In typical fashion my mom calls me yesterday to unload yet another massive amount of bad news. I answer the phone and hear, “I have news.” Being me, I come back with, “Good?” You think I’d learn by now. The good stuff she usually doesn’t want to talk about. The only way you get to know that stuff is if you’re there when it happens, or you force it out of her before she realizes. It’s the reason why I may seem overly optimistic if you don’t spend much time around me. I’m hoping for the best, but there’s a jaded cynical layer under that just waiting for things to come crashing down on my head.
I will admit, once she told me, I was actually in a better mood than when the conversation started. Yes, it’s a terrible thing that my uncle Johnny had a stroke and that he was driving and hit a little girl. It’s bad that my cousin Mark, who’s a paraplegic, is refusing his medication and treatment. It’s disappointing that his sister Donna’s spine is deteriorating and they can’t operate. But there’s a good side to all of this, and I think it’s better than the bad.
My uncle is alive. He’s on blood thinners and it’s highly possible that the blockage will clear up and he’ll be fine. The girl he hit is okay. She’s got two broken legs but no other injuries. My cousin is the only responsible person in his family, and it’s very unfortunate that he has to rely on the rest of them when they neglect him and view him as an unneccessary burden. He’s almost 18, and by getting the doctors’ attention this way they’re considering drawing up papers that put him in charge of his health, rather than leaving it up to my aunt. I love her, but she’s irresponsible and her children can take care of themselves. If Donna ends up in a wheelchair like her brother that is also unfortunate, but I can’t feel too sorry for her since it will be her own fault. Her condition was diagnosed two years ago, but the doctors couldn’t operate because she was too skinny. She’s 18 years old and weighs around 95lbs. She’s had two years to change, but she’d rather eat barely anything and do drugs all the time than bother to get healthy.
The other fun part about all this is that I can’t be entirely sure how much of it is true. The stuff about my uncle is. My dad got to talk to him yesterday. But the rest comes through the family grapevine and since my aunt moved to Ottawa none of the relatives will give my parents her address or phone number. My dad has eight siblings and they like warring amonst each other. Keeping control of important information is just one of the many ways they do things.
Since Mark is one of the few cousins I have that I really care about (seeing as he’s the decent one and had nothing to do with what happened to him) I played internet-phone-search and got my mom their number. I’m hoping that will stop a lot of the bullshit, since my aunt seems to feel guilty when talking to my parents and will probably be a mother and tell the truth for a change. I’m hoping she feels bad enough to actually let Mark on the phone. None of us have seen or talked to him in three years, and I’m sure he needs friends or someone to talk to. He can’t really go anywhere without one of the others driving him, and no one will come over because of what his family is like.
Now that I have an address I want to make him something, but seeing as I don’t know what he’d need I’m at a loss. I don’t want to give him something that would just sit around in a closet somewhere. I’m sure he gets lots of useless trinkets and crap from my aunts as it is. Maybe I’ll corner Bones into giving me some ideas.
On an other-side-of-the-family note, we get to help my grandma with Christmas dinner this year because she fell two weeks ago and broke her wrist. It’s healing well, but she can’t really do much in the kitchen. Emile (her boyfriend) is a great cook, and diabetic so he makes really healthy stuff too. But I still want to help. I hope he doesn’t take over and boot us out of the kitchen.
My parents are considering coming this year. They haven’t done that in at least 15 years that I recall. Probably even more than that. It would be great if they go. It’s a lot more fun when they do. My dad is a riot at family dinners.
It’s all a big secret for now though. My mom isn’t positive yet, and I’m not allowed to tell her mother. Which I see as a problem since if she waits until the last minute there isn’t going to be enough food. If my brother and sister decide to go, and Bones, that adds up to an extra five people. Two of which will eat half the house if we let them.
All in all, the usual fun mess that happens at the end of the year. Complete with the usual dose of drama.