MY JOURNAL ENTRIES
Feb 25 11:58 pm
YUCK YUCK YUCK... Another day where I worked from 9am till 11pm. I'm tired and crabby and due back at work at 9am to finish off tons of administrative stuff, and yes I then work till 11pm. Only to be back at work at, yep you guessed it, 9am Friday morning and will work till....... Fortunately though I do get a few small breaks during the day and can book a little flex time or field work here and there. Maybe even sneak home to update the diary, etc should I find I have something to say. Other than work all I've done is email, HTML, webring attempts, online chat, long distance calls, cancelling and reinstating such things as cable, phone, etc, and of course packing and discarding material possessions.
This actually leads me into what I want to talk about today. In my storage room I have several huge plastic storage tubs full of yarn, needles, patterns, quilting blocks, books, and fabrics. I inherited these when my father's last long term girlfriend passed away. My sister in law was this woman's hairdresser and knew that both her and my father were lonely and were single. She set them up on a coffee date and within a few months they were living together and professed to be deeply in love. I hated her.
I hated her because of nothing she'd done, but rather for what a weak and passive man I viewed my father to be. My dad is old. He is lonely. He has money, or at least makes an amazing wage. My dad owns nothing. My dad lets every woman he dates take all his money, and has even gone so far as to buy one of them a condo AFTER she left him. He can't maintain a healthy relationship with any woman. He lets above stated women take things he owned before he even met them, when they decide to leave him. My dad is paranoid, overweight, in poor health, and although basically a very needy and dependent person he is also an instigator of unforeseen problems. He likes to distance the women he dates from their children first and their families second. Not because he's abusive but rather he needs to have them hate him, so he in turn can show these women "See I told you, it's us against them". He really is a demanding fellow to be around.
So basically I hated her. I thought she was seeing a desperate man and was just ensuring (as all of his past wives and girlfriends had) that she could get in on his need to please and to be loved. I was wrong. I have never been so wrong.
She turned out to be competitive with myself, my full blood siblings, and their spouses and children. She quickly established his home as her home. She took away my key to the house. I still hated her at this point and myself and my closest sister in law used to bitch about her every chance we got, and would talk about the day when she left my father. We of course figured this was inevitable. That day never came.
I eventually realized that she was just a female version of my father, and that she honestly loved him so much that she did view us as competition for his time and attention. I admit we were always used to being the constant in his life and not having to take second place to any of the many women that came and went. We viewed these women as the reason that my father was never able to send any of us to college, or to help us out when we went into the world. Yep I have my bitterness to him still over that. I soon realized that I was wrong as did my sister in law. The nieces and nephews came to know her as gramma and we learned to allow her to be front and center when in her home. Meaning that whatever she cooked, made, or did was the best we'd seen, tasted, or witnessed. She needed this.
Her ex-husband used to beat her up, cheated on her, and her children were useless and ungrateful, even going so far as to treat her with contempt. As I got to know her I exploited the one thing we had in common as a means of making a concentrated effort to become her friend, knitting and crocheting. I would talk to her about things she'd made, and would often come over claiming I needed help with something or advice on colors or patterns. We would have coffee, watch soap operas, and just waste an afternoon creating our separate projects. Sometimes we'd both be working on things for the same people... someone having a baby etc. Although my dad wanted me to call her mom, her and I both knew this would never happen. I called her my dad's wife, although they never married but I did consider her family.
Eventually she stopped working due to pains in her hip and leg. I admit that my sister in law and I assumed then that we'd been right in the first place. Meaning that she indeed was like all the rest and was just going to stop contributing and stay home while he supported her. The pain got worse. The cancer spread into her spine and then throughout her body. She got weaker and weaker and eventually succumbed to her disease in the spring of last year. This was the first time somebody died on me, excluding AIDS, as an adult. I thought I would die, I didn't know I had the tears for her that I did. I hoped she forgave me for all the unkind things I ever said and ever did.
She told my father that she wanted me to have all her crafting supplies, including a quilting frame and knitting machine. This is what currently fills my storage room. I have divided everything up into sections and have labeled it all for future projects that I know I'll never finish or even start. I can't bring myself to throw any of it out, and yet I can't afford to take it all with me. I know its just a bunch of yarn, easily purchased in any department store. But it means much more. It represents her letting me into her life, sharing with me her passions, and giving me herself at her most relaxed moments. If you've never sat down with another person to freely create something, or to work upon a shared project for another person then maybe you don't understand what this means to me. I still think of her, and I still on occasion will tell her "I love you". I never told her that in life, but I believe she knew it in death.
My dad has a new girlfriend now. He expects me to call her mom. I try and explain to him what she meant to me, he doesn't understand. I miss her terribly.