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Friday, January 13, 2017

This is a forgotten post from January 7th, 2011 when my Mother's husband died ... we're posting now to keep in its entirety

Good morning. It’s me and there’s probably a good amount of writing coming up.

We’ve got the last 4-5 days to cover. The major portion is that we went up to northern Minnesota for my mother’s husband’s funeral. We will get to all that in time, but we’d like to do more of a chronological turn of events. I don’t know how much we’ll remember, but it seems there was a lot going on.

As to the very moment though, it is Friday about 7 A.M. This would be the normal time we would be going to work, but there seems to be no sense going in on a Friday. There’s so much for us to process through. We got back late enough and the trip was long so we asked Dr. Marvin to do an appointment over the phone.

There’s always those inherent problems so that we had to compromise with him and only met for a half hour. That wasn’t my first choice, but there’s no sense arguing because it would mean giving up time to just be getting through that which wasn’t going to happen – in that … when he says something like that it is already then a done deal.

Rich is still here, but I don’t think he’s getting anywhere very fast. He’s up like me and we’ve just been processing the morning. He got a couple of nice rub downs. Bless his heart … he sure is an absorbent love.

So … where do we begin. I think that you had heard last that we were making arrangements to be going up to MN. CS wanted a ride up and we had arranged to drop her off in Tomah, WI on the way home, but our cousin Marcia was up and CS determined that she was only a couple of hours from Rochester, MN her end point destination so after everything was done and over, she went back with Marcia and had seemed to arrange that her SIL would pick her up at our cousin’s house.

I had known CS wasn’t perfectly happy with our original plans, but we couldn’t stop in Rochester, because it would be a couple of hours out of our way and we had arrangements in that Dr. M’s appointment was at 4:30 P.M. on Thursday and Rich had a game at 5 P.M. As it turned out without having to worry about CS – we had left at 5:30 A.M. and got in about 2:30 P.M. Rich and I relaxed for a bit and he left about 3:30-4:00 P.M. I’m not sure what we did next. We’ll have to think about it. I know we didn’t turn on the TV. I think there was a little stealing of food when Rich left. We didn’t have dinner until he got home about 7 P.M. He brought back roast beef sandwiches AND fries. No he didn’t have any that guilty pleasure was mine. I think we were so tired; we weren’t processing our thoughts proper.

I think we were on the computer, but I don’t think I was out directly. I remember reading Linda’s post, but we had written such a long one on the way home that we had to save it in three separate Facebook notes. In general, we had summarized the trip for her. We had written all the way up to lunch, but we had a hard time seeing the keyboard to be posting. Rich saw our frustration and told us we could go under our coat, so that’s what we did, but it wasn’t a good situation to stay in. So we finished that project and posted, but didn’t go back to writing. There was only a couple hours left and I think we spent most of them just drifting and then talking to Rich.

I think we caught a small nap just before Duluth and during this last couple of hours. I somehow connected to Rich who thought he was getting tired and would need some conversation. There was a little delay in that his son had called about purchasing a truck, but other than that … we were just going on through our thoughts and his. I don’t think either was strong enough to put a lot into conversation. It seemed that what needed to be said was said. We had experienced so many things the same that we already knew vicariously the others’ experience and by this time had analyzed out loud what had to be said.

Maybe now going back to more of what was going on during the trip … it seemed to go fast enough as to the ride up there. We had left Monday morning at the scheduled 7 A.M and we got up to CS about 9:30 A.M. I think we had stopped for gas. Going out of town we’d picked up some coffee and a fritter from Dunkin Donuts and somewhere in there I think we picked up a sausage and biscuit. That was kind of funny in that Rich had to use the facility and we didn’t so we got the fresh coffees and we snuck in the sausage biscuit. We thought we might be done before Rich came out and “caught us.” But, he’d stopped by the front too and had also purchased sausage biscuit one for him and one for us.

Damn that was like two sneaky people, but he had thought of us where we’d only though of ourselves. I think I got 1/3 of the second biscuit and things turned out ok, but it was funny in that Rich and us rarely go for this kind of thing and when we both had we ordered the same menu item as the other. I guess we were thinking in the same direction.

When we got to CS, it was my turn to use the washroom. CS was all packed and ready to go so Rich loaded the car for her and after she fed the dogs some kind of peanut butter treat, we were on our way.

I think the original conversations were fairly light. CS was in the back and was very pleasantly surprised by how much room was in the back of Rich’s SUV. Rich had done a very good job of cleaning it out and there was plenty of room. It should go down in the record that Rich’s extra stuff ended up in my car, but there are promises that as soon as he finished unloading totally his car that we will take his stuff back.

We are going to be meeting with the three boys for dinner at 5 P.M. and Rich won’t be able to go because he has a 5 and a 6:30 P.M. games tonight, so we’ll have to figure out by then if we can get everything up and then out of my car before he leaves. I think he may go in to St. Rose later on … he was talking about a meeting and I know he was mentioning the Administration meeting, but there is no way I could go through all that. We just have too much on our mind to be processing all of that, especially with the boys tonight.

