I just returned from a quick trip for my aunt’s memorial service. I first wrote about it here. You need to skim over that post before you read much further on this one. Don’t worry, I will wait because what follows is….wow, like the title says, I can’t make this shit up.
I decided to go to this memorial service because I had other family members going and I wanted to reconnect with them. They are a gracious, very Christian family. My uncle who is approaching 90 (may I be as spry and alert at that age) and his two oldest daughters were their family’s representatives. The four of us had a wonderful time catching up and I got along famously with them all. We travel together quite well.
If you read the previous post, here are the updates: the missing uncle has been located in an assisted living facility several states away. His loving daughter dumped him there within weeks of his wife passing. An aunt (his sister) has spoken to him several times, but only when his daughter is there and he can use her phone. He does not have a phone. This aunt did not attend the memorial service, however, she and her daughters are planning a trip to check in on the uncle. Good idea.
The main event was the memorial service. It did not disappoint on the drama front. We had a surprisingly large turn-out for my aunt. She had not lived in the area for about five years, but her friends turned out. She had been a popular teacher, so her work colleagues told great stories about her. The service was lovely. Afterwards, we had sweet tea and finger sandwiches of egg salad, tuna and my personal fave, pimento cheese.
This reception is when we learned that the church was being staked out by the police who were waiting for my cousin to leave so they could arrest him. Yep, you read that right. Apparently there was a warrant for my 58-year-old cousin’s arrest. The really twisted part is that allegedly his estranged sister and/or Ex-Wife (apparently the estranged women in his life are besties) tipped off the cops. Yes, they wanted to ruin the memorial service event. They wanted to embarrass the shit out of him. They achieved those goals.
He ended up giving the cops the slip and had an old neighbor give him a ride to the friend’s house where he was staying. We sat at the reception with mouths agape. Everyone let him leave first, so the cops wouldn’t see that the party was breaking up until after Old Jesse James flew the coop.
We (my Christian relatives and I) were suppose to have dinner with him later that day. He called to confirm dinner, picked a place 30 minutes away and then when we were five minutes away, he cancelled. He had decided to turn himself in.
I later found out it was another five hours before he did so, but he did. He was booked and his mug shot wearing the orange jumpsuit is perhaps one of the saddest faces I have ever seen. He looked devastated — like he has hit rock bottom.
My relatives and I hashed this out back at the condo I rented with one of my cousins. These estranged siblings had been slinging mud and accusations at one another and the family has no idea what is accurate. We did agree that there were two sides with the truth somewhere in the middle. Both siblings have their substance abuse issues, relationship issues, and just life issues in general.
Their father was/is an alcoholic, angry asshole. Jesse describes his mom as his protector. My Christian cousins had a lot more visits with this crazy family than I did. I realized over the weekend that my mom really did avoid her family whenever possible. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but that’s another post.
Jesse muttered something about only missing one child support payment, but could that lead to his arrest? His son is now 20 years old and I don’t think that states can imprison people for that. It would be like debtor’s prison. I did a court search throughout the entire state and all that popped up on him were some traffic violations, a Notice to Vacate when he and a girlfriend didn’t pay rent about four years ago and a poaching violation (he loves to hunt). It appears that all monies due for those cases were paid.
Jesse’s woes are simply not my drama. He has caused a great deal of this himself because whatever this is, he has not dealt with it. I am sympathetic, but as I listened to a friend of his who was clearly setting boundaries, I knew I have to do the same.
The other drama that sprang forth during the weekend was my cousin roommate had an emergency with her grown daughter. Her 30-year-old, single daughter was out of town, but was having some severe abdominal pain. An urgicare center advised her to return home and proceed immediately to the ER. Fortunately she was with a friend. Everyone thought it was gallbladder, but the CT scan shows an unidentified mass. Not good. We are all praying, even me. Her mom is quickly driving home to be with her.
I was very proud of myself for 1) bowing my head for the spoken blessings at all meals including restaurants. I am not talking about a soft, quick blessing. I am talking a full-blown one minute session. It wasn’t a big deal to do this in public. We were in the Deep South. I am not a particularly religious person, but I do have excellent manners. 2) When the family patriarch said the female Methodist minister did a very good sermon (she did) even though he doesn’t approve of female clergy, I didn’t flinch. Yes, I was appalled. This man has four brilliant daughters, but he’s ancient. I decided to take a cue for Jesus and turn my other cheek. See the aforementioned reference to my excellent manners. 3) when the drama started unfolded, I sat on the sidelines and watched. Little to no participation. That is a big win.