My “grieving himself to death” father is messing with my happiness this week
I know, I know. We’re responsible for our own happiness and people can’t “make” us feel a certain way but seriously, I’m so sick of being his whipping boy and him expecting me to allow my son to spend all of his free time with him, just so he won’t feel lonely.
He has spent the last nineteen months doing his best to win some imaginary “Most Grieving Husband” award. Spending time with the kids and grandkids helped ease his mind and kept him from going insane from the deafening silence of their home.
BUT he began to take it for granted that Travis would be spending time with him. It’s one of the reasons why I quit homeschooling. He figured it wasn’t as important for Travis to be at home for his lessons because, after all, one of the perks of homeschooling is being able to do your lessons from anywhere.
We’ve fought repeatedly over all of this – I told him that I lost my mom but I wasn’t losing my son too, just because he lost his wife. It’s not healthy for Travis – or my dad, for that matter – to spend so much time at my dad’s where he sits and plays video games all day, eats tons of junk food and sits up all night. Sure – these are normal things you do at your grandparents house but not on a constant basis.
Travis comes home from his house and is lazy, disrespectful, rude, mean to his sisters, crabby, etc.
My dad expects to be able to pick Travis up on Friday and us not get him back until Sunday evening. Over the summer, I’d say that Travis spent at least 75% of it at my dad’s house. My dad and Travis have always been really close – he was Travis’s primary caretaker the first six months of his life while I was in school and working. BUT my dad has ELEVEN other grandchildren and doesn’t push for this much time with any of them, including my other two children. He’s reaching the “Single White Female” stage, as fucked up as that sounds.
Anytime we try to plan something for the five of us to do as a family it’s “Well, I would’ve liked to go but I guess I’m only here for your convenience” or “I guess you just want to abandon me.”
Now that school is starting again, I’ve been trying to get Travis back on schedule. My dad was FURIOUS Sunday because he came over for dinner and expected me to allow Travis to go back home with him and then he’d bring Travis home Monday evening, to prep for the first day of school/orientation. I told him “Absolutely not. He needs to stay home.” My dad started with his routine of “Sheeeeila. C’mon. I’m lonely….he enjoys spending time there…..etc” and I stayed firm. Then he threw in his usual pissed off reply of “Of course he needs to stay home – you must be awfully lonely here without him, just like we are.” (Two of my brother’s live at home with him still.) On the way home, he told my brothers “If I had known she wouldn’t let Travis come home with us, I wouldn’t have bothered going to her house.”
Now he is refusing to speak to me. I was supposed to go with him to his Medicare hearing (he turns sixty-five in November and is applying because he doesn’t have private insurance because his retirement insurance expired). He had my brother call me to tell me he didn’t want me to go with.
As well as refusing to speak to me, he’s also now posting things on facebook about how no days matter anymore, without Jimmie Ann (that’s my mom)….including “her” kids’ and grandkids’ birthdays. That’s awesome because my birthday is Friday.
In the past, when we’ve had these fights, he’s also posted how he was going to have a bonfire with all of my moms things and pawn all of her jewelry because none of us deserve it.
I’ve noticed a pattern. He does really well for a while (when I’m letting him have carte blanche with Travis) and then goes off on a bender, saying he’s going to go get drunk and burn everything, blah blah blah and posts cruel and embarrassing things all over facebook (when I put my foot down and keep my kid).
In observance of this week’s challenge, I’m mostly just venting right now – not really looking for advice. I’ve tried letting him have his way; I’ve tried putting my foot down; I’ve tried being patient; I’ve tried being understanding; I’ve even tried being blunt to the point of almost cruelty. And yet, the cycle continues. Short of never speaking to my father again, I don’t really know what to do.
I’m embarrassed, again, and heartbroken.
Happy Birthday to Me.