It’s been a rather….(I’m stuck between ‘eye opening’ and ‘predictable’ as odd as that sounds) month. I had lots of posts half-written, some angry, some sorrowful, some almost funny, but I knew better than to post them and make them (my) reality. Something in me kept telling me to just see it through. A friend from work who I used to work closely with while supporting the execs, managed a department that was constantly relevant to the work I had to do. She invited me to her office and gave me some very sound advice that rings through my head in times likes this. We were discussing the god-complex, primadonna, three-year-old temper tantrum-like ways some of the people I worked around tried to get their agenda pushed to the top of the pile, and how all the people under them got coated, head to toe, in the shit that would invariably run downhill the valleys below.
At the very bottom of that valley, there was an old hunting shack made of re-purposed barn boards; sunlight and air flowed freely through the holes between the boards wherever the wood warped. It was right on the very edge of the water and was the absolute last thing between the ‘kingdom’ and nothingness. I lived in that fucking shack for five years and the shit had piled so high, I couldn’t even open the door.
So, in an impromptu meeting based solely on the worry my friend was experiencing as she watched me sink, she said to me:
“You know, in the many years I have worked in this role, I have learned one thing very well. Whenever the smallest crisis strikes, everyone, and I do mean everyone, will start to run around, panicking and ringing all the alarm bells like it’s the end of the world. What I do, is just sit back, keep my name entirely out of the loop unless absolutely necessary and even then, I say as little as possible. In a few days, maybe even a week, everyone will have collapsed with exhaustion, all the angst and blame tossing will be argued, defended and argued again to its conclusion, and then, once the actual issue has come to the surface again, I casually join in, provide the answers I have known all along and the issues is resolved within a day.”
She was telling me to not get caught up in the false and useless energy-depleting chaos of others. It clicked with me on so many levels I could see the relevance in many places in my life and I did…and here I am, having cleverly waited to watch the panic and chaos swirl through all the living members of Dayne’s family on all sides, before making any judgements or conclusions and I did NOT set off my PTSD and I did NOT fall to anxiety, depression and isolation as I usually would. (I’m pretty proud of myself for that. I have bad, bad cycles and even after all these years of work on myself, I am prone to find myself in the middle of one before I realize it’s even happening.)
So here’s the dirt…it’s been sifted through, attacked from all angles; lies upon lies have been told, believed, cried over and busted then cried over some more (not my tears, incidentally). Here’s the after story of what happened when George died.
If you read my last two posts you’ll likely hear the slight panic in my words from the thought of trying to assimilate myself into an active family life where a whole group of people stay in touch regularly and are there for each other when things go bad. I was preparing myself for family dinners, exhausting weekend trips to visit family and having to put up with the constant obligation of being attached to someone else. I found it nearly impossible to do with my own family….never mind Dayne’s crazy relatives but, as I said in my post, for him and for Colt, I will do whatever feels best for THEM. I don’t want to be 80 and have Colt at my deathbed asking me why I never gave him the vast family he actually is a part of. I don’t want Colt to feel like I kept that from him, if it’s something he could benefit from. Mind you, there’s a good reason I don’t have them in my life so why they would be essential to his, is a bit overwhelming to think about. Anyway, off topic already are we? Back to the point.
After the initial lightning strike of fear that slammed through me at the very thought of somehow forcing myself to have all these people in my world, I let it all go and watched from the sidelines, trying to support Dayne as best I could without getting involved. I still have texts written and unsent on my phone to Dayne’s two sisters and his step mother, offering my condolences and sadness over the loss of George. I didn’t want to become another conduit for their….mess.
Bits of necessary info to help this make sense: The first sister, Carolyn, is the older of the two. Susan is the younger and was ‘daddy’s little girl’ and could get George to do anything for her which caused endless competition between them throughout their lives. They are less than two years apart in age and are the natural children of George and his wife. George, is Dayne’s natural father and then there are hundreds of foster children who moved through that house over the years that Dayne grew up. The girls came a bit later and that’s when the fostering pretty much stopped so they could focus on their own family.
