Afloat in a Boat of Misery


My Dad, in an attempt to put a comedic slant on an otherwise difficult and somber occasion, is currently sitting inside a circa 1990 Egg Nog carton. Painted in red to match the room, he sits there, on tilt, rowing his egg nog boat toward a statue of the Buddha sitting in front of two gold family trees.
A favorite memory on my end, and a seemingly upbeat Up of the Bipolar, the egg nog boat was created for a middle school science project. The project was to make a moving boat out of a paper drink/milk carton. My science partner, Jeanna (a former Mrs. South Carolina) and I crafted the egg nog portion of the boat inside of the home she shared with her parents. Jeanna was absolutely stunning. Her personality matched her beauty. We painted the boat red.
Jeanna and I won the “race” that was held to see whose boat could go the fastest. We were on the news. We’d won the great carton race. My Dad and I had outfitted the boat for speed. He, the boat and I went to a local bike shop in Spartanburg, SC named “The Great Escape.” We sized the boat for a propeller and put a battery operated motor toward the back of the boat for perfect weight.
Other kids showed up with boats with rubber band motors and a penny passenger. Our boat ruled.
11 years ago my Dad, who was manic depressive, bipolar, and married to a woman incapable of expressing love, put a high powered rifle into his mouth in our family garage and pulled the trigger. The word on the small town streets among all of the volunteer firefighters I’d went to high school with was that it was the worst suicide they’d ever seen.
Side note: Ironically, Jeanna’s Mother had committed suicide years before my Dad. Her Mother was in constant stomach pain. Her Mother placed her weapon there.
Painfully I regret that I did not speak to anyone about my Father’s suicide. My Mother never spoke to me about it. 11 years later, she had barely spoken any different. I am unsure if she ever talked to my sister, who is ten years younger than me, about the subject. I have held back the need to deal with my father’s suicide for so long. This year, in a period of warp speed self-transformation and healing, I could bear it no longer to NOT deal at all, which is pretty much how I was able to cope with it on my own. It bred misery. I had to heal this wound for myself and my family.
On May 1st of this year, I woke up, ready to face the misery. Ready to cleanse myself of all things related to the pain and frustration that I’d felt over my Father’s death. How no one talked about it. How my Mother had been sitting for years with her back to the Ashes of him on “her” bookshelf.
My Mother is a Narcissist. She can be posionous. I do not respect her as the good daughter should, because I don’t feel that she has anything else to offer me as a “Mother.” I feel her exuding misery and downright, at times, wickedness wrap around me and the things I love. I mourned for her. I have moved on. When she showed up full of rage to our house hours after I’d left her this message on her cell phone:
“Hey. I just wanted you to know that I have Daddy’s Ashes. So don’t worry. Don’t freak out. They are in good hands.”
I had to look my Mother in the Eye and say to her:
“I have already let you go.”
“You cannot hurt me anymore.”
I have not yet fully mourned for my Father. The time, I thought , had come. I had decided that I was going to move the ashes of my cremated Father from my Mother’s house to our house within the urn (our house is now the house we share with Aunt Bee). I planned to spend time with him there, outside the confines of the house I’d grown up in. Much to my surprise, much less than the gift of healing and understanding was handed to me from my “family.”
My movement was not well received.
My sister became angry. I had to text her to let her know I’d moved the ashes. This is the only way to communicate with her directly, since she’s all plugged in, because it’s normal.
Supposedly she cooked up that I was going to go off and spread the ashes on my own, without anyone. She said that if I did anything with those ashes that she would never forgive me (a threat). Her further communication included belittling me as if she had more family control than I did (attempted to hold authority over me), and then trying to make me feel like a bad daughter to our Mother, who I apparently disrespected by not asking permission to heal myself in my own way, in my own time. “It was not my decision to make” was her final jolt.
I eventually had to tell her that I was no longer going to have a conversation with her through text messaging. She took this as that I didn’t want to talk to her, when ironically, that was all I wanted to do: To talk to her and not text her.
I told her, just before ending the text responses on my end, that if she wasn’t ready to deal with the subject or the topic of spreading the ashes, that it was okay. I wasn’t trying to push her. I just needed time to heal. To deal.
I had stirred the shit pot.
