There’s dysfunctional and then there’s my family.

On Friday, my grandfather died. I found out when my brother emailed me. An email that included the line, “I’m sure Daddy called you, too.” My brother is a bit naďve when it comes to the outright favoritism, but I don’t blame him. He has no way of knowing, really.

On Friday, I was a little insulted, but that dissolved pretty quickly. That’s a very mild insult, anyway. I mean, that’s something that a normal person could conceivably do to a child.

My grandfather had dementia and he committed suicide. When I did eventually talk to my dad on Sunday, he emphasized the suicide but neglected to mention the dementia. I only know about it because of talking with my brother beforehand. My dad loves to emphasize the worst in everything. It makes conversation with him exceptionally unpleasant.

I am willing to forgive and forget the past. My childhood was really messed up, but I’ve mostly worked through it. Today, I’d love to be able to ease the suffering of either parent, but I find that it’s nearly impossible.

When my dad called on Sunday, he was hanging out with my mom. I’m not sure why an alcoholic would want to hang out with a schizophrenic; it sort of sounds like the beginning of a joke. Especially a raving maniac he was married to for twenty years and divorced ten years ago. She’s probably the reason he’s an alcoholic. I figure the guy is either delusional or has a really bad memory.

After I spoke to them both, he commented to me that he thinks her medication makes her less creative. My out loud response, “Um, yeah… I suppose it does.”

In my head, it was more like, “The woman tried to burn us to death in our beds, and you’re worried about her creativity?! Be glad she’s not coming at you with a butcher knife!”

(Alright, I admit, she never came at me with a butcher knife, she used the electric bread knife, which is also pretty funny.)

Anyway, because of the suicide (and so far, it looks like about 50% of the people in my family die this way), my brother and I talked a bit about whether or not our dad is the kind of person who would commit suicide.

I have the tendency to believe that our dad is too afraid of the unknown, despite his fear of the indignity of getting old and feeble. Joe leans more towards the belief that our dad has weaved such a complex web of avoidance, that he may kill himself to continue avoiding things that he doesn’t want to deal with (such as getting old and feeble).

Feebleness is a big thing for my dad. Like I said, he likes to emphasize the worst in everything. So, once you’ve aged, and you lose beauty and functionality, that somehow means you have no value. And, of course, if you’re mortal like the rest of us, that’s unavoidable.

He’d probably be one of the first people to get behind the, “Once You Reach a Certain Age, We Turn You into Fertilizer Project.”

Honestly, I don’t know well enough to judge. I just wish that someone would die a normal death in my family.

I’m not sure the point of writing this. Thinking about this is how I’m distracting myself from my real problems.

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Monday, Dec. 11, 2006 at 10:03 PM