I think back to the car traveling north, CS had done very well in not over-talking. I think some of that time she was sleeping and other times she was texting. Maybe she read a little, I know she had the book in the car, but I don’t think that’s what she was doing.

The longest most in-depth part of the conversation was her talking over her new plans. Apparently, she is going to be spending at least a month up in Rochester, MN in her late MIL’s house. She said that it was arranged that she has her MIL’s bedroom and that her SIL and husband would take small rooms – their old bedrooms.

She had said that Nancy suggested she do her sewing down in the basement, but that CS had convinced her she needed the extra room upstairs and would do her sewing from her bedroom.
I couldn’t really tell you why CS has decided that she wants to live in her MIL’s home with her SIL. Personally, I think that CS has a hard time thinking that anyone but her could get “stuff” that she hadn’t gone through first. She apparently had made arrangements that her DIL would bring the two dogs on Saturday and that Mark would come when he could, but apparently there was going to be money released within the next couple of days and she’d be using that money to survive.

Nancy is supposed to be getting about $190,000 and there was about $45,000 for them to split, but CS has arranged it so that she and Mark get that part of the money.

There’s some coins involved too and CS said that they will probably be appraised and sold. Both my uncle and Linda’s husband can do that sort of thing and I think Nancy is also going to have it appraised and they will decide what to do with that next.

I asked CS about Nathan being left back toward West Bend, but at the time CS thought that Nathan and her DIL could live in her house and pay $900 or half the mortgage and that they would pay the balance. I think CS liked that idea because she could have a house to go back to if need be. I think part of her motivation for living in the Rochester house was that it was all paid for with the exception of taxes. Most likely the West Bend house wouldn’t bring as much as it was worth if sold, and CS really has a good deal on it in that they’d come down in price through the Obama plan so they really do have a nice place for a very reasonable cost.

I’ve heard since then that the kids aren’t interested in moving, so that will have to be reevaluated through CS. Not sure where she’s going with that.

I don’t think I really saw it coming that CS would want to move to Rochester full time. Eventually down the line she’s got it arranged so that Mark will go back to school to study phlebotomy and that he’d get a job due to the city’s Mayo Clinic system. She said that Nancy should get a job too, and then CS will stay at home.

She’s still napping to get through the day.

CS has it arranged so that Nancy will be putting money into the house, but that she shouldn’t get any more out of it when it sells one day because of the structure CS has added. CS said that Mark and Nancy understand that she get 1/3 of the house, though it made more sense that the house is still evenly split between Mark and Nancy and she should only get half of what is Mark’s. She made sure to say that as soon as the money is in their bank account it becomes 50-50.

I don’t really know where Mark and Nancy are really at because it’s going through CS interpretation. She’s still talking about Nancy having promised her half the money out of the bigger account, but my thought there is that Nancy would have to be crazy to do it. I’m not even sure what she thought about having to share the house. I think in her idealism she wanted it just for herself, but then maybe there really is some loving feelings about sister and brother being together and them supporting each other as family.

We dealt with CS competiveness in several ways. We were very blatant in telling her as she went along the problem we were having with her. She didn’t seem to care as long as she continued getting what was best.

I tried to keep things even going up in the car. She did pay $10 once, but otherwise she was getting free meals and lodging and water supply. I’m not sure how Marcia and she split things if they did split things. Part of it was that there wasn’t a lot of meals out. Meals were generally eaten over at my mother’s and there was breakfast served at the hotel. So in that respect I was getting free meals and lodging too. My mother paid for the two rooms for three days. Marcia came on Wednesday and then shared the CS room. That was actually nice for both of them in that they had the company of each other. I got a picture yesterday through Facebook of Marcia and CS having matching sweatshirts from the hotel. I guess she must have found some money.

Certain other processes were being arranged by CS. She stated that Mark wanted her to have the brand new car and that he would get the car – over ten years old from the mother, or that they had thought she should get the bigger room, or that they thought she should get the 1/3rd. It’s really hard to tell who’s really thinking what through CS’ vision.

But, that’s that of that. I think we were talking about the competitiveness and we joked later about CS walking from her hotel room to ours and stating that we had the better chair because hers didn’t have wheels. Rich stepped in and CS didn’t end up with the chair with wheels, but we’re thinking that’s what she would normally get from us, because we don’t want to buy into her thing. We can see it going on and at one point said, CS … just take whatever you want, because you know you aren’t going to be satisfied until you get the best. I said that out loud with others present, because I wanted people to know that I was disgruntled by this system.

When CS got to my mother’s she walked through pushing into each room evaluating the status of things. She wanted to know what was new from the last time she’d seen it, but I felt like she was a realtor doing a home appraisal. The second day we went back, CS decided that she didn’t like my mother’s dusting so she went from room to room with a duster looking at all the items. We called her on it and she jokingly said she was taking inventory, but in reality it was no joke. It is what she was doing. No one seemed able to stop her.

