My brother and I have had a running joke about how the years leading up to July 23, 2008, we were fed a mandatory foot long Anxiety sandwich three meals and (two snacks) a day, without variety. It (both the joke - and the un-happy meals) has grown old by now, but it (at least the joke) has enjoyed a resurgence since my father died. Now we eat the Pain-Agony sandwich every day without interruption. We thought it could get no worse.
Well, well. As we all know, every bottom has a trap door that goes just one (or ten) levels lower.
I received a letter from my step mother puts a nice capper on this whole season of ___________. There are no words for it (the season, or the letter).
Warning: if you a non-Catholic, the excerpts I post here will prove perhaps the worst advertisement for the Catholic faith than anything you have ever seen or heard before. If you are Catholic, I think you'll agree that my step-mother is Catholicism's best example of how NOT to be a good at practicing our religion. Ready?
"Peace in the family meant more to you dad than money."
(Note that my dad made a pretty tidy showing of taking care of her, financially, while providing not even a kind word for his children in his will).
"What he wanted most of all was for the whole family to be together in heaven." (If you are not disgusted yet, be warned that I am just getting to to good part).
"Through his illness and suffering, your dad offered up every bit of his illness and suffering.... from the violent infections and the horrible pain of amputation... up to the Lord on your behalf so that you would be freed from your own suffering and turn your heart and mind back to God and his plan for you."
"This is the good that your father hoped and trusted that God would make out of his suffering. Think of the selfless focus and faithfulness your father mustered on your behalf. He used his suffering for you."
The entire time this mess has been unfolding, I have had one tiny little shred of comfort: that I was faultless in setting up my father with this woman, and that all the harm that had come to my family as a result was not my fault. But Erika, in her incredible inability to have ANY clue what sort of thing would "comfort" me, has merely invited me to the Pain-Agony buffet and added a double sized helping of... guilt.*
Now I get to contemplate how my dad's suffering was all for ME... in effect, ABOUT me. Let's take this one step further. Maybe my dad got cancer and suffered and died BECAUSE of me and his poor opinion of my performance as a human being and a Catholic. The train of logic isn't so hard to follow, is it?
So there goes, if I choose to believe what Erika says, the one little piece of "okayness" I had about this entire ordeal. Now, in addition to having pain, grief, anger and shock, I get a whallopping mouthful of guilt, because this ordeal is not only the undoing of my whole family, but also... all my fault.
That Erika. What a find. She is really something.
* I couldn't work in the drugs.
** Yes, I thought twice (perhaps nine times) about whether it was appropriate to post this ugliness on top of, what, a solid year of ugly posts? I did it because I meant what I said. This is the capper. I can't engage in the emotional violence for even one more second without quite literally checking myself into a sanitarium, so from now on - as much for myself as for you - this blog will be about the future. No more crap about the money, the terrorism, the meanness, the lying, the misery, or even the sandwiches. It's time to move on and since I sent Erika an email telling her to let me be, I am moderately hopeful that I can amputate (pardon the phrasing) her and this mess from my life and write about other things. If I keep wallowing, call me out on it. Seriously, this has to be the end.