Thursday, June 23, 2011

When Hell Freezes Over

It was cold. It was nighttime…It was February, and the roads and sidewalks sparkled ironically with inches of icy death when I got the call.

I lived alone at the time, and a call at 11 PM was totally unheard of. I wasn’t expecting a call, even though the circumstances of the times tempted one. Just…not…this way.

He was getting nasty in his old age, or as some would say, nastier. I blame some of that on the afflictions that were taking away his quality of life.

Sure…He had brought most of it upon himself over the years, but it still sucked.

At this time in his life, he couldn’t really do anything for himself, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for Mom to care for not only him, but her elderly mother as well.

We all tried to help. Most of the time when we did, he would simply yell at us. It seemed to him, that we were sucking up all his air. 

I realized it was mainly the pain and helplessness doing the yelling, but it still hurt.

He was getting sicker by the day…by the hour…by the minute, but…

That never stopped him from playing with his fishing rods. It didn’t prevent him from watching fishing shows on TV (God, how I LOATHE fishing), nor did it prevent him from asking me for a sip of my beer.

“Don’t tell your Mother.", he'd say.

I‘d give him a sip, and never tell, for at this point there was no harm in it. He never asked me for a cigarette (in his case, Camel non-filter), but had he done so, I probably would have given that to him as well.

Anyway…

On the night I mentioned earlier, I had come home earlier than usual from my then boyfriend’s house. I use that term loosely, by the way. God, he was a dick. With him, the red flags were everywhere, but I was young and dumb, and stayed with him for 13 years…but…I digress.

I had gone home early because as I said, it was getting really bad out. I arrived home, and fell into a coma like sleep, and then…

Like a banshee screaming in the night, the phone rang. It was my oldest brother, and he spoke…

“Hey Bethy, this is your brother. Don’t go outside, it’s really bad, but…”

In a quasi-slumbering haze, I interjected…

“Why are you calling so late?" and he replied....

“Your father is dead.”

I sat in silence. I sat stunned. And twenty-three years later, I remember the breathlessness and the vacuum of the pause, and the exact words that followed from my brother…

“Beth, he shot himself.”

And just like that, his suffering was over.

Think I’ll have a beer and a smoke now.

Zoooooves…

18 comments:

IWS Radio said...

Having gone through the same thing. I know how it sticks with ya.

I'll have a beer with ya babe.

IWS Radio said...

Well-written post Schmoop, and dammit, Jayman's comment forced me to recuse myself from making a smart-ass comment. I love you. Cheers my best friend!!

Beth said...

Jay: Aww honey, I didn't know. It truly does blow. Bottoms up!

Matt: Thanks, I love you too.

Raquel's World said...

Woah, did not expect that. The serious side of Scmoop, Beth whoever you are? Lol

Sorry you had to deal with that. You should consider writing about it in Band Back Together.

Question though...In a case like that when someone is suffering so....does it make the death any more bearable? Knowing they are out of pain or does it not matter, because after all they committed suicide?

Evil Twin's Wife said...

That sort of situation really affects the surviving family members. The Evil Twin witnessed his father get shot and killed by his mother - the Evil Twin was 12 and saw the whole thing - However, this was after years of domestic abuse. But, still...no one should have to experience that kind of trauma (suicide or homicide). {{{Hugs}}}

Knight said...

I know that vacuum. I'll tip my can up with you.

Beth said...

Raquel: Thanks. At the time all it does is make you sad and angry. Over the years you come to understand.

ETW: Wow, I'm really sorry to hear about your husbands situation, that's awful. I was not a witness, but my Mother was, and sometimes hurts worse.

Knight: Thanks sweetie!

sybil law said...

Ugh! That is the suck!
xoxo

Beth said...

Sybil: Yea it is. Thanks hon!!

Joker_SATX said...

I bet that hurt to post. Hugs to you schmoop!

Beth said...

Joker: You know, for some reason it felt pretty good. Thanks Joker!

Desert Rat said...

Oh, Beth. Oh, sweetheart, I am so very sorry. I know when you write about something, you are experiencing it again. I hope it was cathartic in a way, but the emotions it recalls have to be horrific. Your father must have been suffering so to take such a drastic step, but as you rightly observed, now his suffering over, but what about everyone he left behind?

Be kind and gentle to yourself. I'll tip back a cold one in your honor. Big hug and love to you, Beth.

Beth said...

Rat: Thanks honey. You're right it was cathartic. After twenty-three years, no one in my family wants to talk about it anymore. It's like they would all just rather forget, you know. I get it, I do. Maybe me being the youngest just took it harder than everyone else. Thanks again, and love to you too.

Lu' said...

Wow Beth, very powerful post; well done.

Beth said...

Lu: Thank you, I'm glad you stopped by!

MysteryChick said...

Wow Beth, I'm so sorry you've had to deal with such a thing. I can't imagine how difficult that must have been but I'm full of admiration for how strong you must be to share it with us.

metalmom said...

Well....shit.

I never knew that was in your past. So sorry....

Beth said...

Chick: Thank you, and here's to strong chicks!!

Metal: Thanks honey. It's been a long time, but I guess it's never long enough.