We would try to carry on the conversation, but she would break in to ask about one item or another. It was very rude and in poor taste. But, then again … I feel I’m being rude and in poor taste for thinking these kinds of thoughts, but in another manner I don’t know what to do otherwise with them because they are the thoughts we’re having about the situation. We told my mother that CS was being very competitive and to just give her all the crystal because she wouldn’t be satisfied until she had it all. My mother said something about our crystal, and we corrected her. CS already had it all. She’s got mine and hers.

I said while we are on the subject though, it was another situation in that Mom had given me Grandma’s dishes and CS Alice’s dishes and how unhappy CS was still about that and that it was causing a riff, because I’d wanted Grandma’s dishes and didn’t want to trade which was unfair CS thought to herself, because as she explained again that Alice’s dishes were modernistic even though bought a long time ago from Japan and that that wasn’t her style. It was terrible even in presenting the subject that she’d be so unsatisfied with the results of what had been given her.

My mother along the way brought up the subject of old fabric that Granma had and she’d gotten when Grandma died. My ears perked up right away, because if there was anything of my grandma’s that I might want it would be her fabric. I’m that enmeshed with the ideals of quilting. But, I knew what was going to happen. I said to CS … that she always came first so if she wanted to lay claims to go ahead and take it. CS complained that she had so much fabric already that she didn’t have any more room for it and she was already trying to get rid of it.

We let it lay, and then later when CS was attuned to the Crystal again, we told Mom to give it all to her and that we had problems with dusting like her and that we didn’t do dishes or we didn’t have space for collectibles. I said give it all to CS and we will take the old fabric. But, then CS picked up that we wanted the fabric and said well maybe she should take a look at it and she might want a few pieces. I said this competition has to stop and that she was so carried away. I said if you want the fabric too, then take it, but if she didn’t want it I would be taking it sight unseen, because I wasn’t going to quibble over piece after piece.

Arrangements were made the last day to get the boxes to the car. One box was opened that had four quilted pieces from our great grandmother. CS was assessing in her normal speedy pattern. Mom said that we could split the quilts. CS obviously went first and took the nicest one. She had to evaluate if she wanted more, but she was satisfied because the others were much more plain and geometric.

Hers had brightly colored petals. It was like fine. There was no surprise here, but then CS was saying which do you want. No CS we want whatever you don’t want, because I know you are not happy until you get the best. So she took hers.

Then we told Mom that we should make sure Marcia got to choose too. Marcia had been with us this last date and she didn’t quilt, so we told her we’d quilt hers for her, but then CS stated she would take whichever Marcia wanted and quilt it for her. I don’t know how all that goes, but we let it go. We showed Marcia the last three quilts and let her choose. We then took the two that were left. I will be fine with that, because no matter what they were my great grandmothers.

There Rich just left and he brought up three more boxes. I’m so looking forward to going through them. I’m not sure if the fabric is going to be paper thin because it’s so old, thing is that it has got meaning because it belonged to my grandma or great-grandma and it is about quilting which is one of my favorite subjects on Earth. *sigh*

Ok, back again. We talked to CS for a couple minutes … she’s at her SIL’s and they are waiting on getting a hold of people to see if they could get in the MIL place.

CS said something about dog proofing the yard and that Nancy’s was small and she was afraid of her dogs wrecking the place. That’s about it.

We tried to get a hold of my mother too, but we went over to the answering machine. CS wanted to know if we’d gotten a hold of her. That made me feel like we were going to be in competition there too. That’s the kind of stuff that pulls me back. I think we are going to arrange it so with my mother we don’t talk about CS, because I don’t always want to know where CS is going. And, I don’t want to set it up as a three-way circus. CS did something I didn’t expect … right before leaving my mother’s she went into tears about leaving her. I couldn’t do that as to hearing what she was saying. It was a very uncomfortable feeling. I don’t know what was behind all that. She’d never missed my mother before, but now she was.

Just hard.

There was something about Nancy too getting in a small car accident after getting to Marcia’s town – maybe just a couple blocks away. CS said something about cleaning the dust off the other person’s car so there was no report made, but I’m in a suspicious mode so that’s not so good either.

Maybe more back into how we were doing and processing things – although CS seemed to be a lot of our processing. During the wake, she stayed in the back part greeting people as they came in. I don’t think I could have done that if I wanted to. There was the part about it being hard to stand, but then too I wanted to be meeting people my mother wanted to introduce us too, and not the people that weren’t interested – such as the many people coming in from John’s hunting group through his two sons. I guess we’re back to CS thoughts and haven’t gotten it put in order. I went past her a couple of times for bathroom and such, but she was quickly telling people about her version of Mom and John and I didn’t like what I was hearing.

I apologized to CS Thursday morning before we left. I told her that I don’t mean to be always on her case, but that she was doing certain things that needed comment. I think CS doesn’t always figure out where everyone else is. She has such a high need to control the conversation and events that she sometimes might think she’s manipulating, but I think more people read her than not. And, it’s not always positive.

