Monday, February 26, 2007

0 Want to Comment?

First Friends, Then People in Whom I Saw No Good

So many friends have come and gone. I try hard to hold on to those with whom I've made a connection; sometimes I succeed and sometimes not. I've made one new friend over the last couple of years--Joalice and her husband Kevin. And Susan before that. I may even have made a new friend just now, here in Delaware. She's named Susan too. But I'm trying hard to hold on to Theresa and I lost Tye. Of course, my lifelong friend and cousin is gone.

There was a bunch of people I was hanging out with and I still like most of them but our interests diverged and I just don't see them anymore. We weren't good enough friends to be calling and doing other things together. I send them Harry's and my articles as a way of keeping in touch and although it's a little like lecturing, the articles are probably way better than visiting. I liked them but mostly there was no meeting of the minds and I too often sat there mute or trying to hard. I know I "threw out the bathwater with the baby", but I wasn't able to single out the people I liked for conversations without seeing people who upset me. I think because I'm older and was raised by folks born just this side of the Twentieth Century (and before), I can't deal with people talking about events in my presence to which I wasn't invited. It was rude and I was hurt.

I've never gotten over not having been invited to some party in Fourth Grade when half the class was. Instead of doing something fun, my mom encouraged me to stage a rival party in the same place. That wasn't a good idea and it burned a slight into a scar. Nobody grows up without pain, I understand. I could kick myself for letting a misogynist European get under my skin. There were a few ego-challenged guys there working hard to be dominant and a lot of women catering to those fellows.

I ran up against that same kind of crap when I worked with too many people who'd gone through Catholic School. What is it with that patriarchal society? It doesn't seem to stick with Italian women nearly as much as the Irish and Germans. The Italians are a lot like the Jews and they question authority. The others hated women as much as the men did. Get ahead and they'd cut you down faster than a man would. (That's why I can't see Hillary winning.) I know the nuns do good work and they're dedicated people. I have a hard time with the women who grew up obedient little girls.

The older I get the more I believe in the values of the 1960s. Question authority. Down with the establishment. Peace and love forever, especially peace. Love comes later. Free love. Do your own thing as long as you don't hurt anybody else. Black power. Freedom. Be yourself. Love yourself. The truth will set you free.

I have some truth that's been sitting inside me waiting for the cork to blow. I must leave a nasty message for the evil doers I've known:

Margaret with a Jewish last-name who isn't Jewish is a heartless, conniving witch who tried to fire me and trumped up bullshit to try and throw me in jail (of all things.) She got ahead by having sex with the boss. It wasn't a secret. Every educated intelligent woman was a threat to her.

The secy who worked for the head of the agency is a hateful miserable woman who believed all women should follow the Catholic School example. She loathed me. I didn't think of her.

The assistant's "office asst." is a nasty excuse for a woman who absolutely couldn't contain her resentment of aware women. She loathed me too. I used to walk the long way around her, away from her and glory in her being unable to channel her anger toward me.

and Rosa is a sneak and she should only suffer the illnesses she dismissed in others.

And one of the worst people I ever knew was another secy who gloated--celebrated--other people's misery. I actually ran into her after we both had retired and she acted as though she didn't know me. Good! I didn't know what to say to her. What can you say to someone who hates all human beings and longs to see them tortured?

I enjoyed talking to R and N who hated each other. N believed all the crazy conspiracy theories that float by and R had ongoing ailments, a depressed husband, and a delicious Italianess oozing out of her. I was an anomaly to her but she was friendly.

All gone and I will never miss them. Those were people I've known and learned from the encounters in places I couldn't wait to escape.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

2 Want to Comment?

Sleeping With the Kitties

My computer is ill and I'm using Harry's. Yes, I'm still broken-hearted about my cousin's death. I'm grieving but I'm beginning to get used to the idea of his not being here. When I think of it, I still cry--like now--but I think the idea is getting familiar. I still can't believe he's gone, but part of me knows it.
I'm sleeping downstairs tonight--eventually--with the kitties. I love sleeping with them. They make no noise and I have all the room I want. I miss Harry though so if I don't go back to my own bed later tonight, I will tomorrow. Even if his breathing machine makes a racket.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

0 Want to Comment?

Jerry's On My Mind

I wrote this for my on-line Lupus support group and I wanted to share it here. I know I'm repeating the same message over and over, but I'm grieving and Jerry's on my mind.
I haven't been on for a few weeks because I was either staying at my daughter's or at my brother's. Jerry was legally my cousin, but he was always the best big brother anyone could wish for and a second father to both my children. After having been in the hospital for about a month and a half with a week's break during January, Jerry went home against medical advice because he wanted to die at home. He was only 61 and had appeared and felt in good health until he got what seemed to be a bad cold after Thanksgiving.
After one night with no supplies with no help, the aides and Hospice kicked in. Jerry's organs and his skin were breaking down at an incredible rate. A rash that started in the hospital spread over all his body taking off the top layers of skin leaving open sores. He wasn't in pain though, and he didn't seem afraid. My daughter, son, and I were with him and holding his hands when he died three days after leaving the hospital.
I've never missed anyone or grieved this much. Jerry was my pal for all of my fifty-nine years. My son had medical and legal power of attorney and now, the executor of Jerry's will. He's twenty-three. Jerry kept every paper, bill, unopened boxes of electronic stuff, and family heirlooms regardless of their condition and he didn't ever clean. He was a lifelong bachelor who retired at fifty from engineering to build replicas of WWII ships, go to heavy metal concerts, sports games, and grow plants. I'm protecting his plants, but I swear they miss the European soccer games from the TV and Jerry's smoke.
I'm okay; I strained my back yesterday so I'm hobbling, but doing nothing. I need time and space to grieve anyway.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

0 Want to Comment?

Jerry, hi....

