Sometimes being surrounded by family feels like being under seige. So later today, when we lay my mother to rest, it will be pretty awful.
First of all, he will be there
. The relative who molested me when I was a teen, our family patriarch, will take his place of honor at the service. This is the last time I will ever have to see him. While I'm sorry that he didn't predecease my mother, it is what it is.
Fortunately, my aunt/godmother
has flown in for the service. She is my dad's kid sister. With the passing of my mother, her last direct tie to my mother's family was severed and so she seemed to be the logical person to turn to in this. She has no divided loyalties. She has promised that she won't let him near me. I explained to her that my Cousin Rose
, the person who may love me most in the world, will be there and has no idea what her uncle did to me. While I have no interest in protecting the old bastard, this is not the time to disillusion Rose or break her heart. Her heart is too dear. So my aunt will simply run interference for me. (Not that it's simple. To me it's a huge relief!)
My older sister is angry at me because I have asked her twice to commit to how much she will help with the $9,615.48 bill that I will be presented with at 3:00 today. I have to put at least $3,205 down today and pay the rest in full in a month.
This is literally keeping me up at night. My mom had no life insurance. If I empty out my savings to pay this, what if I lose my job? It makes no sense to touch my retirement savings because I'll be risking my old age. At first my sister told me that she had to discuss this with her husband. Then last night she snapped at me that we would we do what we discussed -- I would pay for it all of it and she would pay me back. We never discussed that. She told me how upset she was having to fly in and that we would discuss it again when she "can cope." Unfortunately, waiting until I "can cope" is not a luxury I can afford. I'm being handed a bill at 3:00 today my meeting with lawyer to walk me through all this stuff isn't until 3:00 tomorrow. I am terrified I will make an uninformed, stupid mistake that will have ongoing legal consequences.
My mother was not one who believed in organized religion. Her own parents divorced in the 1940s, and instead of being supported by the church community, my grandmother was ostracized as a slut. So my mom had no minister. The funeral home put me in touch with a non-denominational minster who will speak over her. I told him she would want the Serenity Prayer because her mother, an alcoholic, got such comfort from it through AA and so that prayer was a bond they shared. Because my mother loved animals and the outdoors, I requested this verse from Job:
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know, that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."
I asked the minister to tread lightly about my dad, just say that met and married in the same hometown where my mother lived all her life and would be laid to rest. I reminded him over and over not to mention my grandmother's drinking, just that she and her daughter shared the Serenity Prayer. I asked him to mention my mother's brother, the uncle whose death I'm still not quite passed.
But what do you bet someone will be mad at me about the service? I just know that I did something hideously wrong that I will get slammed for.
Oh, well. My aunt/godmother and Cousin Rose will be there. A couple of my longest-standing girlfriends promised to be there. I have friends who promised to keep their cellphones on if I need to run out during the visitation and scream. So I do have reinforcements.
I just wish today was over.
I just wish that instead of this mess, I still had my mom.