Sunday, May 07, 2006

Funerals bring thoughts

I am now keeping essentially two journals. It’s all in the same place on this laptop, just divided into two sections. One I will publish on the blog and the other that serves as a memory and documentation of my daily life. Part of that is not politically correct with some but I realized that in only writing what others will accept in my journal I defeat one of the purposes for keeping it. That is to use it as a key to unlock memories years from now. Perhaps I will publish the rest at a later date.

Now on to what I will put in the blog. Yesterday we went to the showing of Cherie’s aunt who died in Florida. This is a time when family members come from all around the country. It is a family reunion of sorts. “Oh my, is that you? The last time I saw you, you were this big” Cherie said holding her hand just above knee level as she addressed a kid who was 6’ 5” tall. There was a constant amazement on the part of all as they didn’t quite recognize someone they hadn’t seen in decades. Lots of “Oh my God” with hugs of amazement. Then they would catch up and also recount tales from the past. There was a laptop set up which had some two hundred plus pictures in it. It was cool as the pictures would change about every five seconds or so with it slowly zooming in or move on each picture. Groups would sit and watch, reliving the memories these pictures stirred up of Aunt Mackey. (The deceased) “Oh look. That’s a good picture. There’s (whoever was in the picture. They are all strangers to me). Remember when…”

As I watched I reflected on how this is something I will never really experience. There are few memories I have. Family reunions were never mentioned or thought of that I can remember. Do I have any cousins on my dad’s side of the family? I don’t have a clue. I am sure there must be one somewhere. The relations on my grandmothers side are there but I really don’t know many of them. I know I met several when I went to live with my grandmother but don’t really recall them. This is part of the loss from the brain damage but is mostly due to my not being around.

I have no childhood friends because of the constant moving I have experienced my entire life. At two years of age my mother sold me to my dad’s mother. At around five or six years old my father shows up with my stepmother and took my brother and I away.

The next ten years we lived in Dayton, Ohio, Spain, England, Florida, and San Antonio. I left home at fourteen and was sent to live with my grandmother, Minnie Lee (The one I inherited the farm from) At seventeen I joined the military service at the strong “encouragement” of a judge. (Do it or go to prison) At nineteen I went to prison. I came back to Minnie Lee’s for a year after my release and then went to Bible College in Dallas. It was there I met Cherie. I was married to Cherie six days before my 22nd birthday. We moved to Toledo about a year later. I have been in this area longer than I have been anywhere in my life with only a short jaunt to Colorado for a couple of years.

So I have no long term relationships. I am a stranger to my father, my sister, and to a lesser degree my brother. I talked of this with Cherie’s mom at the funeral home. She said “You were robbed of your childhood”. No argument there. I had a childhood but to say it was unsettled would be an understatement.

Despite our twenty year separation I have known Cherie longer than anyone else. We are only on our eighth year of living together counting the five years before the divorce and the three years since I woke from the coma but it seems like we were never apart. I suppose I would be stretching a bit here. I’ve known my father from the time he picked me up from my grandmother on his side but I left home eight years later. We barely talked since then. No wonder I was a wild child.

As I watched Cherie’s family join together for this funeral I was a little jealous. Going to Texas may give me a chance to meet family I don’t really know. There are a few I know on Minnie Lee’s side. My uncles, Troy and Delmer are two. Virginia is my second cousin and I know her better than anyone else in that side of the family because she was the one who took care of Minnie Lee and was executor of the estate. I also hope to renew (perhaps restore would be a better word) my relationship with my sister Robin and my father and step mom. My father is a long shot but I have never been daunted by the impossible.

We go to the funeral service today at noon. After there will be a dinner at some restaurant that holds memories for this family. Not sure what just overheard a comment about it. I didn’t really mix much yesterday, preferring the safety of solitude. It’s not that I hid I just stayed by Cherie’s side so she could introduce me. I am sure most were aware of me though there is no telling what they heard. Some of it would have been from the divorce twenty years ago. Everyone was real friendly and accepting. I detected no animosity at all. I reckon I am a little self conscious.
I took lots of pictures at the funeral home and had someone take one of Cherie and I. It came out pretty good I think.

I had a chance to sit and talk with Mom for maybe ten minutes. We covered a lot. I told her our dreams for the farm, how I was going to build it with getting old in mind. “I’ve watched many get old. I see the problems you and Ted have, I saw what my grandmother went through. I’m going to build this farm with that in mind. The house will be designed to work with us twenty years from now. We’re going to make it self sufficient so we can afford to live comfortably. It’s all going to be one level. Everything will be set because Cherie and I intend to grow old there together” I began.
I hope this reassures her that her daughter is in good hands and I hope she can relay that to dad. He had little to say and I would look up to find him just looking at me. Couldn’t decipher what was in his mind cause I don’t have the mind reading thing down yet but he didn’t look real cheerful. Of course it’s a funeral so that’s to be expected.

Time to post this. Be back with more, maybe. Knowing me I will get busy and forget.

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