Tag Archives: a family divided

Far Away From “Home”

It’s been weighing heavy on my heart for some time now.

I try to remember what her voice and laugh sound like. I feverishly ruffle through my Photobucket and the pictures she left me before she died just to retrieve a memory I might have filed away for safe keeping. Her birthday was a few weeks ago and I’ve been irritable ever since. What gets me even more is that her niece, who a couple of my cousins called Aunt Cynthia, recently passed away which was another painful blow to my emotional heart.

Lemme explain.

I’m one of eight grandchildren. My paternal grandmother was the glue that kept the family somewhat together. I say somewhat because not all the grandchildren were close to her. My oldest brother doesn’t really “recognize” her as his grandmother. We see differently when it comes to our paternal grandparents. He had Red (our grandfather) and I had Granny. I never really knew Red even though my initials are his initials as well. Granny and her second husband, Emmitt, were my number #1 fans. They were the parents I wished my own to be. They, along with my maternal grandfather, were my everything and I dearly miss the relationship I had with them; which makes me yearn for some sort of relationship with my brothers and cousins.

I think I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I am the only grandchild who grew up in Texas. I’ve missed everything! Graduations. Births. Coming of age parties. Weddings. Funerals. EVERYTHING! Yes I could travel back and forth to California for all of those things but who has that kind of money. We ain’t the Kardashians or the Trumps that can make it rain like a damn hurricane. so did not mean for that to rhyme! If we could, I certainly wouldn’t be sitting where I am now.

I’m not complaining by any means about my current state of living because I’m grateful as all get out but I do want more. I do want to be able to mini reunions between the cousins or spend the holidays with them. It would just be nice to know my family. I just don’t know how to make that happen or even which one of the other seven grandchildren to go to first. Sigh perhaps one of them will read this.

Thanks for reading…

 

The Southern Yankee

Only the Lonely

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Cut Off.”

 

papa and i

I wasn’t even a full-fledged teenager when my maternal grandfather passed away. For roughly nine years of my life, if I was not in school I spent every waking second with Papa (pronounced paw paw). He was the father figure I had wanted my mother’s ex husband to be and the parent I hope to be. He was caring but stern. Fun to be around but let you know when he was mad at you. He made kon’try living fun because we were always doing something. Whether it was bailing hay, driving the tractor to work in the field, planting in the garden, feeding the cows or riding around in his old truck, Papa and I were inseparable. Hell I even sat with him and the other Deacons at church on Sundays. I didn’t care. I was with my Papa and everyone would just have to be okay with it. He was my everything.

But when he passed away, nothing made sense anymore. I felt so lost and confused because I got accustomed to having him around. I remember the day he died so vividly. I remember my aunts meeting me outside when I got off the bus. I remember seeing my grandmother peek her head outside her front door. I remember running in the house looking for Papa and asking my aunts all kinds of questions. I remember that sinking gut wrenching feeling one gets when he or she knows something isn’t right about a situation. I felt angry and cheated out of a life that was supposed to be one of the best ever. He was going to walk me down the aisle. He was going to watch me graduate from high school and college. He was… He was more than my grandfather. More than a father figure. He made everything in my life simple. I never felt like I was a child of a divorced couple until he passed away. I never felt like my life was going to be as hard as it’s been because I just knew he would be there no matter what.

When he passed away, it was no longer LB and grasshopper against the world. It was just me. And I had to conquer the world on my own. No longer would I be able to make him a fresh cup of nasty ass Sanka coffee. No longer would we watch the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and Bruce Lee movies on the old TV with the wooden encasing. Nor would we stop at the little gas station in town to get 25 cent coffee for him and candy for my friends and I. All those things ceased that windy somewhat chilly day in April 1991.

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

Uncle Bigfoot and I

My heart is heavy.

Two weeks ago today, I received an email from my mother saying that my Uncle Bigfoot dude he has massive feet was admitted into the VA Hospital in Houston. She said his blood pressure was over 200 and heart rate was in the hundreds. I wanted to cry because Uncle Bigfoot was more like my older brother than my uncle. we’re literally twelve years and months apart

When my mother and I moved to Texas in 1981, my uncle was fifteen years old and a freshman in high school. We moved into my grandparents house into the small room across the hall from his room where we stayed until I was ten which was around 1988. By 1988, my uncle graduated high school, I started school and he joined the service. Now if I remember right, he joined the U.S. Air Force after Laine (my aunt and mother’s first sister) and Uncle Mike got married in ’86. Or did he just come home for the wedding. I don’t remember much of the eighties.

Either which way, I remember asking to listen the music he liked because “someone had to listen to his music while he was gone.” That’s when I discovered Aretha Franklin the R&B singer, Patti LaBelle, the Gap Band, Kool and the Gang, and The Time. so old skool

I can’t remember when or how old I was when he came back from the service, but it must have been before Papa got sick. I’ve blocked a large part of my life in Podunkville USA out of my mind. When Papa passed away in 1991, everything changed between everyone including between my uncle and I.