Maybe back now REALLY to other things. We got into town and settled so that we were going from hotel to my mother’s the first night at about 7 P.M. Most the ride was uneventful. The hotel was nice and the room was fine and had all the things you would expect in a normal hotel room. It was perhaps a little larger sized so there was room between the bed and dresser (TV/Desk). There was only room for one computer so Rich took that space because he was working on business during the free times. We set up our station on the bed propped up by pillows. It worked.

Everything in the town was within a couple of miles. There is like 903 people that live in town and the next one over – big one at least was Grand Rapids. Other than that, they were about 90 miles NW of Duluth and I can’t remember what the big town to their west was. It was a very quaint feeling and everyone knew everyone. Their newspaper only came out on Thursdays so the event was missed there, but it was published in MPLS and by word of mouth.

The house left a good impression. I never looked into any of the three bedrooms, but the main living, dining rooms and kitchen were open, and you know what we think of that. It’s our favorite arrangement. When we came into the open hallway, my mother and her friend Margaret were sitting in their chairs by the window. My mother had an assortment of things around her and the other ladies’ chair was as close as it could get and directly faced my mother so that her right shoulder faced the couches where we are to understand where John normally sits. Alongside the back of the couch he had many of his baseball hats arranged, which was part of his signature style.

I didn’t look to see the bedrooms, but CS investigated all that before she sat down. I didn’t like the idea of going through a person’s space unless specifically invited.

Hmm, we just talked to my mother who called back from my message. We just listened to her talk about the things going on today and in general since the time we left and what would be coming up next. CS was mentioned in passing on one conversation, but she wasn’t the subject being discussed. So, I felt comfortable there. We’re back to the old routine and one that was confirmed many times when up there in that my mother doesn’t generally think to ask the other person how they are doing or what they are up to, like it didn’t occur to her to ask about our trip home.

I think that’s where CS came up … we mentioned that she’d gotten a ride from Marcia and we thanked her for paying for the rooms. She started to suggest that she could pay for gas too and we told her no, that it was already taken care of and we would normally just do that as the situation unfolded. CS took pictures of Marcia and her with their new sweatshirts, but I’m thinking we might have mentioned that already.

In general my mother has things to be getting accomplished Margaret is still there with her and my mother stated that she would be on the computer writing out cards.

She said that people had donated like $800 and she’d already said that would be split between the church’ missionary projects and the food pantry my mother volunteers at. She did say that someone else had donated like $93,000 after having passed away. It’s hard to say what would happen with my mother, but I’m thinking that it’s been arranged whichever way and that’s likely very much further down the road.

The first night at my mother’s was a little hard in that CS was wound up and she was completing all my mother’s conversations so we shifted out to younger parts.

Toward the end Rich figured out that we needed our medicine. Part of that might have been because we had trouble looking up from a space at the table. When we were leaving we knew we were going to have to give our mother a hug, but she pulled a surprised Casey into something too difficult and loud sounding in her ear. Casey pulled back angrily and said something about her not having to blast our ear.

Yeeks! I think that after that we just went to the door and then out the door as soon as we saw Rich coming. We figured we were going to be in trouble, but I’m thinking people know us enough by now to know that we aren’t always who we would like to be.

The next day at the funeral home and we were in the same situation of leaving … a very stubborn Casey turned to our mother and seriously asked, “You are not going to blast my ear again, right?” My mother laughed and said no, so it went much better after that. The neighbors and friends had been coming by and dropping off things to eat and one of them was a meat and cheese tray so that and crackers was the gist of dinner, which seemed fine. A couple of cookies were eaten in the process.

There were a lot of cookies and she had coffee out so we had that. After the first night Rich got diet pop and water so the group of us would feel comfortable drinking. There had been none in the house.

I think we went straight to bed that first night … even though Rich was thinking we might want to stay up with him a LITTLE. No such thing.

We got up the second morning – Tuesday the day of the wake pretty much on schedule. It was about 6 A.M. We made ourselves coffee and started to type on the computer. I think Rich woke up about 8 A.M. We didn’t find out til later, but CS went out to eat up front at about 7 A.M. and we ate after Rich got up and about. I think he worked on the computer a bit, but pretty much we went over to my mother’s.

Margaret is another story we’ll talk about in a bit, but for now we’ll just say that she was there and the Pastor was there when we got there. Margaret has been staying over for the duration of we’ll have to see down the line. Our interest was in meeting the Pastor. She seemed like a real nice lady. We knew she’d been there for about 3 years and she talked about a lot of things that have been accomplished in part with the help of my mother and John. There is a small community group who has been taking care of the church to see that it’s made progress. There is about 70 people in the church and it sits about 70 people. It’s too small to have a pastor’s office so she is doing that work from her home, but the church people finally got two official bathrooms and an elevator. Good for them.

I think the Pastor had been asking questions as to things about John she could include in her service for the following day. AND, one of the things she’d asked about was John’s shirts. Apparently most of the shirts he had, he’d gotten an embroidered picture of their dog Sammy. He was a well trained hunting dog and loved by them both. Matter of fact when the dog died they had him cremated and John was going to be cremated so my mother asked and it was accepted that the ash’s from one get added to the other so they could be buried together. I understand a lot of dog people are like this.