Now the issue was ALIVE, which had not been my intent. I simply thought that if I had a caring and loving family (a bit unrealistic) that they would understand that I just needed time to be with the ashes on my own. I held onto hope that they would trust me to have the ashes in my care. I dreamed that I’d receive family support and understanding as I tried to deal with my Father’s suicide. A dream crushed.
After my sister had fired off a few more hurtful text messages, my Mother showed up to our house. “Where’s my house key?” she said while nostril breathing like a dragon. “Yep, I thought you’d ask for it” I said, because I’d already had the vision that she’d show up to our home angry and ask for it. I shook my head, full of sorrow that my vision/assumptions about her reaction would be right, and returned from our bedroom with the key. “Who do you think you are going into MY house to steal MY HUBAND???!!!!” she yelled. For a moment, the reflection of her psychotic rage leapt out of me through my own angry nostrils, “He’s MY FATHER!” She seemed a bit taken aback to see that I had the power to retaliate her way if needed. Just after I had yelled my retort with crazy eyes wide opened, her physical response spoke to me. She looked down and to the right.
As you can read allll about in The Whoville Chronicles, there is a certain form of crazy disfunction that is evident in my Mother’s side of the family. This crazy had entered our house once before, through my Mother’s brother. My Mother and her brother grew up in a house of dark shadows. They were whipped with a cat of sixteen tails. They were the remaining children in a house ran by a brain damaged World War II Vetran with a metal plate in his head, and a woman who had once lied to her husband so that she could witness her daughter being punished.
After repeated threats to call the cops and tell them that I had stolen the urn from her house, and after numerous repetitive responses of “I had a key” I ended up outside with her. Her yelling volume did not decrease once outside. Nor did it decrease once she realized that she was having an angry fit in front of both of her grandsons.
The short version of the remainder of the attack:
I was called a bitch.
My Mother made it very clear to me that she does not like or care for my husband, the father of her grandchildren.
My Mother looked me in the eyes and yelled “FUCK YOU”
…all in front of her grandchildren.
And the most shocking: “Well guess what? He’s not even your Father.”
I thought I was going to be shedding off one huge issue related to my Father. Instead I had seemed to have gained yet another.
I regret nothing. Amazingly, moving the ashes from one family house to another family house had caused this eruption. This hidden secret? This misery my Mother had been carrying around with her for the past 33 years.
Had my Father (Daddy), been told the truth?
Had his reaction to this truth been suicide?
Was this the truth? Was she just attempting to spread more misery? Was she just angry and saying hurtful things? Essentially, I’ve been mourning the loss of LACK OF family ties, family, love and support from your own blood. The renewed hope for that longing had rejuvenated me.
My Mother is miserable. The blog preceding this one is a letter that I wrote to attempt to heal myself of the pain she has caused me in my adulthood. Her pain, misery, secrets and suffering have tortured her. She has embedded the same self-loathing, torturous nature into both of her offspring. She is manipulative and cruel. She is a narcissist. She has never received the letter (until possibly now).
If she would just have opened up to me, just spoken to me…to SOMEONE about her internal struggles, I might understand her better. Whenever I am around her, I feel her misery drag me down. She doesn’t seem to do it intentionally, but the energy is surely there.
So here I am, age 33, on a fast winding drive toward self-discovery and awakening—Motherless and potentially fatherless.
I feel as if a trip that I took to Texas with a bunch of Diners adorned me with a new sense of freedom and strength. I was among others who cared about and took an interest in our children. There were no neighbors with bored eyes, awaiting stimulus. We felt safe together. I am not sure I could have passed through the first of May 2014 as flawlessly, calmly and effectively as I did without the Diner Convocation’s unseen gifts.
I continue along this strange path I find myself on. A cleansing path. As my family and I sat on the deck of the Toothstead, we learned the news of Michael Rupperts’ suicide. Again, the twinge of pain and sickness over not dealing with my Daddy’s death turned my eyes toward the earth. We returned to SC at the end of my Dad’s birth month. After this and a few other tangled unsolved mysteries of the inner workings of my mind, I began to deal with my Father’s suicide and how it had affected my life. I was tired of cringing each time I heard the word “Suicide.” I was tired of transferring my pain over to my husband and our children unintentionally. I was ready to take the time necessary to be confident and to care for myself.
The fire has been lit although the ashes have not been spread. I must be present and open and willing to listen. To learn. To change. To grow.


