Goodbye Dad

Don’t get excited. When I left, he was fine. This is just what I left on my bed for him, with his keys.

And if anyone has any fucking questions, I photographed the fucking thing, too.

12 May 2024


Yes, I’m gone.

I wanted to wash the sheets before I went, but the situation didn’t seem to allow it. I did at least remake the bed [with the other set of sheets].

I also wanted to do that trash can swap for you, and then I thought about it. And then I got mad. I don’t want to keep doing and undoing and redoing pointless things for someone who turns around and calls me slow and stupid and doesn’t even like me.

Your words (“I don’t like you”). And no, that wasn’t the B&C [bourbon & Coke] talking. I don’t think I could ever believe you actually liked me. You just happened to say the quiet part out loud that one time.

And now we need to set a few things straight because there won’t be another chance.

I know and understand a lot more than I let on. Two reasons. One, you often get angry for irrational reasons. Two, everything I say you have got to get nasty about it. If I am just going to be told I’m stupid, there is no point. And the actually stupid part is, sometimes you are dead fucking wrong, and I find myself nodding along or yes-sir-ing or saying nothing because there is no point. You will not be persuaded.

I am not stupid. You hate my smarts. You cannot possibly come up with a good excuse for that. I did not force my brain to be like this. It’s like hating me for having two arms. You know, you are no dummy yourself. You need to find better uses for it than putting people down, or slowly poisoning it.

About the job thing: I am not leaving because you wanted me to work. That is an entirely reasonable request. I am leaving because you said “do something” and when I did, suddenly it was “no, not that something.” You literally wanted me to leave for having no job when I had a job. You didn’t say I had to make five hundred a week. When I was last here and said I couldn’t settle for low wages, you thought I got too big for my britches. Now I’m bad for making low pay. You know what? I don’t need this. I am under too much pressure already, and the people who should be in my corner want to take potshots at me. That is bullshit. I never did that to you and trust me, I could have. You gave me lots of material.

You lectured me about your post-Navy working life. Yeah, I had a job right after the Army, too. It lasted two years and then the Army made my husband move. The number of times I lost a job due to a man is not zero and is greater than one. I also had more responsibility for my children than you ever had for yours because women have to pay for someone to mind our kids. You were pretty much constantly employed. I was out of the workforce for 17 years. Do you really think I had the same chances in the job market as you? Based on what?

My situation is worse than you want to believe. I could make $50k a year for the next 17 years, which is how long I have, and it would not be enough. Maybe if I only lived to 70, but not otherwise. Your side of the family might only make it to 70 or so, but Mom’s tends to get into the high 80s.

And I can’t make $50k a year, so there’s that. I’d be lucky to crack $25k.

So, two things are true: (1) I need to retrain into something higher-paying. (2) It needs to be something a sick old lady can do, because I will not get to quit.

And don’t act like this is some special failing on my part. Lots of middle-aged women go through this. The only ones not suffering in this way are some degreed professionals (lots of them are broke too) and women living with a man. That is not “doing well.” That is walking a high wire without a net. These women don’t have money either. Their boyfriends and husbands do.

I should have been able, two years ago, to work through my grief and then figure out a game plan for my situation. Matt was sending me $600 a month. It was the perfect time. You just could not let go of your burning need to boss around the stupid person. You think you’re angry? You have no idea what I have been carrying around for fifty years. I had to burn through resources I should have conserved, like my car, because you got mad every time I looked at a screen. That was not “help,” Dad. That endangered me. If I were half as stupid as you think I am, I would be dead now.

As for your grandchildren, I only “lost” one of them, and you can thank my ex’s family for that one. Would you have helped me get a lawyer? No. I never lost custody of the other, because for once Matt didn’t do the asshole thing. Lazy, I guess. She was almost 17 anyway, which puts me well ahead of you when you ditched D.R. [my brother Doug] in 1992.

How much of your beef with me is just anger at yourself?

Probably a whole fucking lot.

I can’t help you. Only you can, and you won’t.

Enjoy your solitude again. Wear your Life Alert.