One of the things the pastor did in looking at the shirt was to draw a picture of the dog on her notebook. Then for the church bulletins for the funeral, she had placed a picture of the hunting lodge he and his buddies loved, along with a picture of the dog standing guard. It was really well done.

I think we had chili too the night before and then for lunch after the minister left, we had potato soup and corn bread, plus leftovers from the night before. We went on to talking, but left so that people could catch up on their business before the wake that was going to happen from 4-8 P.M.

Rich did business and we wrote a note to Linda and caught up with our emails and such. About 3:45 P.M. we met with my sister and went to the wake. John’s sons were getting in about the same time. It seemed we’d all been up front, but the general layout was that Rich and I were sitting on the front pew to the right Mom and Margaret were toward the casket, David and Steve John’s sons were toward the back left, and CS was greeting people as they came through the door.

A lot of time … most of the time was spent in greeting and talking to people especially those waiting to see my mother or those who were finished – usually due to someone new coming in. It seemed to be a good arrangement. Rich sat in back of us and gave us support, and we worked on being comfortable meeting strangers.

Everyone seemed to have a story to tell about John, but the gist of it was they seemed very accepted by the community and were known to be generous people.

About an hour short of it ending, CS came up front and announced she was tired and wanted to go. I wasn’t happy with that at all … in my book, we’d signed on to be there until 8 P.M. and I didn’t want to be pushed to be leaving early. CS won out. My mother supported CS by saying that they could handle it and that we should get something to eat. With something to eat in mind CS then really wanted to go.

I was frustrated, but chilled to a certain degree enough to be sociable.

We went out to the diner that was recommended which was a small restaurant and like everything else very close. The people that were there and us got known to each other as being people who all were related to John in one way or another, and then we went on from there. CS didn’t like the food she ate, but then told the waitress it was fine, but she left it there. She had told us that it wasn’t anything she expected. I didn’t know what to do with that. We had had steak and shrimp (only $12). The shrimp were fine though small as was the steak, but we couldn’t eat it all and gave some of it to Rich. We weren’t able to finish the extra stuff that came with it like potatoes, beans, roll and cole slaw.

I think the favorite part was hearing the waitress talk about serving John and my Mother. She said it took a while to get used to John, but most in the town had and that they were going to miss him.

After we again went back to the hotel and fell asleep quite quickly. I think there were stops during some of the time for gas or water.

The next day I don’t remember what time we woke up because now the days are merging in on each other, but CS had eaten, but then went to breakfast again with us. The first time we’d talked to David who introduced himself to Rich and us and we had a nice conversation. This next time the room filled up with hunting guys and Steve and David entertained. We sat to a table to the rear of the room and basically just had breakfast and talked.

We were back to Rich and me on the computers until we had to leave at about 9:45 A.M. We’d each showered and dressed somewhere in there and we met my mother and all at the church. My mother’s church was to small so the services were at another church very close to theirs. It was a nice open layout with a nice receiving hall and then the church was to the left and an eating social area to the right. There were other offices and bathrooms off the entry area and I don’t know if it had a second floor below, but it was a nice comfortable church though not huge. It was smaller than the church I had grown up in. People seemed to fit in just fine both during the service and in back.

My mother was toward the front of the church greeting people for the next hour as they came in and paid their last respects to John who was pretty much right in back of us between the two rooms. I’d nearly missed him when we first came in. People would stop and then after my mother came over they would talk more to us too. The people we were meeting seemed very nice and Mom and John seemed real well known. I asked for an early coffee and got it from one of the women from Mom’s church and felt very well taken care of. At one point the minister came over to see how we were doing. We started to say things seemed fine, but then it occurred to us, this was the time and who we should be bringing one of our major concerns to.

Basically, here we are talking about Margaret. She’s about ten years older than my mom and my mom is about 70. I had known there was some older woman who my mom said she and John looked after, but this woman pretty much installed herself by Mom’s side and became very irritating. She was there at all times of being with my mom and when we got up to go closer to her, Margaret would place herself between my mother and us or CS and act as an angry bulldog. This was apparent at the funeral too as we complained to the Pastor. We told her that we hadn’t been as close to my mother as we should be, but now that we had a chance, Margaret was seeing that we shouldn’t be.

We told her that it was nice that my mother had a close friend, but my mother needed some alone time too. The first night she stayed by herself and said that she preferred it that way because she had many calls to make. We found out when Margaret found out the second day, she packed her bags an planted herself next to my mother. There were certain times when she would go over and hold my mother which were like my mother’s cues to be crying. I didn’t feel that this was done sincerely. I felt like it was staged like when it came to the funeral the lady wrapped her arms around my mother and closed her off from the experience. That was happening throughout. If someone came over to give my mother a hug from the back, Margaret would slip in her arm and act as a shield from the other to her.

