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My Long Overdue Tuneup: Winter 2012-Summer 2014

July 7, 2014

My last major update was 3 months after major surgery on my spinal cord/column. It has been 3-years since then, and there has not been much more to report on. One month ago I passed the three-year-mark for physical therapy treatments. I still have issues balancing without falling over and I have developed weakness in my leg muscles. I am taking this summer off from P.T. in the interest of saving money and spending more time outside on the yard and garden.

Winter 2012 sucked. I was jobless without benefits. If it hadn’t been for tutoring we would have frozen and starved. I was then, and still am today, embittered over how the brain trust of St. Agnes School kicked me to the curb during our greatest time of need. 26-years of dedicated service as a teacher flushed down the shitter with the wink of an eye. I never did receive the back-pay I was entitled to. The loss of my income from that school dug a hole for me financially that I am still climbing out of. I was a complete sucker for the 26 years I taught in Catholic Schools.

SUMMER 2012 had its ups and downs. The ups in sequential order are:

1) June 22, 2012 – Joining my friends John, Kara, and the members of RIARG for the cookout to celebrate the passage of their bill into law restoring adoptee access to their OBC’s. It was a wicked good weekend!

2) July 20th, 2012 – Photographing my friend Lori’s wedding.

3) August 6th, 2012 – The ARC Protest in Chicago. Seeing familiar friends while also meeting new ones was the best thing to have happened to me in two years. It was a great trip and a great rally.

The downs:

1) July 16th, 2012 – The loss of our pet bunny, Jewel.

2) July 20th, 2012 – Following one-week later – the loss of my adoptive mom.

My older sister couldn’t be more guilty of killing her if she had she our mom herself.mMy sister had minor neck surgery. To make life easier on herself she sent our mom to our brothers in southern Ohio. I was against it from the start. We offered to take care of her, and make the 2-hour drive to bring her meals and do her laundry every other day. Mom refused. “Cindy says I have to do this, and it will make her happy” was the explanation she gave me each day on the phone. She left for the 10-hour drive on Friday morning. Saturday evening we were coming home from Lori’s wedding when we got the call that mom had been hospitalized. She was severely dehydrated and had stones blocking her pancreas. They were hydrating her and trying to get her blood pressure up so they could do surgery. It didn’t work and she died at 1:00 PM that Monday afternoon.

My sister, who was executor of our parents estate, seized the opportunity to block me out of the estate settlement. She went the whole distance, and was refusing to have a memorial service for mom. I went behind her back, and planned one with our mom’s church anyhow. There was backlash: I wasn’t allowed in our parents house to gather photographs for a slide show without having my sister and her husband standing directly over me. The entire time they bitched about how they had to watch me. *SIGH*

August 25th, 2012 – Mom’s memorial service. It was a hard fought battle that I won. It was short, not many people in attendance, but still it happened! After a brief graveside service, those in attendance reconvened at mom’s church for lunch. Prior to the luncheon was a 10-minute slide show. I had to use my “teacher voice” to get a small crowd of my sister’s rowdy ex-drinking buddies to shut their big mouths for the prayer and slideshow.

There was immediate pay back. Following the luncheon was the clearing out of mom’s house. My sister and her friends got first pick of everything mom had that was of any value. I had to fight to receive back only what I had given her over the years. In a way I’m glad it went that way. After the betrayal of my late discovery adoption I felt completely detached from my family. I left the only family I had ever known with as much as I came into this world with: nothing.

I ignored the phone every time caller ID showed it was my sister. She typically called only to tell me she was having trouble selling the house. No shit, it was a dump – even by Gowanda standards. Ironically the final sale price of the house was the exact same cost my parents paid for it in 1975.

I was excited to get my 1/3 of the estate. It was only a couple of thousand bucks. However, it was much needed considering my joblessness. I was able to fix up a few things around the house. The remainder went into numerous car repairs in 2013.

I would like to invite anyone who is interested to view the slide show I created in memory of mom’s life:

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