George died. Dayne stayed with him from the time he was extubated and conscious again until he took his very last breath. Lisa, his step mother, Carolyn and Susan came and went home to shower and sleep while Dayne stood guard, the entire time. When they pulled all the artificial support from George and, on Dayne’s request, took all the pain away with constant end-of-life doses of morphine, it took George the entire day to die. They all stood with him, waiting and waiting. Eventually Lisa gave up and went home. It was just George and his three kids around him when he left this world. Dayne took care of his step mother, who returned to the hospital to be told that her husband was gone. He drove her home and stayed with her until she fell asleep. George’s dog sat at the front door, unwilling to move, waiting for George to come home and Dayne, heartbroken himself, even tried to comfort the dog before he left.
One day after George died – Carolyn, who has always been difficult to trust due to her tendency to lie about just about everything she says, was the first to start constantly calling Dayne. She had their dad’s credit cards, bank cards, iPhone and other various account that held information she wanted access to. She said she didn’t want their mother getting her hands on everything because she knew Lisa would take all the money and other stuff for herself. Apparently, she also went to George’s workplace (where he worked part-time and was quite valued for his ability to repair just about any electronic or mechanical tool or device) and told them not to pack and ship George’s things to his house, but to allow her access to take his stuff on her own. They did, not realizing she had a key to the shop, stolen from her dad’s key chain, and she cleaned out his office taking everything in sight. All the tools, that would actually be useful to Dayne in his own work, were needed by Carolyn’s husband who apparently liked to ‘fix stuff’ or some such shit.
Susan, the second most talented pathological liar in the family, had gone into the family hone and took all of her dad’s jewelry and took all of his shirts and other personal items. She wanted everything, but got caught in the house by her mom and was chased out. Lisa, for all her odd and very un-maternal like behaviour, wanted Dayne to have some things from his dad.
Then we heard that Lisa had changed the locks on the house, locking the girls out because they had already gone in and raided the place. There were accusations and arguments as the girls went on a mission to find Georges hidden post office box (LOL). They went everywhere, trying to find something registered in his name and their efforts paid off, even though working against each other. One of them found it….the other found the key. When they gave up and decided to work together, all they found was that it was a place George has his secret credit card statements sent and other secret transactions were made. Lisa watched their finances like a hawk and he was forever getting credit on the sly.
This brings me to the point when they all found out that he had debt that Lisa didn’t know about. Dayne knew…for a while George was having some of his bills sent to our address to hide them from Lisa. There were also business taxes due on the internet provider business he had running through his server at home. Dayne would have liked that machine but apparently it’s already gone. No one will admit to taking it.
At this this point, Carolyn had all the expensive tools and access to most of his credit cards and iPhone. Susan has all the jewelry, clothing, computer stuff and personal effects. Lisa was discovering things she didn’t know about, and totally unlike herself, was taking it all in stride and was doing pretty well, getting everything in order and not being the bitch she always had been to Dayne. Then we all found out that, although George and told everyone he had already (long ago) made arrangements for his cremation after death and that all of his credit was fully insured so there would be nothing for the family to worry about after he died, was another lie. There was nothing in place. Everything was falling to Lisa and the places she might have been able to access some info that would help her were hidden behind passwords that none of us knew. Lisa paid for what she could (she now is on disability as she has a rapidly degrading lung disease and relied on George for pretty much everything) and now she is liquidating everything he owned to his ‘estate’ so the Government can take it’s taxes and the business can be bankrupted. There will be less than nothing left….somehow Dayne knew this but the girls had no idea. They still think there is money out there for them somewhere.
Current state: Lisa is working through the loss of her husband and is starting to see the lack of humanity in her daughters.
Susan isn’t talking to Dayne because he ‘wasn’t there for her’ when she needed him in the middle of a night. She was expecting Dayne to replace George in her life….the one who would take care of her no matter what and never turn her down for anything. Ever.
Carolyn isn’t talking to Dayne because he was miffed when she spelled his name wrong in Georges Obit…AND didn’t bother mentioning his eight brothers and sisters living in Eastern Canada. These are Dayne’s people, not theirs, so they never bothered.