From what we could see she worked her way with almost everyone. This is what we were bringing to the minister’s attention. It was our understanding that Margaret was a member of her flock as well. We told her that we felt Margaret was lining herself up to live with my mother, and that it was very invasive that when we called the intercom was on the phone and we’d be talking to everyone including Margaret so that our conversations were being filtered out through her because they could then converse as to what was said. I know that had been happening with John, but we had been relieved that part was over, and now it was here starting all over again.

I could see this lady took over the void that my mother felt toward her mother.

She seemed sharp and able to be humorous which was nice, but she was no doubt a very strong boundary. There was one incident at the wake, when I’d seen my mother by herself crying which Margaret didn’t usually allow. I quickened my step toward her and then I was abruptly waved off by Margaret who then gave the appearance of orchestrating the situation. She must have told my mother to go up by herself to say her goodbye’s. I was shocked by the situation and could see this image forming a hold over my brain. I didn’t like as family to be put off by this woman, at that point, she made no friends.

We respected the hold she had over my mother so allowed space for her to sit next to my mother at the funeral and at the church table afterward, but we weren’t happy about the situation at all. We felt she was being taken advantage of and was being manipulated and in so processing we felt like the situation was being abused and we felt manipulated.

All this we told to the pastor though it took less time. The pastor at first seemed a little startled, but then seemed to understand more our point. I said that my mother was a strong independent woman, but Margaret was making her dependent. I told her we wanted to pay more attention to our mother, but at this level it would never happen. My relating to her would all be filtered though Margaret.

Later when we were with CS talking to Marcia after the service, CS brought up that the minister had come to check out with her the same information and from what we could gather, Margaret had the same impression on her – rather being a very invasive woman. The part that was noticeable was that after we’d sat down at the table, we ate and talked and that is another whole situation, but after when people started coming over to saying their goodbyes with my mother she started to make her way around the tables where people remained sitting. AND, it was being done without Margaret.

Margaret in the meanwhile was looking like a little girl taken away from her puppy. She looked miserable and complained about needing to give my mother some space. My mother was telling everyone what a blessing Margaret had been and that she told her that she could stay until they ran out of food. My impression was that Margaret although having her own apartment was arranging to stay. I thought more that she was preying on someone who looked vulnerable.

When my mother returned the call and was asked, she stated oh yes, Margaret is sitting right here. I knew that meant the intercom was one and that everything I said would go through Margaret … we’ll give it some space too, but there will be a pretty unhappy Ann if Margaret moves in for good. I think it’s great my mom could have a friend and maybe they are counter-maneuvering each other, but if we are going to have a relationship with my mom as I would like to try, then there has to be some privacy. At that we sigh … I’m not sure if anyone who gets to know us gets ultimate privacy because we write. BUT, for the record I’m not wanting to discuss all that at the moment. There are still a few things we want to get recorded. We still want to get out to the bank and post office and get to the sewing projects.

I also know we have school work to do, but that sits for now on the sideline.

Maybe before the end of the day we can look at it, and then of course we’ve got the meeting with the boys at 5 P.M.

One of the other surprises that happened was in meeting up again with Scott and his wife Deb. I can’t say I enjoyed that, but it seemed to be good for my mother that all of us including Scott were there. He stopped just at the funeral and then went on his way. He seemed to be having as much fun with the arrangement as we were.

His wife was obviously the one who had orchestrated it and she pushed through where Scott wanted to withdraw.

At one point before there was any group conversation, it had just been CS or Marcia talking to Scott and Deb. They were seated next to each other. Rich was seated next to Marcia and they had a chance to talk. I was seated next to mom. I told her at one point, I didn’t remember why I was so mad at him, but didn’t have any compulsion to talk to him. I told her I didn’t know what to say to him. She thought for a second and then recommended that we ask about Meredith his only child. So, we started with Deb who was much easier to talk to … we said that we had understood she had a son or two in the services. She said army and then talked about that situation for a few moments. And then we asked, weren’t there three sons, and she said yes and proceeded to talk about him.

After that we said directly to Scott, and how is Meredith doing. He looked very confused, bothered and sort of hurt. He told us in a long-drawn out moment that Meredith and him didn’t talk. I think they were mad at each other, but it seemed he’d rather have her back in communication then be mad at her. By then I felt like I ought to back-pedal and I allowed the conversation to deteriorate without me.

Maybe it went well for him and CS, but I had enough and if you know me well enough, you could appreciate that I was feeling put off that no one including my mother, brother, or sister had asked about my kids. It’s pretty insulting.

When it was time for me to go … I’d felt I had enough and someone had come up to me to ask who was responsible for getting food back to the house. I said I didn’t know, but could make myself that person. So with Rich’s help a few bags went out to the car. Scott continued to talk through me standing there, so we finally interrupted and said we would be leaving. He gave me the lamest excuse of a hug – barely touching and very quick. UGH! I could see Deb trying to push that this family chasm was on Scott obviously to correct, and all I could think of in a stammering way was that I couldn’t figure out at this point what there was to do with it. I asked if he was ever in Chicago and he said no, perhaps 11 years previous, and then he said we should come up north. I don’t know the exact words, but it was pretty much yeah, if that ever happens. No way would I meet him in his home turf. I think the situation as it lies is that he wants to be in control of everything and probably feels disrespected in that we don’t hold high esteem in his ministry, nor him as head of a family as might be fit the oldest male. I have no respect for him entirely because I think he thinks for himself, only himself and himself in general. I feel that he tries to make people in particularly me as less than a person of any strength or forbearance. I think he is very condescending to women in general. I saw him put me down in front of my husband, my boyfriend and my boys. And, I’ve not appreciated his presence in my life to the least. He can rot in Hell.

