Stu hasn't called. Nikki hasn't called. My father hasn't called. My step-mom hasn't called. I guess we're all washing our hands of one another, but for very different reasons.
My family is probably "done with me" because they don't know what to do with me. They refuse to see me as the person who has become increasingly sick over the last decade or so. The part they don't see is that I AM A PERSON! Instead, all they see is a problem that needs fixing. That's unfortunate...for them.
I'm not losing anything. Not really, and I will continue to tell myself that as I move forward without them. I have an entirely NEW family...one that shows love in many, many ways. I mean, no sooner do I mention that I'm in trouble than ideas and offers come forward. Arguskos first offered that I should move into his apartment complex. He then backed out, saying that it would be better to be around people who can do more for me should I need it. And so Mercury Maline - look, I used capitalization and separated words! - offered me once step better: a home at a reduced rent that is even better than Section 8. (Trust me, I'm not one to pay a wee bit of rent and then selfishly do nothing else; when the time comes, I'll probably shell out for more food, as I will be not only delving into the house supplies, but want to show my thanks in some way.)
My FRIENDS, people not obligated to lend me aid in any way whatsoever, are swifter to offer me help than blood. For this, my entire family, and numerous old friends, should hang their heads in shame.
Of course, I haven't solidified any plans. It's all been thrown into the air and will be hanging there while time passes. My family may not have called today, but they may do so tomorrow. To an extent, I dread that they might. The way that I have been treated by them is an embarrassment, or should be to them, and they won't act that way. No, they will come forward with unjustified self-righteousness and "give me what for," to which I fear my potential responses.
The one that's brewing? *cracks knuckles* Okay, here we go. This one is specifically aimed at my father...
"I want to congratulate you on the loss of another child. Five miscarriages, one still-born, Michael, and now me. I have fought like mad over the last few years to make it clear that I love you and am always concerned about you, and what I get in return is your anger that I've become disabled. I get speeches that make me search fruitlessly for work I can't have or hold down. Years ago, I was even yelled at for getting sick with a parasite on the way to FL, and then spent the remainder of the trip spending almost any money you handed me 'to enjoy myself' on over-the-counter meds to hide the fact that I was still very sick. I got yelled at...for becoming ill...with something that was...COMPLETELY BEYOND MY CONTROL!!! Really, can it get 'better' than that?
"To my regret, I let you teach me something I never wanted to learn. It's stuck in my head, and I have been fighting to get it out of there. 'Money is love.' You want to show someone you care? Don't TELL them that! Send the money. And when my friends lend me aid, there's a part of me that's thinking, See? They love you because they send the dollars. No...They love me. Period. The money just happen to be available, and they sent me help. And so I have to shove your concept of love out of my head and say otherwise, making sure that I remain as honorable a man that I can be...something you never taught me, but something I learned on my own.
"That honor is what makes them care. My complete lack of abuse of them is what draws out their love. My blind acceptance of any and all that come to me asking for emotional help is what makes me better than the entirety of your family. Because I'm willing to bet that if ANY of my relatives cried out for help, there'd be crickets chirping all around them. They do nothing for anyone else, and so they get nothing of value in return.
"I do. I have a vast treasure trove, coffers and chests filled with love, piled high and falling over. And while you might want to claim that you are part of that horde, you aren't. To you, money is love, and money isn't love to me.
"Come September, I'm moving. When that happens, you won't be getting a forwarding address or telephone number. Because when you call and give me one of your 'pep' talks, I end up spending a week hoping the burst blood vessels in my eyes will fade. Because talking to you requires medication for me to remain calm. Because you say you love me, and never, ever show it. I'm tired of chasing after it. I am physically and emotionally disabled, there's only so much I can do, and I can't spend anymore time trying to track down a feeling you don't seem to have for me.
"I am desperately trying not to be malicious about this, but you have caused me a great deal of hurt for no good reason, other than I am not the successful Jewish 'whatever' you wanted me to be. I haven't missed you trying to shove my nephews existence in my face, and I'm sorry I never was able to find someone who could provide me with a child of my own. Of course, you blame me for this; even though I haven't heard those exact words, I know it as fact.
"I'm going now. Odds are pretty good that you haven't understood this the way it's meant. The pain I feel and the tears I've shed are alien things to you. But you, and your family, are the ones who have done the most in terms of pushing me toward the suicide you don't want me to commit. I leave you now to drag out the past and curse my name, or whatever it is you choose to do. The thing is, while you do so, remember that all you've ever done is drag out the past...and curse my name...and have always overlooked the man that I am, here and now, in the present."
Of course, I'd never have a chance to say all that. My father would probably be laying on the guilt and anger as thick as possible come "Congratulations on the loss of another child."
The sad part? Well, I don't often view myself as a great guy, and so I let the views of others carry me through hard times. And through their eyes, using their words, it really is my family's loss. They're losing the only human being that's in the whole set, and they won;t ever realize it.
I have things to do, my friends. As always, you have my thanks for helping me through hard times. If just one said, "It's okay, Rob...We're here for you," it would be enough. I am pleased to report that more than one has said that.