7 responses »

  1. Two things…

    Number one, the man who helped you build that boat WAS your Daddy, whether he donated the DNA or not. You know that.

    Two…the Daddy in me wants to give you a big Daddy hug. What you’re doing is the kind of work that’s really important. It takes a lot of courage, and I’m proud of you.


    • Thank you, Eddie. You made me a bit teary eyed. I’ll get that hug from you soon 🙂

      You are a great man and from what I’ve seen, an even greater Father. I’m proud to know you. Your children are now strong adults. You should be proud of the job you’ve done for them, from where I sit.


  2. Pingback: Afloat in a Boat of Misery | Doomstead Diner

  3. Haven’t posted before, but I just wanted to give you encouragement – that’s a courageous journey you’re on! Sounds like your Mom is a real narcissist (mine is), and in that case, has no real love to give – she just can’t (not that you should put up with the abuse she dished out). If you haven’t read “The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists” (I forget the author), I recommend it as very well and clearly written – both for you and to help you explain your mom to others (most people simply don’t believe a narcissist does those things, esp. if she/he is charming near strangers). If there’s any chance to give yourself the support of a therapist or counselor, it just really helps to have someone able to sit in a room while you fall apart (I have been both a therapist and a therapy patient, so I speak from experience), whom you don’t have to worry about “breaking” with the pain of your pain, if that makes sense. Go slow and don’t push yourself to breaking… it takes time, and repeated encounters with our pain to have it heal… but it is a wonderful experience to be able to say, “hey, I couldn’t have handled that a year ago”… hugs.


    • Cathy, it has been a wild ride. My mother is INDEED a narcissist. A storytime Mama that I encountered told me about this site:

      She told me about it months and months ago. I just now ran a search for the site. Your comment reminded me, so thanks for commenting 🙂 Thank you,also, for your recommendation of the book you posted.

      I have not had the chance to speak with a therapist or counselor. My husband helps a lot with that. He really listens. Intently. He asks the hard questions. He makes me face the truth. I believe that we ALL should have the chance to speak with these doctors of the mind. I wish I had my own personal psychologist on call at times…

      Unfortunately the mind is often overlooked. Prescription meds do not heal these issues. They mask them. My husband hates to see me in pain, but ironically, he lacks empathy because he has Aspergers, so he can often pull me through the tough times by offering logical healing.

      Going slow is good advice. All in good time. Repeated encounters…sheesh…I wish that were not to be the case of my future, but I know that repeated encounters WILL happen. The misery will continue to be spread. I must be strong.

      “Hey, I wasn’t that strong a year ago…” I have felt that 😉 Thank you for your encouragement and kind words.
      *hugs back


  4. Happy Gypsy Mama Day! Here’s to creating and sustaining your own traditions, rituals and beautiful memories wrapped in your new family’s love. I feel so lucky and honored to have found you at “the diner”, selflessly sharing your thoughtful journey through your love for nature and your young family. Good people are hard to find in our everyday lives; thank you so much for your blog. Let ‘the boys’ care for you today. :^)


    • Thank you for commenting, especially on Mother’s Day… during a VERY trialing day in dealing with my own Mother! 🙂 No happy happy holiday for me!

      Your words are encouraging. Thank you. We are growing, together.

      I have always enjoyed being just outside the realm of ordinary. I never really expected that our extraordinary journey would be quite as self-propelled as it has been. It feels good to heal. The pain hurts, but this work is necessary and the path ahead of me is clearing.

      I’m glad that we’ve connected through the Diner. That forum really sent me into a warp speed of self discovery. Great people there too. People that I love. People that became real, live and in person just months ago. People that care. It was a much needed meeting.


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