And Then There Was Me

As usual, there has been a large lapse in my weblog entries. Equally, as usual, I was waiting for a time when my spirits had risen enough to convey an uplifting message, and have fallen short of that goal. I am still stuck in the deep despair that seems to have been my on-again, off-again adulthood companion. It has been so long since I’ve felt joy or happiness (or whatever synonym you choose for that feeling) that I have forgotten what it felt like.

I believe that the tipping point for compelling me to make this entry was the strange meeting I just experienced this evening with my brother David. From the Boise, Idaho area, he and his son Jake were on their way to spend Thanksgiving with their daughter Janae, son Wade, and their families in Kamas, Utah. They stopped over at our mother’s apartment in Layton, Utah, for a visit. My family and I were there picking up a sleeper sofa that we will use when my wife Shu Mei’s mother, sister, niece (and baby boy) come to spend a month with us in a couple of weeks.

It was a chance encounter between my brother and I. We exchanged pleasantries, and I remembered why it was that we never got along. From my viewpoint, David is arrogant and unwilling to develop a brotherly relationship with me and has been such throughout my life. I have longed for the closeness of a brother. To that end, I have encouraged my sons Billy and Tyley to nurture that sort of thing. Sadly, mostly due to the older one Billy, they never got there. They did manage to get closer than David and me, though. They have moments of joined delight and share some fond memories of time spent together. David and I have none of that.

The best memories I have of David was when he took me to see the movies, thrice (Jaws, Star Wars, and Fantasia). Nothing of note stood out on those occasions, just the movies. Otherwise, I don’t remember a time David was nice to me. On the contrary, he has been frequently mean to me. He belittled and teased me throughout my childhood. He even enlisted his future wife Jena into the degradation. I remember we had a  water fight that began playfully when I was an adolescent and then turned into Jena pinning me down and prodding her finger into my chest and forehead while exhibiting anger. I don’t know what spurred that on but steered clear of her from then on. Both of them having a mean streak doesn’t help me foster goodwill with them. It is just a longed-for relationship that never came to fruition, one more misfortune to throw into the backpack of misery I’ve lugged around for decades.

There is so much more to tell, but I’ve digressed enough. Anyway, I found myself sitting there listening to David more than speaking. He’s that way. He will listen to people that he respects for hours on end, but to me, he doesn’t (respect or listen to). He kept bringing up God into the conversation, three times I counted. I am a recent atheist and have come out as such to Jena, who undoubtedly passed that on to David. In the conversation, he acted as if everyone in the room shared his belief, speaking of LDS gospel as if we all accept it as truth. However, in truth, Billy is an atheist, Tyley is an agnostic, and Shu Mei is… I have no idea what she is. (She won’t talk to me about her belief or lack thereof.) In that room, only my mother shares David’s belief, to what extent I have no idea as neither of them is well-informed as to their religion. Because David is a pharmacist, I asked him if there is a happy pill, because of my deep depression. He said there definitely is, that one just has to find it through a doctor trying different prescriptions. I asked about ecstasy because I’d read it makes people feel happy. He said it is highly-addictive, to which I questioned what is the harm in that if it doesn’t hurt the body. He countered that it does indeed hurt the body, which is something I find highly-plausible as most illegal drugs do that.

Then, David said that happiness is a fleeting thing, that it is joy which is eternal only comes from the Lord, as we all know. It was this fourth mention of God that made me finally feel the necessity to respond. I asked if joy was what He was giving when He told His people to bash the babies heads upon the rocks, kill all the men and women, and save the virgin girls unto themselves. David raised his voice and said that I do NOT say such things while he is in the room! I laughed and asked him why he was allowed to talk about that stuff, but I couldn’t. He reiterated in a staunch, elevated voice that I shouldn’t laugh or talk anymore! Later, Tyley said he thought David was going to hit me. I had been wanting to leave before that because it was getting dark and I don’t drive well at night. So, I took that opportunity to leave with my family, commenting on the way out that I hope he is happy with his fantasy. He retorted that he knows where I’m going after I die. I said that I’m going to the same place as he is, nowhere. We left. As we did, I hoped that my family could understand what a hardship it has been for me trying to find love in such an ill-tempered brother as David. Perhaps they can combine that experience with the fact that he moved far away from our family after my father passed away, and didn’t attend my sister Julie’s funeral last month.

I find myself now with a wife that shows nothing but disdain for me and two teen sons that are likewise. I did reunite with my son Cameron from my first marriage. That is a bright spot, but I have even found that to be unsatisfying. Cameron had a sad story to tell me about the time we’ve been apart. He seems to have taken the initiative to contact me from an unfounded belief that his experiences with his ex-wife are parallel to mine with his mother. Reality is that we are not of the same mindset. I was cruel to his mother in an Archie Bunker way, whereas his relationship with his ex-wife appears to be of a different sort. Still, I am glad he contacted me, whatever the motivation for so doing was.

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