Ok, these are pretty strong words, and they are probably off-base because I don’t know where they are coming from. I’m thinking this is going to be a conversation for later and that there was plenty to talk about to Dr. Marvin. He will not be there however next week, so we’re going to need keeping a lid on it for now. I don’t know where all the anger is coming from … I just know that it is strong and it feels stronger for having just recently seen him again. He’s a total failure to me as a person. Ok, ok you … quit, stop. That’s enough. Let’s move on please?

Ok, as to Dr. Marvin, we weren’t so happy with him either, but he did return our call and let us meet him for a compromised half an hour. He didn’t say much, nor did we give him much chance to talk. We were blurting out markers for all the kinds of things we’ve been talking about today. Basically, we knew it was a pretty strong thing we’d done in meeting up with this week and all in it, but that it was going to take us months to figure it all out afterward. I seem to be coming in a little lighter on my mother, but harder on my sister and in particular my brother.

There is some sense that we were resilient, but that there is so much anger out there in the behavior of my sister or presence of my brother, those things will need yet to be better understood.

I talked to Linda about it, but there are some uncomfortable feelings in that if these are family like traits what I’m reading in these others, what would that say about me? I’m most likely just as hard a “personality” to know as is these others.

I never told Scott what I was most proud of as to the boys or the book. He did talk a few moments football with Rich as is the guy thing to be doing. I felt all along. I’m just not interested. I still feel the same.

Yeeks. I certainly couldn’t leave the week-long set of events like this?

No. There is one or two subjects we haven’t talked about yet. The first one is that we had conversations with two important people. We talked to my cousins Steve and Marcia. I think they have both been down hard roads, and that both are people I would like to get to know. There was more hope with Marcia connecting on-line, but I’m afraid Steve hates to read and write. I’m not so sure of how easy it would be to converse with him as a friend over the phone. I would like not to intrude with his life, and I want to be a part of it, but I don’t want to take on a role where it would be known to the others. That is one of the things Steve commented on as well. He stated very clearly and I heard to my sister as well that what people say to him stays with him and that he didn’t talk about the others with the others. There is still a lot of anger we feel toward his family, and he’s such a strong part of his base family that we don’t know if we could be a part without blending into it. Steve gives good reassurance, but we feel that with both of them, we’d like them to get to know us at least through the book to see if they could handle that much of us. But, again Steve does not like to read, though Marcia does. Half good and half not so good.

I don’t want to make it a requirement that Steve read to be in a relationship to me. From his part of the conversation, he felt very unsure with me in us having made some kind of statement that he should be in the middle of communicating between al the cousins. He thought that was way in excess of anything he was interested in. I don’t recall his words in explaining this … I don’t think there were a lot of words, but I definitely felt I’d created more problem than not. It was four years ago and I’d felt inundated with family all over the place and it was all coming at me too hard. I probably thought that Steve could be a buffer, but that’s really not an accepted role And even though I couldn’t pinpoint what I was doing back then now, I understand that it was me who had made a relationship mistake. I think I really scared him from me. And for that I apologized. We told him we’d give him no family pressures if we were to be relating.

I mean that as far as I can. I don’t think we’d have an easy time of it though.

Our common denominator is the family. One of the things too that we’d told him as to our problems was one the relationship to Deb in that she declared it would be a waste in getting to know us. I felt that was a feeling reciprocated amongst that side of the family. We felt angry toward it. I also said that it was hard to be relating because the ground rules were so different in that he led such a huge life. And, then he said oh something like and he went on to explore out loud a very big trip where he and his wife had gone cross-country, met people, did things, and had exuberant fun like white water rafting. While with him I could nod as he told the story, but then afterward I maintained feelings of being very small and unimportant. This was something that was common of our feelings being part of this family.

I think that Steve has worked very hard to be his best self and that he and his wife had many opportunities – though have worked for it. We feel ourselves to be a straggler in the efforts. I don’t have so many big broad stories to tell and it feels compromised to just be hearing about them one-sided. It is not Steve’s fault he’s been successful and takes risks in getting out there in the world. But, there are major differences within the family of having had his parents over ours. I’m not sure I’m a big enough person to stand up for myself in my own regard. I told him that over the last several years, I’ve been working very hard to get to know CS and my mother. I would like to get to know him too, I just don’t need to be blown away. BUT, in the process we do have to stand up on our own two feet. I think this is going to be a process, and I don’t know Steve’s tolerance for it. I think there are natural jealousies in that I feel he’s way further ahead in the game of life. But, then this wouldn’t be the person who just wrote a book. I need to stand tall in my own right. Then we’ll see if something family like can be done.