The group out East has reached out to Dayne and he continues to catch up with them, even though the invites to come over for a vacation died down pretty fast. I started a private FB page for the family that did not include the girls or the step mother’s family and Dayne said it has been deeply appreciated and healing for that entire family. People are connecting and hundreds of memories and photos are being shared between people who loved George and Dayne before Lisa came along.
Carolyn got busted by George’s workplace who called Lisa to tell her that most of what was taken had not belonged to George at all, in fact, almost all of the tools were paid for by the company and given to George to work with but the understanding was that they belonged to the shop, not him. She was forced to box it all back up and return the loot before they called the cops on her. Same went for the credit cards and bank accounts. Dayne called the bank George dealt with most to advise that he had died. Amazingly, Lisa had beat him to it…she was already doing the right thing and getting everything in order.
Susan and Carolyn are now locked in a battle to prove which of them was more affected by the death of their father. Carolyn insists she’s depressed and that a psychiatrist prescribed her ‘sleeping pills’ on her first visit, after diagnosing her with depression.
Huh. That’s a new treatment style, right there isn’t it now? ffs she KNOWS about my mental health and KNOWS I’ve been on antidepressants for years but still, she insists that a ‘narcotic level sleeping pill’ has been prescribed to treat her depression. On visit number one. No follow up. :S
Susan is the worst of the two. She can’t handle the death at all and went from talking about how she was going in for her eighth ‘reconstructive surgery’ because SIX YEARS AGO giving birth to her daughter ‘shredded her uterus, cervix and all reproductive organs. Nothing particularly unusual happened when her child was born, no one ever mentioned the previous surgeries but…okay then….maybe her body was just not made for baby making. Anyway, she went from that to telling us all about how her husband had been diagnosed with either MS or ALS, that the diagnosis was definite and there was a spinal tap scheduled for the following Monday to determine which it was…..which never happened. Then, she said he had lesions on his brain that were identified in a CT recently which put a hold on the lumbar puncture, and that he needed emergency brain surgery …. which never happened. Now, he apparently has an issue causing him to constantly bleed from his ass. No hemorrhoids or anything, but after several professed emerg visits, he was told emergency surgery would be scheduled to ‘staple’ something up there that was bleeding. That was two weeks ago and as far as we know…nothing has happened. Then there was the tale of how she’s adopted a crack baby from a friend because she’s unable to have more kids due to the damage of childbirth …….
And there, I have to stop because I start to get angry. Susan is demanding her mother pay for therapy for her….Lisa, is living on nearly nothing now, trying to get her dead husband’s estate in order. She’s not doing well herself, but those two girls only call her to demand things from her. She’s not in a giving mood.
Now, we are back to being outsiders. Neither sister calls or wants to be in Colt’s life anymore. Lisa is doing her thing and the relatives out east have settled down, having been given a place to share their memories. Everything falls back to normal, no family to embrace, no visits and family dinners scheduled or requested. It’s back to no phone calls, no texts and just Dayne, Colt and I working our way though Dayne’s loss.
Nothing really changes in life, you know? People have intentions and think they’ve changed their mind, but really, they stay the same. It’s reliving to me, not having to pretend I like these people for Dayne and Colt’s sake. It’s also so sad…..but Dayne, despite being willing to try for these people, seems to have known all along it would be as it always was. I waited out the chaos and here I find myself back at the beginning. Life goes on and things are as they were, minus one person Dayne loved despite the bad memories.
Somehow, Dayne’s early departure from that family (he was out at 15, same as me, different but just as difficult a situation) saved him from becoming like them. There’s much to be thankful for in that. I do miss George, although I’d not spoken to him in years, but it makes Dayne’s life so much more guilt free now that he feels he’s done his part. And what a job he did. I feel lucky to have him and Colt now, in an entirely new and beautiful way…..and I didn’t think I could ever love them more.
Surprise Grainne. There’s always more.
Tags: attention seekers, family, family after death, feeling thankful for what I have, liars, lies, losing loved ones, loss of father, maybe three is enough, nothing really changes, people stay the same, siblings who don't care, stressful family issues, support and confusion, trying to be the best support possible, wait until the chaos settles