Hello, there; I wish I didn't have to write this letter but it cannot be helped; as you know, Grandpa Jim passed on last Saturday after a long illness. I really can't put what I feel into words right now; I know that our family is supposed to be good that way but, as you know, we're really not. The best we can do is the sort of pedestrian wordplay that passed for humor in Mom's failed attempt to create the Great Canadian Domestic Humor Strip, "Meet the Yammersons." Why she thought people would want to see a scowling stick-figure with the word "HATE!!!" floating over her head every time someone said something she didn't feel like hearing is a real puzzler. It's, to get back on track, as hard as giving the mix of feelings I have a name. On the hand, I feel sad for Iris, I feel bad that he's gone, I feel remorseful that so many things will never be settled now but I also can't quite feel as if this is real somehow. Pierre, Anthony and Therese all think that the way Farley died is messing with how I react to death; how odd that my expecting death to not be natural is the one thing the three of them can agree on. Odder still is that, on reflection, that they're right.
That leads me to the big problem I have in my life; My brain knows that Anthony means well when he tries to fix things; it's not that I don't appreciate the maid service or the help with the cooking or things. My problem is that he thinks that if the housework is taken care of, all my concerns will magically vanish because, well, he doesn't understand the real problem: I feel like I'm not being taken seriously as a person, that I'm just some unicorn to show off to the world. If he would talk about what's really wrong, I might not be so angry. The disquieting part of our sessions is that I'm starting to accept that he might never see the problem; this is, oddly enough, because I just found out that Therese didn't pay him a dog-gone dime in child support because he took a sarcastic remark at face value. If he can't understand that he's being mocked, it's clear that he needs a minder. For good or bad, that means the unicorn is going to have to get her horn sawed off and recast herself as a draft horse. It's sad that I can't help following in Mom's footsteps but I have no one but myself to blame. The best I can do is to not take out my disappointment on two innocent children.
That's going to be sort of difficult because, as Anthony has told you, he doesn't agree with most of the programs I like to watch with Francoise. He might have mentioned that their lack of scientific accuracy is what makes him nervous but, given how he praises the Friendly Giant and Mister Dressup to the skies, it's clear that the real problem he has is that the characters argue most of the time. He, as I've tried and failed to not realize, hates and fears conflict because he can't distinguish between a minor difference of opinion and full-on mutual rage; the idea that people can agree to disagree on an issue not only doesn't spontaneously occur to him, it bloody well terrifies him. This means that during the commercial breaks on "The Secret Saturdays", "Ben 10: Alien Force" and the rest of Teletoon's Action Force, Francoise and I have to listen to timid suggestions that perhaps there are better programs and nicer ways to settle an issue. This worries me because I remember the same sort of passive-aggressive stuff going on when I was her age; I always thought that the arguments were my fault so I fear for Francie and how this might make her feel. If Anthony wasn't suffering from mind-blindness and could understand how other people feel, I'm sure he'd be just as worried.
Too bad that it's of a piece with his inability to make some noise when he needs to; since he can't, he shoves solution after solution down my throat. It's sort of appalling to realize that I married a man who's a cross between Dad and Rain Man; Anthony isn't a clueless throwback by choice and inclination like Dad was but the same inability to see that emotions matter is present in both men. I just wish the nagging fear that I too have something in common with Dad would go away. That's because of an issue Claire raised a little while ago; she was trying to find out exactly when and how Mom and Dad got together and ran into the same brick wall we all have. If my parents were lucid, they'd probably have handed her the same "None-of-your-business-we'll-tell-you-wh
It's not as if we have time for phantom fathers right now; the main thing is, as I said at the beginning, to give Grandpa the send-off he deserves. I know that I'm probably the last one to talk given my not really being there for him but it can't be helped; I'm the chicken that waited in the car because I couldn't stand to see him in the state that he was. Also, I'd done something really stupid with his harmonica for a dumb reason and I didn't want to face him; I feel like crap that he had 1 and nine-tenths of his feet in the grade before I worked up the courage to settle things. Worse, I can never really make it right because this is real life; April is right to be short with me because there ain't no undo button in the day-to-day world. Too bad that this isn't the only problem; not only is clunky old Anthony going to have to deal with the criticism he fears, hates and cannot for the life of him understand (which, sadly, will lead to a lot of letters about my Stepfordisation when I defend him), we all have to deal with Mom and Dad showing up and making a three-ring circus of crazy and tasteless out of what should be a solemn, dignified occasion. It's bad enough that she's racing around calling Paul Mayes and Ashok Patel "Mike and Lawrence"; turning her loose on a funeral would fall nicely into the category of bad things.
That being said, I've imposed on Mrs Poirier's generosity way too long; James Allen needs feeding, someone needs to make a lame joke about rooting so I'd best be scooting. I'll give you my take on the play-by-play of how Mom ruins the funeral for everyone round about Labor Day; I should stop cursing by then.