I would like getting to know the “regular Steve.”

Getting to know Marcia is another thing, but maybe perhaps real similar in that I don’t want to get to know one over the other. Maybe that has to do with our multiplicity. We had a really good time with Marcia with CS, on our own and with her being at family events. I think she’s had a hard life and it continues, but I admire her strength and perseverance. I think she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met from the inside out. We talked a bit about her family and they seem pretty cool. They are a bit younger than my boys, but she has three boys too. They each have their own difficulties in age, but it wouldn’t be them we’d be relating too. We would want to get to know Marcia and to stand up next to her within life. I admire her a lot. Plus, there is the advantage that she’s a lot easier to get to know.

Here we would have to work on not getting overwhelmed in our projects that we aren’t communicating. Some part is related again then to CS. I would like to put out a joint front, but sometimes we aggravate each other. We talked to Marcia about this when together with CS. I think the major part was that we’d stand up for each other. Just parts we don’t understand. We don’t understand the materialism of CS and the competition, but then maybe it’s because those things are so close to us, that we just can’t see past the argument as a whole. I don’t know if in the same circumstance I wouldn’t want to have “wealths” from an in-law, pretty much though I couldn’t see us as throwing all caution to the wind as to getting there.

I think here we should mention that we held Dr. Marvin’s position of both CS and Mom being Narcissists. Just in saying that we cringe because we have to consider are we not just the same, aren’t we after making ourselves a happy life as well?

Don’t most people do things to succeed on their own? I don’t know … We’ll have to talk to Dr. Marvin more as to the distinctions made from one to all. I do know that because we were holding this space in our mind that we were much more conscientious in my mother and sister both trying to hold court. Dr. Marvin suggested a thought toward the end and we were skirmishing from it as fast as our boat could paddle. Basically, he said something about what this must have been like to grow up in this kinds of environment.

It sure as hell spooks the bejeebers out of me. But, saying that out loud, I know that we didn’t or haven’t or might not want to touch that sentiment very closely.

In this regard I’m glad not to have had a whole session in the office or one next week. We feel more fearful of it than not. All those angry feelings we’ve just had settle down into just one space where all feels threatening. I don’t want to make ourselves into a victim to survive this period. I’m thinking I must have contributed my own sense of insanity into the family. Just of each of the original five I know I’ve done the most work in backing away from the family and working through the feelings of being crazy. It doesn’t however take much to allow those feelings to come back in.

How for example would it have been to be with the angry Scott, the manipulative CS or the self-serving mother, not to mention whatever the hell my father as the leading member of the family did. What was our role. I know I was rebellious and I know I was a bit of an escapist, but I don’t know how we affected these other people. With my mother I have a sense of wanting to hold on to myself without losing self through her winding self-conversations, through CS we act out the angry older sister trying to teach her how to behave properly with little affect, because she pretty much is on her own and is dismissing others as fast as they creep up.

Scott we just know him as mean and angry. We know he thinks like the rest of us that we are all on the top of our own game and most likely are feeling more important than the others. The workings of these relationships are pretty dang confusing. We are certainly going to need the help of Dr. Marvin to further our more positive space.

I don’t know how important we are to the others. If CS is going to use Marcia as a confident then it will be harder for Marcia because she will feel in the middle, but I don’t know if it would be any different for Steve or Linda. Some point we always seem to get to a ledge with saying don’t you see how crazy these others are? And, in saying that I have to say I’m probably the craziest of all. Ok, stop you is this more of that negative influence … It would seem easy to say we stepped further out of line in that we are a multiple. There’s probably nothing sane about that in the least. But, then weren’t we the ones’ explaining out loud how normal the phenomena is for someone growing out of this circumstance? Who knows.

I’m thinking though that this might be a good time to break. We’re thinking that we should take our shower, it is now about 12:15 P.M. I will be meeting the boys at 5 P.M. so it means I should leave at 4 P.M., plus stop for those errands of bank and post office, so we may want to leave about 3 – 3:30 P.M. I would rather get somewhere earlier than later. I should probably also check my mail down stairs. I would really like to find out that we’ve gotten the sheet music in and we could mess around a bit on the piano. I don’t remember where we had them shipped. I suppose we could figure that out?

Hmm, maybe not … it says estimated date of arrival is tomorrow. It says that it left New Berlin, WI yesterday about 3:45 P.M. and it doesn’t say where it’s been the last 24 hours, so maybe it is somewhere in route. I think if it got to Chicago or Brookfield, there would have been a notation. Maybe I won’t be concerned so much with that. So if that part was nothing to be concerned with, maybe we could spend this next 2 ½ hours getting ready, but also going through a few things of my grandmother’s. I’m looking forward to peeking into the boxes. I think we’ll take our camera out and see if it has some battery life as to taking pictures. It is just soooo cool. Maybe we’ll then check the camera before getting into the shower in case it needs to be plugged in. Sounds like a plan? WooHOO!!! Carry through!

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