23 August 2005 @ 06:41 pm
Discovered that my grandfather is dead today. Also got disowned by part of my blood family today.

As you may have read, my grandfather (Big Dad) has been getting steadily worse after his fall, and they knew that it was finally just a matter of time. If you missed all this story, well, ask me sometime. Anyway, as I wrote, my brother called me the other day and told me he'd died, then later called back and told me he hadn't. So we were back to waiting.

Anyway, this morning, while I'm out at the ranch, my Mom calls. She tells me she's trying to finalize my travel plans, flying me out tomorrow. This came as a bit of a surprise, as I didn't know Big Dad had finally died. turns out that he died later that same night for the previous calls. So, they call to tell me he's dying, then he's better, then he's dying, then he's dead, then he's not dead...but they don't call when he ACTUALLY dies. Christ, what a way to run a railroad.

Now, I know I said at first that I would go ahead and go to the funeral, but the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to do it. Just a major pain in the ass of a trip, not to mention the time out of my life, for something that I don't need or consider to be that important. My presence is not pivotal to the planting of the remains of my grandfather's body, and I don't want to deal with the blood family that has so little to do with me, anyway. I'd decided that I wasn't going.

I told her so. A second or two of silence followed, and she said OK, she understood. For a change, with that kind of phrase, I really believed that she DID understand, and didn't hold it against me. That surprised me a little, but she really had mellowed out a lot in the last few years, at least enough to start to accept me for who I am, even if she isn't crazy about it sometimes. She asked if I would write a letter to my grandmother, say a few things, maybe some memories of Big Dad, and I said I'd be happy to. We got off the phone, and I figured that was it, easy enough.

Famous last words, eh?

5 minutes later, my phone rings, and I see it's Mom again. I figured it was actually my brother calling, asking why I wasn't coming. I answered...it's my uncle Dave, who tells me straight up that he's calling to change my mind.

Now, let me talk about Dave for a minute. Dave is Big Dad's oldest son (Dave Junior, in fact). Dave is a doctor, and his wife is a lawyer. Both of them were just past the hippie era, so they have that kind of non-aggressive attitude, mixed with the later sensibilities of making scads of money. They've never even raised their voices to their children. As you can imagine, it makes them come across as arrogant. For a while, it was just that, only coming across that way. However, as the money has piled up (and there's plenty of it, believe me), Dave, at least, really has become an asshole. People with a lot of money just get used to being listened to, and a doctor even more so. So, the arrogance has gone through the roof.

Hell, for the past few months, as this situation with Big Dad got worse, Mom was the one living there, taking care of the house and their parents, giving all her time and what money she could...and on a teacher's salary, that's not much. Dave said he'd handle the financial end of things, which was only right, yet any time money came up, he was a total tightwad, either trying to split the costs or just being generally stingy. I cannot count the number of times Mom has called ME, bitching about his miserly attitude.

To make a long story short, I don't think too much of him. Luckily, in the last 10 years or so, we've probably only talked twice, so it's not a big deal. Until today.

So, he's called to change my mind. Yeah, good luck. I told him my reasons for not making the trip. This began a 15 minute long convo about the whole thing. It started calmly enough. I even made nice to a couple things I responded with, saying that I wasn't trying to be argumentative. Dave, however, as usual, would not budge. Finally, I got pissed enough that I told him straight up that I WAS being argumentative, because I was pissed off at his attitude. He made a few statements about how I was being, and I called him on the carpet about that, reminding him that he'd had almost no contact with me for years, and thus could not begin to make assumptions about who I was, what my actions meant, and what was important to me. He continued to follow his assumptions anyway, made a few statements about "actions speaking louder than words", and started implying that my absence was a show of whether or not I "wanted to be part of this family".

Well, I could have said a lot of things to that, starting with his own actions lately speaking volumes. But if there's one thing I know, it's that arguing with Dave is futile, because he's too closed-minded to ever bother considering any other view but his own, no matter the situation. I thought about it for another moment and realized that I didn't have to be having this conversation. This jackass can babble until he's blue in the face, but I'm a free man, I make my own choices, and he can accept it or not. So I laughed at him. I laughed and merely said "You know what, Dave? Whatever."

He made a couple comments about my obviously not changing my mind (still arrogantly believing I would have, just because he wanted me to), and if that was how I wanted to live my life, then "so be it." Wished me luck in my life with the implication that this would be the last we would speak, and before he could say anything else, I wished him just as well, said good-bye, and hung up.

I fully expect to hear about this later from Mom or my brother, and that's just fine. I've said it to Mom, I've said it to others, and I'll say it again I'm sure: This is my life, this is me living it. You don't have to approve, but you do have to accept that. Hell, you don't even have to accept it, but I don't have time in my life for those that don't accept me.

My True Family are those whose respect I have earned and who have earned mine as well. Our bonds are the strongest that can be forged, and nothing breaks them. Just because I share some common DNA with someone, doesn't automatically mean that I have to kow-tow to you. You don't get a free pass because of genetics.

So, no, I'm not exactly hurting at being written off like that. If that's the attitude they choose to take, then that's not someone I consider family, anyway. I'm glad Big Dad is dead...I'd hate to have him really see what an asshole his son has become.
Current Mood: indescribable
Current Music: Lollipop Lust Kill - Black All Over
bitterfun on August 24th, 2005 01:51 am (UTC)
My condolences for your loss and my respects for back-bone.
Steveill the Weevill: G.N.O.M.E.synabetic on August 24th, 2005 01:55 am (UTC)
You sum up my thoughts exactly...

fear & loathing on capitol hillgonzo_md on August 24th, 2005 01:53 am (UTC)
jesus man...glad you're not fucked up over all this at least
entitymel: Angelofmercyentitymel on August 24th, 2005 01:54 am (UTC)
I'm sorry, sweetheart. *loves*

I really understand. A lot.

