Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Imaginary To Real Life Heroes (Part Three)

Years passed by with no change in the scenery. We became 'The Help' as soon as we hit a certain age or height. I didn't mind doing chores etc. but when the son and nieces had you at their beck and call, resentments started to infilitrate before resentments were fashionable. To this day, I am very finicky when it comes to doing laundry. Everything has to be separated properly, the whites have to be bleached and grunge clothes do not get mixed in with the office duds. I had the, "Do it right the first time" drilled into me as soon as I was old enough to push the lawn mower. And a friend of mine still teases me about the number of cleaning products I have on hand.

At some point, my father re-entered the picture. Let's just say that his rooming house didn't allow day passes. He worked his way into the good graces of the Family Services Department and he was now allowed visiting privelages. We didn't know any better at the time and were grateful for the brief respites. However, the visits became farther apart or, the phone would ring at the last minute, cancelling it altogether. He now had a new family to take care of. He remarried a nice woman who had 5 kids of her own and now we had a new half brother. My sister was of age and was living with them for awhile. She married, far too young and began creating a mess all on her own. But we were not part of my father's long term plans. Not at that time anyway.

More time passed, visiting resumed and there was a new woman in his life who had 2 daughters of her own. Then the shock of a lifetime hit. He wanted to know if we wanted to be part of a family together. Dumbfounded my brother and I agreed. Believe me, if I knew what the future held in store, I would have stayed put. Anyways, in order to make this happen, we had to go to court so that my father could get official custody of us. My mother was supposed to appear just in case she contested and then we would be given an option. I don't think I ever prayed so hard in my life for anything. I kept hoping beyond hope that she would stroll in the court room and put an end to this nightmare. It didn't happen. I was about 14 going on 15 at the time.

It lasted 8 months. My brother was placed in a boys home. I didn't know why at the time but believe me when I did find out why I would have locked him up myself. The woman my father was with and her 2 girls decided enough was enough and she was leaving my father. We talked privately and she offered me an out. She gave me $20, a phone number and an address where I could meet up with her if I wanted to. Recognize the hero aspect. My father eventually passed out drunk and I crawled out the basement window where my bedroom was located.

I met up with my 'Stepmom' and eventually, she found a place in the same city I grew up in. Returning to my former high school, having had a little normalcy, life began aknew. She helped to get me a part time job where she worked and I became a big brother to 2 younger sisters. It just felt surreal. But again, it didn't last. I woke up one morning to find my father back into the fold and was told that he was moving back in. I walked into my bedroom, filled a bag with a few things, grabbed my chequebook and walked out the door and didn't look back.

My friends mother, the Chihuahua lady, helped get a room with her sister and her sister's husband. From that point forward, I would go it alone. I was 15 years old. Many years passed and I was learning how to survive. Made mistakes. Still do. Willing to make more if necessary so long as I learn something. I don't know why I never tried to create a relationship with my mother. Too bitter I guess. I did visit her though and remembered her birthday and Mother's day but not all the time. It was like I was somehow making her pay when that wasn't really what I wanted to do at all. I found out some things but being cautious, I knew there was two side to every story.

Years rolled off of the calendar the way you would see in an old black and white movie. I moved out here to Ontario and began a new life, so to speak. My sister was living out here at the time and we reconnected for awhile. Then lo and behold, at my sisters request, my mother found her way out here. She tried to adapt but there were control issues between her and my sister. I acutally thought there would be blood shed.

My mother had a drinking problem but I didn't really know to what extent. I had often see my mother drinking and there were times where she became an embarrassment. Eventually, she found an apartment of her own and for a time settled in. It didn't last long as she missed her old haunts and her friends from Montréal. When we didn't hear from her for a few days, my sister went over to check up on her only to discover that she bolted with only a small suitcase and what ever money she had. That was the last time I saw my mother before seeing her in the hospital. I did talk to her briefly when I told her that I was going to see a psychiatrist.

She told me it was a load of crap and that I didn't need to do that. I guess I felt otherwise. I eventually teamed up with a counsellor and he told me that if I wanted to get better that I would have to make a decision and it may mean cutting off all ties with family and friends until I was comfortable again. And that is what I did, but not without regret.

(to be continued)


Anonymous said...

Yeah Bogey! You are one tough guy!

Lori ann said...

And brave and compassionate. I hope you don't have any more regrets Bogey, I wish for you only blue skies ahead.

Natalie said...

Ah yes, i understand that bitterness, and moving around at an age that is far too young to do so.