25. He only has half of the faulty genes I'm afflicted with and from all reports, his own father still has a full head of jet black hair.

Her birthday is coming up in two months. I should go to the ocean for a visit. Labor day weekend, perhaps.

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thejunipertree

January 2011

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