If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

- Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ashes to Ashes

The disapproving tone of my mother’s voice this morning aggravates me. Expecting some insightfully spiritual comment from her daughter, my mother pauses for me to adsorb the news of her father-in-law’s death. I, of course, disappoint her. Any other topic of discussion, I have something to say, something perceptive, thought provoking, even motivational; but with the mere mention of death, I shut my pie hole.

Empathy typically comes easy to me, I cry over every sappy movie, commercial, and Hallmark card that come my way; but my view of death is so pragmatic that I just cannot relate. Fact, death is a part of life. You live, therefore you must die. Period, end of story. Now don’t get me wrong, the death of a child or a young parent, always rocks my view of death. But when a man has lived for nine decades filled with all the opportunity life had to offer him, and spit in the face of such grand opportunity; I do not feel the need to mourn; especially when the man was a complete a-hole.

My mother and step-father married when I was twenty-two. Although a good man, whom I greatly respect and adore, my step-dad did not raise me; nor did his parents have much to do with me. I’ve met my “step-grandfather” only twice…the first time, at my parents’ wedding, the old coot had several disgusting comments about how he’d like to enjoy my young body. Then, several years later, six weeks after giving birth to my son, he’s only concern was what a shame it was that I had gotten so fat since the last time he’d seen me. Yea, this guy leaving the world just tears me to pieces.

Okay, I should not be so disrespectful. But why is it that when a person dies, a person who cheated on his loving wife, spent more time and money with a bottle than any of his 10 children, and every vile word he ever vomited into the atmosphere caused more hurt than good, suddenly all is forgiven, and the guy gets to become a saint?

When I asked my mother to express my condolences to my step-dad (good or bad person, he was his dad), she suggested that I call and leave him a message myself- it will mean more to him. Okay, that may be; but when my Dad passed away twelve years ago, where was my personal message. Step-dad never called me, just told my mother he disapproved of my grieving methods (another story for another day.) Or hey, how about two weeks ago, when we found out hubby’s grandfather (who was a world renowned veterinarian) passed away, where was our personal message or condolence card?

Now, my mom, who despised the old fart and has been praying for his death for years, is disappointed in my lack of mournful sorrow? What ever!

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