Perhaps your Big Dad and my cousin Linda are having a little chat right now...

*hugs and love*
Sphynx: Close Your Eyestheatresphynx on August 24th, 2005 02:15 am (UTC)
Glad that you said what you wanted and I'm sure you'll remember him the way you want to remember him in your own way.

Props to ya for the backbone =) Go you.


Baralierbaralier on August 24th, 2005 02:35 am (UTC)
I think your heading is wrong. Dave came across as pretty think to me :-)
Chrisclipdude on August 24th, 2005 02:39 am (UTC)
That sounds really sucky. I hope your family understands your reasons some day.

The way I see it, funerals aren’t for the sake of the dead—they are to comfort the living. If you need to do something else to deal with your grandfather’s death, than you should do it.

When I die, my loved ones can do whatever they want with my body that comforts them. If they think my body makes a really awesome piñata, that is cool with me, as long as it helps them cope. (My only wish is that any usable organs be used to help someone else live longer.)
ammatrah on August 24th, 2005 02:53 am (UTC)
I know you're better off with the disowning and so do you, so let's just completely skip over all that...

May Big Dad rest in peace.
syrinakintarisyrinakintari on August 24th, 2005 04:07 am (UTC)
Re: Wow.
I for one am glad that you didn't let her talk you into going. I know that the last thing you wanted to do was remember Big Dad with a room full of people you can't stand. If they want to go off over it it certainly woln't be the first time.

I'm going to say that your better of with out them anyway. You've got the "true family" and as you say that is what matters.
Becaolivetree on August 24th, 2005 04:18 am (UTC)
Namaste, Big Dad.
Skeletoncrew: ratskeletoncrew on August 24th, 2005 04:22 am (UTC)
Congratulations on exercising your judgement and backbone. My condolences for the loss of your grandfather. May he be at peace.
My Life As A Military Wife & Mother: Mebabyinga on August 24th, 2005 05:00 am (UTC)
While I am saddened that it came to what it did, I ma happy that you let your true feelings out and did not "kow tow" to anyone. I'm sorry for your loss. I totally support you in not wanting to be there. Sometimes I wish I had a backbone like you. *hugs* monkey and keep in mind you are always on my mind.
(Anonymous) on August 24th, 2005 05:36 am (UTC)
From Katie
Sorry to hear you aren't coming to the funeral - I was looking forward to seeing you (even though the circumstances suck). I took $100 to Foxwoods Casino last night after I heard about Big Dad with the idea that I would use whatever I won on the bar tab for all us grandkids after the funeral. (Oh well, $189 won't go that far the way John and David drink anyway.) I'm headed down there tomorrow, hopefully to stay through the weekend.

Take it easy on my dad, okay? It's a rough time for everybody, and you of all people should remember that there are at least two sides to every story.

I'll have a rum and coke for you --
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll: Eye Heart The Residentsarchmage on August 24th, 2005 05:40 am (UTC)
Re: From Katie
I do know that...and I really did stay calm and relaxed until he straight-up insulted me. I know it's rough, but his attitude was out of line.

I'll miss seeing you. Drop me a line sometime.
bojo427bojo427 on August 24th, 2005 08:59 am (UTC)
First, may your grandfather rest in peace.

Second, "This is my life, this is me living it. You don't have to approve, but you do have to accept that. Hell, you don't even have to accept it, but I don't have time in my life for those that don't accept me."

Rowennalapis_lunamoth on August 24th, 2005 12:37 pm (UTC)
I've been where you are. And miraculously, after many years of stone cold silence, my dad and I reconciled. It's been a long strange trip with him, and once we BOTH realised we were getting older and growing up, things changed drastically between us. "Live and Let Live" and all that. I never thought, less than a decade ago, I would see that happen.

Sad, but I doubt your relationship with your uncle is going to change much: money does that to people.

Sure hope the blackberry wine was good. And not too good.
~Jojo~: lighthousejobunches on August 24th, 2005 02:53 pm (UTC)
Sorry for your loss Frank, I hope that you get everything worked out with your family!

celticcross13celticcross13 on August 24th, 2005 04:02 pm (UTC)
Wow. It sucks so bad when family pulls shit like that, and it always seems to come out during times like this. I'm simultaneously sorry and glad to hear that Big Dad has finally passed - glad that his suffering is over and sorry for those he left behind.

I was, however, VERY happy to hear that you stood up for what you wanted and that you aren't going. *big hugs*
Reinventionsempereadem on August 24th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)
That's a tough one. I'm sorry for your losses, but I'm glad to see that you're healthy enough to see the whole picture, and understand it for what it is.
thndrchldthndrchld on August 26th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC)
You did the right thing. Don't invest it with anger, people make the choices they make. Anyone who would threaten disownment over a matter this silly should just not be taken seriously. Obviously he is trying to become the straight man in your family, you just need to feed him better lines!

Hugs, and have to good talk with your Grandfather next time you have some time.
thndrchldthndrchld on August 26th, 2005 07:42 pm (UTC)
PS. Send him a "There is no Banana" postcard, I think he needs it.
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll: There Is No Bananaarchmage on August 26th, 2005 07:57 pm (UTC)
He DEFINITELY needs it!