We are all dying …
In my Father’s eyes, his Son will never be his Daughter and through my own eyes l will never be my Sister, whilst through my Sister’s eyes l will never truly know what either of her parents mean to her.
We don’t talk like l talk to Suze or even how l write to you all today, infact the last actual one to one conversation l had with my Sister was in 2000 when we were at my Grandmother’s funeral on my Mother’s side. Since then we have seen each other once albeit briefly in 2016, when according to my Father ‘she had been rude about my relationship with Suze, and to how l had managed to find a woman who would love me?’ We have spoken for perhaps 35 minutes in total in those 18 years over a couple of telephone calls where l have tried somewhat unsuccessfully to make contact with her and failed for whatever reason. In the last two years alone we have shared more ‘communication’ via Facebook, even though we are not friends to each other in the application. We live our own lives.
Even when we shared the same house with our parents growing up, towards the later years as l was nearing the time l would leave the family home forever, we were never particularly close.
I am not the dutiful Son, not like other Son’s to other parents, l have never been that family orientated. I have no contact with any of the external family on my Father’s side, and at my own concession l do not frequent my parents homes just for the sake of a casual drop in to say hello. For starters none of us live that close to each other. My Mother is in Guildford in Surrey, my Father lives in Richmond in Surrey and my Sister lives in Sussex whilst l am in Kent. Ironically our two parents live closer to each other despite being divorced for some thirty years, being in the same county. I suppose the fact that we are all in the south is one thing.
My Father has always favoured my Sister, he even once said he wished she had been the first born. There were many times during growing up that when he was drunk, that he would shout out in vileness, that l was not his Son, that we looked nothing alike, that my Mother was a ‘cheating whore’ who sired me with someone else. All hurtful of course, never mind the fact that my Father and l do look alike. He was an extremely unpleasant man when drunk and only a fraction of a step up from when he wasn’t. He was unpleasant to be around.
Over the years he helped my Sister financially enormously and when l heard of some of the things he had helped her with l was astonished. I found out in 2015 that he allowed her use of his credit cards, that he paid for her shopping, that he bought her cars and even paid for plastic surgery on her breasts which did make me stop and ponder as to WHY would a Father do that?? Why could her boyfriend of the time who was earning a very good salary not do that?
I was never jealous or envious or even bitter, l always knew that my Sister was the favourite, it happens that way at times. But l also knew that my Sister could be very manipulative and that if anything she was bound to be playing the have pity on me card which she was very good at.
My Sister always maintained she never saw the in-house violence towards my Mother or myself from Dad, she forgets and chooses to remember what she did see in comparison to what she didn’t see and used that as a get out of jail free card with him, and because he wanted people around him to NOT remember he favoured those who did exactly that. Perhaps if l had been a shallower person, then maybe l would have been a favourite too.
So despite thousands upon thousands of pounds being not just spent on her but lavished upon her, as well as having her kids paid for to go through the right schooling, including RADA for her own daughter, cars being bought and insured and to boot houses bought for her to not even have to pay rent on, she is currently a huge disappointment to my Father for NOT being there at his time of great need. He expects her to simply drop everything and run to his side like a puppy.
I am trying with my Father, l am trying to be a more understanding Son. I may not always like him, but l wouldn’t wish his current plight on anyone, so feel obligated to show concern. I ring him three times a week to see how everything is going.
If you read this series then you will be all too aware that my Father has recently been diagnosed with liver and bowel cancer, and that he is undergoing chemo for it. I rang him this morning to wish him ‘good luck’ with the session of today, for him to turn around and say he wasn’t going. He apparently is not responding very well to it.
“Well that can happen Dad, sometimes it reacts differently to different people. So when are you going?”
“Next week. It’s just a care element, they say there is no guarantee that it will work.”
“Okay, well have they discussed other options with you?”
“We all die Dad, however have your Doctors specifically told you that?”
“No, not in so many words, no.”
“Well not trying to be morbid, but what have they told you?”
“That they don’t know if the chemo will work, but l am to give it time.”
“Well, they should know Dad, l am not a Doctor so l cannot advise you on the process, but l do know each person is very different to the next.”
“Well l am dying anyway, you just said it we are all dying.”
“Yes we are, yes we do, people die, however do you not think and perhaps rightfully so that this whole process if going to depress you? Have they offered you any kind of support counselling? So you can speak about your feelings with someone on a professional level?”
“Yes, but l don’t see the point, what good can they do?”
“Well they can be objective, but can offer support. They will have worked with people in your position for a very long time and may be able to answer questions that you may have.”
“What’s the point, l have only got six months left!”
“Who told you that?”
“No one, l just know. maybe longer, maybe sometime next year.”
“Well surely that alone is better than six months? I wouldn’t jump the gun to your demise Dad, but l would talk to someone about your feelings on this and if that support is offered take it. Dad you know people can get through cancer, but it does not help and l know it must be hard, but it will help you more to try and not think negatively.”
“Well l have to get my affairs in order, my pensions sorted out, my Will, have to try and sort these things out. Listen Rory thanks for trying but you are not your Sister. I am very disappointed with her, you’d think that if you told someone you were dying that they would at least ring you back?”
“You told my Sister you were dying? Even though that is not really the thing that has been confirmed? Tell me you didn’t text her this on the premise of getting a response??? You didn’t text or call me, l rang up to wish you luck and then you told me, but that you actually text her that you were dying even though that has not been said, Dad that’s not right, why??
“Yes, after everything l have done for her, she owes me!!”
I ended the conversation not long after that, saying that as soon as l had the right medication to ease my pain off for travelling that l would come down and see him in the next few weeks. But have come to the conclusion that both of my parents are very bitter people. I have since messaged my Sister and given her the heads up that our Father is extremely morbid currently. I haven’t asked her to call him, that is down to her.
To say that l was astonished is perhaps a given, that my Father thinks he bought her and that she owes him big time, and that he used the Dying card on her to try and illicit a response, and that whilst l am trying to be understanding of him and everything going on, but l don’t think l will ever truly understand him or his motives at all, or for that matter any of my family, they obviously think the same about me. Families, what nightmares they can be!