Jerry, I hope you can hear me; I hope you're near. I talk to you every night, hoping you're there with the family. Honey and I both feel you're okay now. We don't feel confusion. I'm depressed though, really grieving. I never did before, but that's not important at all. I hate having to go out and act normal. I know this crying will pass and I wish I could wait till then. We always know what we really want to do. When you were sick, I wanted--needed--to be with you. Fooling around down here in Delaware didn't feel right and I'm glad I came up and stayed with you. I wish I hadn't wasted a moment, hadn't stayed in Delaware for that one week, but I didn't know. You were going downhill at racer speed, and I missed seeing you, being there with you.

Bruce came in; you know that. He felt sad, and talked about you're having been his big brother and how much patience you had with him. He talked at your funeral. I couldn't and neither could Ho. We had a nice rabbi Jer. You would have liked him, I think. He didn't understand you; we weren't able to communicate your spirit well enough. I think he focused on your chess championships and you just stuck the awards in the drawer. I put both of them either in or on my corner curio cabinet. I'd like to do something with your plaques; maybe hang them in the pantry. Or maybe put them on the bookshelves if I can get them to stand up. We don't know about all those ships though. Eventually, we'll get to them. Meanwhile, Harry and I are bringing the plants home with us. They're doing fine. I'll bring the big orange tree home and put it in our living room in the window. I'm talking to all of them Jer. I'm praying they'll be okay. After all, they're used to you and cigarette smoke. (That's not a dig.)

I don't know about all your food. We'll get it out. I'm trying to work out holding your bed for when Brian buys a house. He has only one now, but it would be nice to have a bed for either children or company. He loves all your stuff. Byll isn't talking but she really liked you. She came to your funeral and she didn't go to any from her family.

Fran wrote you know. She said that even though she hadn't seen you in a long time, she couldn't imagine a world you weren't in. That was nice. Bruce came across all the sad stuff you drew after she left you. I'll burn them unless you give me a signal to keep them. You knew, didn't you, that you'd never want anyone else? I wish you'd been able to date though. I think you might have enjoyed it even though it's kind of a pain. People were telling me how handsome you were. I always thought so but I knew I was prejudiced. So I bet other women would have liked you too. Especially a heavy metal fan like you were.

Harry's downstairs making steak sandwiches. I'll have to go. I have to clean the downstairs bathroom too. People sleeping over and all.

All my love...and tears,



0 Want to Comment?

Dearest Jerry

Dear Jerry,
You have left me in the middle of my life; you were in the middle. You helped me go through boxes and you carried them back and forth the house when we moved here. We drank champagne you brought after the settlement. And you had been there.
I knew I could talk to you about anything on my mind and I did. You were my confidant and my pal. I cry every time I remember our walking down Chestnut Street to the Deli for lunch. You talked about the architecture of the old buildings to our right and the electrical engineering bringing the light. Before the deli thrilled you with New York corned and roast beef, we went to the Irish Pub every week. You drank three diet sodas for every sandwich. And you always paid for me.
I miss cutting out the New York Times crossword puzzles for you. Throwing them away was a stab in my heart. I had not known your friend was designing Sudoku puzzles for you. I had not known how close you were to Russell and your work friends. Russell’s love for you was touching. I am glad you had such a good friend and that you and he great times going to all those rock concerts and sports games. You brought a smile to me when you watched European Soccer while you were dying. Even then, you could tell us who was who.
Jerry, our family dinners and especially the Passover Seder will never feel the same without you. You ran the Seders, and no one else can read Hebrew the way you could. As Brian’s “second father”, why didn’t you show him the joy you took from religion? I can’t complain. You took him under your wing as a baby and taught him integrity and a love of math. Brian’s long hair matched yours, as did all his hobbies. When I think about it, Brian’s hobbies were twins to yours, except perhaps for Chemistry.
For our daughter, you were an uncle with an open door when she went to school in Center City. You sent her on an archeological dig in Sardinia, which we could not have afforded. You took care of her.
You were always my big brother. When I was a child, I always said I wanted to marry you and our family hemmed, hawed, and made funny faces. I did not understand and it did not happen. My dad told me later you had been adopted so I understood. I was a little wistful. You were my cousin, but Jerry you can see, I loved you much more than that. My life will always have a hold where you were.


Friday, February 02, 2007

0 Want to Comment?

Never Never Goodbye

Jerry died Tuesday morning.
It's almost impossible to understand Jerry isn't here anymore. He was a mainstay in my life and suddenly he's gone. I knew he'd gotten sick a month and a half ago, but he'd seemed healthy. Nothing hurt. Suddenly he became weak and a month later, he was dead. Jerry, who I loved more than anyone until my brother was born, then my children, is gone.
I don't feel "Why me?", I just don't understand. I know everybody loses people they love and it's the same for them as for me. It feels like a knife in the heart. I'm not bitter; I'm lost. Yeah, Jerry was brilliant and eccentric, but he was my beloved brother. I've bitten my nails off and down as far as they'll go since he's been sick.
The "spirit" light blinked on and off when we talked about Jerry tonight and Bruce thought he saw Jerry last night. Honey and I believe he's okay now. I asked him to let me know and I think he's trying. I won't be convinced until I see him. I can't believe he's gone.