Following a death, engulfed in grief, people can take on the energy, of an out-of- control fire, behaving erratically and moving in a direction, that creates a veering and unpredictable path. They search for a target to blow their vaporous, hot air of anger. They want to hurt someone. Modern day mourners zero in on their quarry and begin to hurl their bombs. Hate filled words are the ammunition and cell phones are their technological armory.
My Big Sister 1 has experienced the worst, of the worst. She has lost a second grandchild. This Beloved child, was plowed down, by the thoughtlessness, of a 5 time loser, DUI drunk, narccisst. A 45 year old man, allowed by our justice system, to roam the streets as a potential killer, with no abandon.
In a stupor, this man, drove the wrong way, with no headlights, in a Ford 250, colliding with 3 unsuspecting passengers, in a Honda Civic. They had no chance. According to a witness, the sole survivor, reeking of alcohol, tried to hide the fact that he was driving, by jumping into the back seat, and then, stumbled out of the truck to inquire what had happened. When informed, he ran to try to hide his sin.
And after all of that, a Nassau County, Florida judge has placed him in jail, with the option of a bond. What! It’s as if he is semi-supportive of his behavior. Does he not think that this obvious alcoholic, will not, if released, drive himself to the nearest liquor store and begin again. His chances should be over, the same as those that he robbed of theirs.
Now that this horrific tragedy has occurred and my Beloved niece lays lifeless, the next step is the burial. The “family” wanted brother and sister to be buried, side by side. Beloved’s sibling passed almost two years ago.
Unfortunately, the “family” plots had not been designated, and regardless of the fact that over four hundred and fifty thousand dollars had been spent administering the “family” estate, the cemetery lots had not been resolved. An issue that I had tried to get Big Sister 1 to address, but she consider it to a moot point. She refused to communicate.
A deluge of calls and texts, swamped my Little Sister’s phone. It pinged and ponged like an arcade pinball machine. Lighting and buzzing, buzzing and lighting. Requests turned to demands, that turned to name calling. ~ No one will ever help you, you evil bitch ~, seemed to be the favorite flavor of cast aspirations. Not a good choice of words, when trying to persuade and influence. Or was that the real nature of the calls? Could it be that Little Sister was chosen, for the illogical and unreasonable blows, of mindless venting?
My Little Sister was their dog to kick. Their combat foot attire is Tony Llamas. Their words, like their boots, were at times, polished. And at others, like the mud and muck, flying from the heels, of those worn by an aggressive rodeo rider, in action. It’s just all too familiar; a sad circus event, in a broken circle.
Yet, it is ‘family’/ blood. And even though we are cast to the side, we wanted to assist; Little Sister, shaken by the assaults and me, a thousand miles away, but with a 904 area code, a computer, and a copy, fax machine. She suggested they call me.
I called the funeral home, Riverside Memorial Park, first thing in the morning. The clock was ticking, and if We (myself and my Little Sister) were going to be of any help at all, we had to get things done. We needed a map, we needed information. Both of our signatures were needed. And I am once again, not at home. And once again, as in the case of Beloved’s brother, in creating a legal burial space, the circumstances were complicated. A notary is needed and just like before, it’s on a day that is a national holiday.
I spoke with Mandy, the receptionist, and she told me that Michael would be calling me. He returned my call the next day, in a reply to an e-mail that I had written expressing my disappointment in them. They had dropped the ball.
When I realized the funeral people were going to be no help, I proceeded on my own. I wrote a proposal to my two Big Sisters and Little Sister, as a possible way to bring about a final solution, for this problem. It seemed reasonable to me, as we don’t even know, if any of us, are going to be alive at the end of the day. I felt this needed to be handled in a whole fashion – 100% complete and final, like death itself. I never got a reply.
The clock ran out, more insults were hurled and by the mercy of God, we were blocked and deleted, in a dramatic, final text. The following thought being, we have hardly spoken to our Two Big Sisters, since the divorce was initiated, the day my mother died. Not by our choice, but by theirs.
In my mind, I can picture Blair Road, the remnants, of the ancestral acreage, of my family. It had a grandness about it. In it’s final days, it was ruled by our mother, a Southern, Irish Catholic matriarch. Growing up, it was the country; dairy land. Massive live oaks decorated the green interior, surrounded by pines. McGirts Creek outlines one border and turns south dividing the property. Large cypress trees abound in the dark, darkness of the shallow, sometimes wide and sometimes, narrow waterway. Life was wild. We ran free and unbounded. We were the masters of our domain, one fight at a time, one drink at a time, one party at a time, one death at a time.
It is no place for me now and has not been, for years.
In war, there is opposition. We choose sides. There are battles. At each encounter we can advance or retreat. We believe we have clear and defined enemies.
Who is the foe here?
Is it me, for being the out of touch family member, choosing to keep my distance. Is it Big Sister 1, for refusing to take care of this, months ago when we could have handled it in a sober and thoughtful manner? Is it Big Sister 2, for not answering my early morning calls, and not reaching out to me once, during this calamity? Is it my Little Sister, for being reluctant to hand over her rights, to be buried by her mother and father?
Or is it Mandy? Did she disregard my call? Or is it Michael, did he know I was waiting for my phone to ring, but chose to ignore me. Was it better to deal with the person in front of him. Death and dying is a lucrative business. As harsh as it is, a sales person, has to make the deal.
I am going to be so bold, as to choose John Barleycorn as the antagonist. He has been lurking about for years. He is a formidable soldier and a subtle enemy. He is cunning, baffling and powerful. And above all, he is patient. He smiles and offers moments of ease. He lulls those who imbibe, into a false sense of security and then he attacks. He wears camouflage. At times, he is clothed in bright colors, to blend in with the festivities. Sometimes he wears the color of money. None the less, he is well hidden, until, like the well trained and brutal warrior that he is, he will pounce and leave the horror of bloodshed, in his wake.
He is no good.
And in my quiet and humble abode, as I Lay Dying, I hear the tune, Rock of Ages. A song, I learned as a child, played on the family piano, by a hard shell, Baptist neighbor. I was a little Catholic school girl; I sang that song of comfort. Today, I’m not much different, awaiting my inevitable turn. Rock of Ages cleft for me ~ Let me hide myself in thee.
The silenced voices of the three are loud. They reverberate the cyber world. Their lives and deaths give testimony to the fragile nature of our existence.
My voice, as feeble as it is, buried deep under the “family”, wants to speak. And it wants to say, “The family the prays together, stays together, and the family that drinks together, stinks together.”
Know God – Know Peace. No God – No peace.
*If this story seems confusing to you, I would like to say, that it is confusing to me as well.