During my high school years, my uncle started cooking more. When I say that man can cook the hell out of anything it’s a great understatement. Uncle Bigfoot, Laine and the old battle axe (grandmother) are the main reasons I love food and to cook so much. Uncle Bigfoot is partly responsible for my #phatgurlworldproblems with cheesecake. Have you ever had cheesecake that closely resembles ice cream?

Imagine a thick heavy cheesecake topped with blueberries and frozen to just the right texture and consistency. Did I mention every inch of these 12″ in diameter cheesecakes is homemade from scratch? No? Are you imagining it now? Ain’t it goooood?

¡Ay Dios mío! ¡’tan muy delicioso y riquísimo!!!

Oh sorry. I can smell the graham cracker crust baking in the oven.

Must.

Stop.

Now.

UGH!

——

Fast forward to my sophomore year of Baylor when I became pregnant by my then boyfriend. I remember everyone being so very disappointed in me, especially my uncle. Again, we were more like brother and sister than uncle and niece. But when the news spread about me being pregnant while at a very Southern Baptist school, he became my uncle. No longer did it feel like he was my Mel’s Diner and I was his Ursula which hurt more than anything.

When baby girl was born, my relationship with everyone in my mother’s family became volatile and beyond emotional. Some time after she was born, Uncle Bigfoot was diagnosed with prostate cancer. My heart was broken because even though it wasn’t the same cancer that took Papa away from me, I thought the worst. He didn’t attend my mother and step dad’s wedding. He was too sick. I remember visiting him in the hospital and once at home.

When I graduated from Baylor, I didn’t tell anyone in my mother’s family. The only family I told were my sisters and Granny. Long story short, we just weren’t seeing eye to eye. In fact, shortly after graduation, I stopped talking and visiting my mother’s family. It wasn’t a healthy environment for anyone and I had to protect baby girl from the drama that was guaranteed to ensue if I stuck around.

That was in late 2002 early 2003.

——

It’s been at least eleven years since I’ve heard my uncle’s voice. Fifteen or sixteen years since we got into our usual Ursula/Mel’s Diner argument. Too long since I actually had a decent conversation with anyone in my family.

Too long…. Since we actually acted like a family. Too long since a decent thanksgiving or Christmas.

Perhaps it’s been long enough…

We shall see..

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

Conflicted

Can we talk blogosphere? I mean really and truly talk. Let’s get down and dirty about… Family and the relationships we have and don’t have at the moment.

I received an email from my mother yesterday that was short, sweet and full of ATTITUDE! By attitude, I do not mean sass or snarky ness. I mean anger, hurt, slightly pissed and with a Claire Huxtable side eye. Lemme explain…

I’m horrible when it comes to returning emails and calls. It’ll literally take me days maybe months to respond. Not because I don’t want to or anything like that. I’m just horribly lazy. Now text messages are totally different. I’ll respond via text within seconds, a few minutes or an hour. It’s easier. More simplistic. Less lazy.

Well when my mother emails me, I don’t respond quickly especially if I look at her email at work. I typically wait until I’m at a stopping point or have a break which lemme just say is more often than not since it’s the summer. It has been since Mother’s Day that I have sent her anything. She sent me an email about a month ago that I conveniently decided not to respond to because I didn’t want to answer the question she asked that day. Well a month later here comes the email I got yesterday.

hey Cheycara how are you, it has been a long time since I have hear from you. I remember I ask for your telephone# and you did not respond, but that is ok. Just wanted to let you know that your grandmother had a stroke last week. You take care of yourself. Whenever you decide to respond you do so. Love Mom. Have a great and blessed day. God bless

I responded to that one. The email was short and rather sheepish sounding but I didn’t know what to say. I’ve never really know how to respond when it comes to my grandmother. I’m not close to her. I’ve never been close to her. For whatever reason, she and I never found a common lets all get along type of ground. Our relationship is so disjointed that I literally felt nothing about her having a stroke. Yes that’s rude and mean but what’s the point in faking my emotions? How would me being oh boooo hoooo hoooo about a woman who is your stereotypical “church lady” going to help matters or my mother?

She’s old skool y’all. Nothing I did ever seemed to be enough for this woman. I wish I could explain without sounding like a whiny brat but it’s the truth. After my Papa passed away in 1991, something changed in her. Something changed her view of me. What it was I really don’t know. Perhaps it was the fact I was more like the Latimer side. Perhaps she was angry and hurt I was closer to my Papa than I was to her. I dunno! All I know is that I quickly decided in junior high I wanted to leave home after high school just so I could be free of her. FREE I tell you FREE!

————-

Sigh… She’s been sick off and on for years now. Each time I have not gone to see her. Each time I’m sure my mother has grown more and more upset with me for it. I just can’t fake it. That’s not who I am. I may wear my emotions on my sleeves but only if I feel them which is why I am conflicted.

I feel sorry for my mother because I know she’s hurting and upset that her mother is sick. I get it. I’d feel something awful if my mother was sick and not doing well. But she’s my mother and I love her immensely. I feel nothing towards grandma and haven’t for years. thirteen to be exact Time may heal wounds but it doesn’t allow one to forget. The memories of and emotions from my past are unfortunately at the forefront of my mind hence the inner conflict.

Is that bad? Am I wrong for not having any emotion towards my grandmother?

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee