[A note to readers…this is very long, and very emotional, so at times it may not make sense, and I apologize. There is also so much I am leaving out….I’m just emotionally drained.]
I woke up today missing my phone. It wasn’t on my night stand.
I asked Amy where it was and she said she took it and would only give it back if I promised I wouldn’t reply back to an email I got. Which meant only one thing…my father’s brother emailed me.
This is what I received:
Since I am the One and only heir of the [Your father’s] estate, I have taken photographs of all of his household goods and items. Anything missing from his estate with be a criminal charge. Any items missing will be a police matter and a civil lawsuit.
Just try me Bert. If that TV is gone, I will kick your punk ass.
This is nothing new to me.
For years growing up this man would verbally abuse me and call me names like “faggot”, “Fairy” and “Little Lord Fontleroy” (which I guess was to be an insult, and while I haven’t read the story by Frances Hodgson Burnett, what I can tell from Wikipedia, it doesn’t sound like it is anything like what he intended it to mean.)
It got worse as years went on, to the point that this man (who is much older than my father and acted like a father to my dad) was even able to coerce my father to also join in on the name calling.
What kind of an animal do you need to be to make someone else treat their own child that way?
I got enough name calling, and abuse from school, my home should have been a safe haven…and it wasn’t. My mother tried all she could to protect me, and she taught me the value of love and treating people fairly. For that I am eternally grateful…with that I can end the dreaded cycle of abuse and make sure my own children NEVER go through what I did.
But I made my peace with all that. I’ve made peace with my dad. I understand his own history and know that he can’t stand up to his brother (who is much older than my father and acted like a father to my dad, when their own father left them at early ages). He has his own issues to deal with. I forgive him.
Once I moved out of my parents house, I eliminated all contact with my father’s brother. Once when I had children of my own, we went over there when he “happened” to be there and he started calling my oldest son “sparky”…and wouldn’t stop when I told him to. I knew were it was headed, so we left and have made sure that we are never there when he is there.
For years my father and Grandmother would beg me to “forgive” him and if I would only “APOLOGIZE” to him (for WHAT!? He should apologize to me!) that he is very generous to family and I am missing out. But they wouldn’t listen when I would remind them what he did to me. They would try and invite us over and not tell us that he would be in town…when he would show up unexpected…we would leave.
What frustrates me the most is that just when I think I am “free” and have heard the last word from him…he does something like this to just bring back all the memories of the hurt in the past and the questions of “what did I ever do to you to deserve this?”.
That is really the one thing I really want to know. What did I ever do to him to deserve being treated this way?
My mother (more than anyone) taught me that family is everything. Being from a poor family (my dad’s side was accustomed to being “well off”, even though they endured their hardships too), my mother’s family had extrememly little. She taught me that its the people more than the “things” that count.
Over the years I could easily see that my dad’s side of the family is about buying love. Where my mother’s family is about giving love. So that is what I have tried to do over the years. Give love and give kindness as much as I could to everyone, not just family. No one should ever feel downtrodded or “bought out”.
When I understood that my sister had a real mental handicap, and saw the unhealthy life my parents lived, I resigned myself to the fact that I would not have a life of my own.
AT AGE 15, I realized that my life DIDN’T matter and that it was up TO ME and ME ALONE to take care of my family as they got older and that was going to be “my” life from then on.
Since I was the last of the Gill/Jones line on this side, I knew that I would need to have a family to keep the line going and that I would need to be somewhat successful in life because I would need to care for not only my elder parents, but my elder sister as well, when the time came.
No child should have to resign themselves to that kind of life at AGE 15! I should still have been able to dream, to not have to worry about anything. By the following year, my hair had already started to slowly go grey.
But I did, and I did what I could from then on to be the “golden child” for my family.
I am there when my dad needs technical help with any of his office stuff, Amy is there to help make breakfast for him and check up on him everyday during the school year (and sporadically during the summer when the kids allow). My mother lives with us, because she can’t live on her own. She cannot handle managing finances, my dad handled all that, it would freak her out.
I even have gone back to college to get my bachelor’s degree, because no one else in my family has and I promised my grandmother and great-aunt that I would. I am trying to better myself for my family. I have had successful jobs, that haven’t made me rich, but they have been fulfilling jobs that have all taught me so much and have bettered me in some way. My current job isn’t glorious, but I have a sense of purpose there and feel I can really make a difference.
But the thing that gets me the most about all this…I don’t ask for anything. My current home, Amy and I got ON OUR OWN. My 2001 Minivan we BOUGHT ON OUR OWN brand new, off the lot with only 6 miles on it…and had it until a kid crashed into me in 2009. My Sundance I had paid for on my own. My entire Senior year, after years of fighting with my dad for school funds, I paid for everything for school: yearbook (2 actually, one for my best friend), school dances, All night senior party, t-shirts, lunches, school supplies, etc. I had a job, so I took care of myself.
I don’t ask for gas or groceries (although my dad does offer). I don’t ask for money (except twice when I was out of work and needed to make a mortgage payment). Hell, when my dad was in a car accident and was out of work, Amy and I moved into their home and MADE THEIR ENTIRE FIRST MORTGAGE PAYMENT and helped pay for utilities, for them each month, so my parents wouldn’t loose their home.Yes over the years he or my grandmother would slip me money, or offer to buy groceries, or repair our car, or buy gas…but there is a difference in offering and asking.
Yet, people seemed to forget that and think that all I want from anyone is money or things. I could care less. Money isn’t important.It’s the people!
I won’t lie, and say it wouldn’t be nice to have something if my dad passed away. It would help me support my family…notice that last word…FAMILY. Not for me. But for my kids. If there was any money to come my way, I would try and put college funds together for them, if there was enough…if not, then it would perhaps help pay the bills for a few months.
And yes, there are some material things I would love to have, but only because they hold memories for me. Their sentimental. Their things I grew up with as a child and have such very fond memories for. For instance a small magnetic pedestal chess set that my grandmother taught me how to play chess on. But they’re not that important to me. I have the memories.
But getting emails like this, that paint me as some greedy person, which I am not, just chaps my ass. Especially since my father surrounds himself with people that ARE GREEDY and are only being friendly to him, because he has spouted that his mother and aunt had money…so they think they may be able to get a piece of the pie by being his friend.
Here I am at times struggling to make ends meet, and not asking for help, yet these wolves prowl in and actually demand things from him…and he just hands them over.
I’m starting to try and “un-resign” myself to the life I had pictured at age 15. My sister is married…she has someone to take care of her…so there is one worry off my list…and my mother lives with us…so no real worry there…all that is left is my dad…and I don’t know what to do.
Do I continue to give my energy to him and his situation, only to have everyone else around him, whisper in his ear that I am this greedy person and doesn’t deserve anything…or do I just walk away from it all. Concentrate on my own life (and my own family of course) and just let the wolves move in for the kill? And if there is anything “to be had” allow it to just pass by…allow a legacy to be taken by others, instead of secured for my children (his grand children)?