Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I have long mulled over a post telling about my eccentric aunt but the course of events has taken a darker, ominous turn and my post must reflect this change and the irony is not lost that this past weekend was Mother’s Day. My cousin is dying of lung cancer and his ongoing acrimonious connection to his mean, hateful mother looks to end bleak and unresolved. I sit 1500 miles away, powerless to fix the unfixable, fervently wishing I could wave a magic wand and give him back the childhood he deserved and erase his understandable, deep-seated anger and resentment. And I cannot. Through snippets of conversations with my own mother (her younger sister) throughout the years, I heard many disturbing tales of my headstrong, stubborn, control-freak, iron-willed aunt. (This is the same spiteful woman that wound her phone cord around and around a kitchen chair (!!) so I wouldn’t use her phone line to dial into the net when we were out there visiting). Yeah. Her single-parent skills left much to be desired as she used him as an indentured servant, subject to her whims and demands, minus a loving father to offset her malevolent direction and buffer her bizarre actions. The origin of this royalty complex and sense of entitlement remains an unsolved mystery. It seems from Day One this willful firstborn child installed herself as The Queen, usurping her own mother’s rightful place in the family dynamics, lording it over her three lesser siblings. This diminutive dictator worshiped her father, detested her mother and wreaked havoc on all who crossed her path with her only child, my cousin, forever caught in the crossfire of a misdirected hate she never acknowledged. One can’t help but think of the total annihilation she would have caused a daughter considering the amount of psychic damage inflicted on her male child. His life has not been devoid of joy as he has a caring wife and children to offset her toxic rants and demeaning decrees. Hopefully they have repeatedly assured him of his exceeding value and worth, expressions never uttered from her self-centered mouth. Her verbal abuse is legendary and undiminished as her own mortality looms on the horizon. Through our last phone conversation, I discerned his continuing struggle to win her elusive love coupled with the very human desire for retaliatory paybacks. Yet one cannot help but wonder what early skewed misdeeds provoked this lifetime of unacceptable behavior? One is left to speculate on what shadowy skeletons she long ago stashed in her secret closet. His final finish line beckons and he withholds his fatal prognosis from her, never mentioning the disease that will inevitably take his life. It is a decision he has made and we honor that choice. No deathbed reconciliations are expected and my heart aches—for both. This is not the happily ever after ending one envisions for a parent-child bond and I am powerless to make it better. All I can do is assure him of his cousin’s enduring care and abiding affection. I love you, Ron. Always.