Monday, June 4, 2012

Goodbye to another family member

My grandparents on their 50th anniversary
No, there hasn 't been a death or anything.  Just a letting go of old wishes and dreams about the close and loving family I wished I had come from.  I really do think I was switched at could I possibly belong to these people?  I'm sure many of you share my fantasy.

I noticed that I had several calls on my cell and a couple of voice mails.  Hmmm.  I didn't recognize the phone number and couldn't imagine who it might be.  Well, lo and behold it was my cousin Dick.

A little back story here to explain our relationship, or rather a lack of one.  When I was a little girl and lived in my Grandmother's house with Dick and his siblings we were quite close.  Since we were closest in age and I was a tomboy we spent a great deal of time together and I idolized this "big brother", much to the dismay of my only girl cousin who desperately wanted to put dresses on me and fix my hair and talk about boys and make up.  I was totally useless to her, but she loved me anyway.

Dick was the nickname for Richard and I always called my beloved cousin Dicky.  We shared the honor of both having our Grandparents names for our middle names, his being Earl and mine being Ruth.  I thought those days would last forever.

But life happens and children grow up and far apart.  During our adult years he transferred to Texas for work and soon became a southerner...complete with the drawl and slow thinking.  Oh my, I really need to get over that stereotype if I'm to become a Texan! Suddenly, being Dick just didn't work any more....especially with the last name of Rhodes.  So he changed his name to Dusty, get it? Dusty Rhodes.  Kind of cute, actually, I have to give him that as I can understand the concept of recreating oneself and have been accused of being somewhat  a human chameleon myself.

But his new attitude didn't fare well with me.  During the summers he and his family would come back to Wisconsin to visit friends and family.  After his parents were both gone the visits seemed to center more on friends.  He would often stop to see my mother and I wouldn't get so much as a phone call, unless she told me he was in town.  I hate the feeling of not existing and spent too much of my childhood with that sensation, so this was a sore point with me.

He continually tried to get me to call him Dusty, but as I informed him one day (in front of his kids who thought it was quite amusing) that "I'm sorry, but you'll always be a Dick to me".  Well, that name has stuck and for good reason.

Last year I was graced with an actual phone call from him to announce they would be in the area.  Finally! I thought.  He has started to give a damn.  I need to explain here that both his parents were gone as well as the untimely deaths of his brother and sister and his children were grown up.  I was the last thing left and apparently was good enough for him now.  I invited him to my sixtieth birthday party.  I never heard from him again.

During this time period one of my other cousins who lived in my home area had a heart attack....a bad one.  The kind where you are pronounced dead and then brought back.  It was a tense time and my cousin Shayna was down to visit him and we were all concerned about whether or not he'd make it.  People don't seem to live to ripe old ages in this clan.  I was hoping Dick would call again so I could let him know about the family calamity, but nada.

Anyway, I forward one year to the morning of the phone call.  The voice mail simply said something along the line  of questioning my intent to become a Texan for some sort of tax evasion purposes.  It was hard to understand and at first I thought he was drunk, but the call was early in the was the drawl thing.  I really hope I don't need to learn to talk like that once I get my Texas residency established.

So, we caught up a little bit and I filled him in on the selling of the house and buying a motorhome and our new life plans.  It's not like this has been any secret, I've posted about it for a long time now and his daughters are all on Facebook and the like.    He's finally taking an interest in me - this is wonderful.

And then the real reason for his call surfaced...he asked if I still had Grandma's cedar chest.  Oh.  Well, I informed him, no I did not.  That was given to Shayna during one of the many times she came my way to visit and help with my sale and deal with my depression over my mother's death.  I'm guessing since it's now June and they generally come up in July, I might have actually been graced with an actual VISIT from order to take possession of the family heirloom.

Well, let's just say that after he learned that the trunk was not available and was safely in Shayna's hand the conversation trickled to an end.  Well, maybe trickle isn't quite the word, more like turning the faucet to close up quickly.  It had the prerequisite southern charm of wishing me well, see ya later....that kind of thing but after knowing there wasn't yet one more thing he could posses there was no time left to chat with me.

Why I remain so gullible and naive I don't know.  This is a tough family to find love in, with the exception of one or two people, and you know who you are.  There's an unwritten rule that "thou must not show open affection" and love is to stockpiled in a vault somewhere, not to be openly tossed about and given away.

It's sad and not the way I pictured a family to be, but it's just the way it is.  Meanwhile I rejoice in knowing that somehow I have escaped the genetic link that prohibits sharing ones affections and delight in the love of those family members who have likewise survived and in the arms of loving friends.  I only wish that he had gotten that same pass but I fear he will always be a man who wants more and is never satisfied with what he currently holds.

So, goodbye Dick.  I wish I could say I'll miss you....but you pulled away from me a long time ago.  I wish you well and hope you find happiness someday.

Long Live the Queen of Being Content with her Life


  1. This post is sad and I wish an apology from me would fix the hurt you've had from others, but I know it won't. We've all suffered so much loss and some can't find peace from that pain. I know you well enough to understand why this is necessary for you. I'll always support you in your quest to find your peace.

  2. Cheryl, thank you for sharing your innermost feelings once again. I can relate to the pulling away from a relative. Distance sometimes is the best healer. So goodbye once again to family who didn't offer the love you so deserve and that you offer to others. Time to hit the road!

  3. This is sad, but for some folks it's a way of life. My mom was one of eight siblings, so with all the aunts and uncles and cousins, you would think that my brother and I would have enjoyed a large family life. Alas, Mom had mental problems that would be like bi-polar, and cut us completely off from the entire family. When I was 40, I met a cousin that I hadn't seen since back in the diaper days. Little by little I met a few more, but they were all strangers to my brother and I and we just couldn't fit in. Sad. However, it really makes me appreciate the loved ones that I have around me now. I hope your day is peaceful. Hugs, Edna B.