Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Pain-Agony Sandwich, now with sides!

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.

(The end).

12 comments:

Tracy Lynn said...

Matt and I dined exclusively at the Pain And Agony Buffet last Christmas. The service was, frankly, crap.

Miss Britt said...

That doesn't sound any kind of Catholic. At all.

That "offer up suffering" crap is - well, it's typically associated with another denomination entirely is all I'm going to say.

And it is total and absolute shit, Nina. Remember that.

ellie said...

God isn't spiteful, no matter how much I wonder if my current and past state of affairs with married men effects my infertility....your dad didn't get cancer because of anything you did or didn't do. Shit happens, life sometimes sucks. Don't let this evil spiteful woman get inside your head.

ByJane said...

oh puke! she's just trying to squelch you with a guilt sandwich. that's her only defense. tell her you would appreciate your father's spiritual sacrifice if it had not been accompanied by his material denial.

sybil law said...

So I see now that she's not just a bitch. She's a holier-than-thou bitch, too. That's the worst kind. I seriously hate her oblivious guts.

Annie said...

Nina, that is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. I hope you are not buying into any of it.
XOXO

Dagny said...

Yeah, eaten there quite a bit myself.

Sorry, that woman is completely fucking delusional. Wow.

Try to step away from the guilt table.

But easier said than done I know.

xoxoxo

Joel said...

"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."


Nauseating. Maybe it's because I'm a convert and haven't shaken my Protestant instincts, but I just can't cotton to the whole "offer up your suffering" thing, especially in this context. In any case, even if his suffering did you some eternal good (which I'm sure he would have wanted for you), I can't see how that could possibly morph into "God caused your dad to suffer for your benefit," and then into "It's all because of you."

It sounds like she's jealous because you were so important to your dad. There's one thing of his she can't withhold from you, so she'd rather make it sour instead.

Kate P said...

Her words to you sound stilted, and stock, as if out of some kind of preachy pamphlet. It's her interpretation of what his suffering was, perhaps to make sense of suffering in a way that feels good to her. Which involves judging and condemning you.

Just from the sense I get of your relationship with your dad, I think if that was what your dad wanted for you, this whole "turn back to the Lord" (honestly? you went away?) stuff, your dad probably would have said it to you.

Mrs. Who said...

OMG. This woman sounds exactly like my husband's aunt, who is withholding his inheritance from his mother. She is such a 'good' Catholic...she wouldn't help her own daughter who had cancer (and has since died)and was fighting a custody battle against a druggie, whose car kept on breaking down....because 'suffering' is good for you. The aunt, meanwhile, is sitting on millions.

And this aunt kept her own bout with polyps/cancer hidden because she's so perfect, meaning her sisters didn't know to get checked, and one (my m-i-l) has died of the same cancer the aunt had. So no, my husband's aunt and your step-mom AREN'T Catholics. Just cold-hearted bitches who are using their religion as an excuse to throw their guilt onto someone else.

(My husband said that in your place, he wouldn't be able to get his hands around her neck fast enough.)

And your stepmother is debasing your father and his faith in using his suffering this way. You can tell her I said that. Hell, give me her address and I'll tell her myself.

Maggie said...

How does she know that his suffering was offered up on your behalf, and not on hers? How does she know which account the suffering got credited to in the big bank in the sky?

Regardless, what we *do* know is that, even in her own version of events, you got the spiritual offering, and she got the filthy lucre. We know what Jesus thought of the rich in heaven.

Even if you do believe her version of events, you can then take comfort in the fact that if you got the suffering and she got the cash, your dad did it on purpose to ensure your eternal happiness and her eternal damnation.

Mind you, I don't cotton to that version of Catholicism. But in the real world way, you already know that she is evil, and that YOU HAVE NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR.

P said...

OK, I am chiming in late because I've been out of town but OH MY FUCKING GOD I HATE THIS WOMAN. I'm sorry to yell, but I am furious. I can't imagine how you feel.