Thank you all for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. It's getting close to my birthday, and my mom would always call on my birthday. Of course it wasn't a "birthday call," but it was always meaningful, so I am feeling a bit blue this week. Couple that with the fact that the anniversary of my Mom's death is a couple of weeks aways, I am a cauldron of swirling emotions.
My aunt called the next day, and let me know that the Vanderbilt neurologist (she was considered the leading expert in brain aneurysms in the south at the time) concurred with the opinion of the Memphis neurologists, and said that there was virtually no hope of her regaining consciousness. The blood vessel that ruptured did so much damage that only the machines were keeping her alive. My aunt, speaking for my father, who at the time just couldn't speak without losing control of his emotions, explained that they decided that it was best to remove her from the life support, but that they he wanted my input. Though I had differing views, I did not wnat to bring an uneccessary burden on to my father by being a dissenter on this issue, so I gave my approval to the decision. I asked that the telephone be laid by my mother's ear so that I could at least tell her goodbye and that I loved her, just on the off chance that she had some consciousness. I wanted her last thoughts to be that her son loved her and appreciated everything that she did for me. My aunt did so, and I said my peace. My aunt picked up the phone, and I asked to speak with my dad. I told him that I would handle everything, and that he should only be concerned about getting mom home for the funeral. He stated that he was going to cremate her, and bring the ashes back, and I agreed with him. That was what she would have wanted.
Before I go on, I want to tell you a bit about my mom's final hours on this earth. The bus was filled with other Dubs, as they were going to Bethel. During the trip, the various Dubs were giving their experiences. It was my mom's turn. My aunt told me that she said, "Then I met Kenyon (My dad)." Took a deep breath, and passed out. Simple as that. The driver radioed for a police escort, and one of the passengers, who was a nurse began CPR. They got into Memphis, and made the final determination. If there is such a thing as a "happy death" I believe my mom had one. She had always wanted to go to Bethel. Though she was in New York City for the last big International convention in 1958, she never got to go to Bethel. So she was accomplishing a huge dream in her life. That, and her last words were about the love of her life, my dad. I honestly believe she died happy.
Back to the story. The next few days after my mom's death are a blur. I began calling everyone I could think of that knew my parents. Money and food began pouring in. Not from the Dubs, but from my church family. And I am not talking about $20s. I got $100 handshakes. Checks for hundreds in the mail. All told I recieved nearly $2,000 from my church family. These are not rich people. Most of them were drug addicts, gang members and prostitutes in their prior lives. Most have large families, but they gave. I had enough money to fly back to New Mexico. My then wife, was going to travel back with her parents in their camper. I got to New Mexico two days before my dad, and I spent those two days making sure that everying at the Hall was prepared for her memorial service. I went to the various members of the business community that my dad had dealt with and informed them of her death, and when the memorial service was to be. I went to the Chief of Police, who my was studying with, and asked if the police department could lend a hand in traffic control. I spoke with a Dub that owned a hotel and motel, and asked for discounted rates for the people that would be coming in from out of town and state. He complied. Needless to say, both of his hotels were packed out two weeks later, for mom's memorial.
All except my mom's oldest brother, and his children came for the funeral. They had just buried my aunt who finally succombed to a long bout with breast cancer. They simply no longer had the emotional strength to go through another memorial. It was understandable. It was during this week, that I gained the resolve to never go back to the J-Dubs. I had gone to New Mexico, with mixed emotions. I felt that my actions of fading and becoming a member of another church had placed undue strain on my mom, and that this caused the aneurysm. I spoke with her doctor about it, and he said that was not the case. These things just happen, and that there was no way of knowing. I still questioned God. I was mad...no, I was PISSED OFF at God! I remember driving to various secluded spots to pray and ask God for strength and understanding. I was at the end of my rope, and I was in the middle of a second crisis of faith. I was teetering on the edge of going back to the Dubs, in spite of all the prayers, and support I recieved from my church family, I was drawn back to the familiar of the Dubs. I had decided at that point to leave my church and go back to the Dubs. Then something happened. Something that made me see them, the Dubs and my Dub family for what they are. People that only care about appearances, and could not care less about the emotional traume a person is going through.
I had been gone a good portion of the day, and during my time away, two of my Dub uncles (Chuck & George) arrived with their tribes. It seems that my dad (at a prior time) had spoken to one of my uncles (Chuck & the only other elder in my mom's family) about the situation I was in, and he took it upon himself to talk to my other uncle (George, who is a joke) about me, and the two of them decided that they wanted to confront me about my fade and church membership. I pulled into the driveway, and walked into my dad's house, and started to make me sommer dinner, when the two of them came in and wanted to talk about things. I supposed thay wanted to talk about the memorial arrangements, so I got my notebook with everything, and sat at the dining room table with them and began to explain the memorial. "No," Chuck said, "that was not what we want to talk about." They wanted to talk about my new religion. The memorial would take care of itself, besides, he said, "Your mother is dead, and the service is not going to benefit her at all." It was at that point that something sprung inside my soul. I stood up, and looked Chuck dead in the eye, and said, "How dare you say something like that about your sister! That woman cared for you! She cared for your brats, and she cared for your b*tch of a wife, when her dad died, and you have the audacity to sit in her home and speak of her in that manner?!" What is more," I said, "how dare you think that you can talk to me like I am some ten year old kid that doesn't know $*&t from shoeshine." I then preceeded to really tell them off. They left the house shaken, but undeterred. They both came to me again after the memorial to do the same thing, and got a much more levelheaded response, but just as scathing response.
Long and short of the story, is simple. We packed out my old Hall. We had to set up speakers outside for the over flow. The recieving line at the end of the service took nearly two hours to mill through. In looking at the guest book, we had over 500 people. My dad recieved about $750 from the dubs, and over $1500 from "worldy" business associates. mind you the Dubs outnumbered the "world"by 10 to 1, but outgave the Dubs by over 4.5 to 1 (including my church family, which I gave the remainder to my dad after I paid for my airfare). The giving did not stop their, when I got home, I had a check for $3,000 in mail mailbox. I had taken a one month leave of absense from work. One of my co-workers, was a member of my church, and told the leadership, and they came through with that to assist in paying my expenses. Now the Dubs had been out given by over 8 to 1. Something I later pointed out my my then wife, and my father.
When everything was finally settled, and my dad was back to work, I flew home. My then wife, picked me up, and took me home. I spent the next ten days in bed, and the next six months in depression. I was totally exhausted. I felt I had to be strong for my dad, and for the family. I did not want anyone to see me grieve. I stuffed my emotions down the deepest and darkest hole in my soul. They finally caught up with me when I got home. I thought I had broke something, because I could not cry. I shut myself off from everyone. I did not want to have to be responsible again, and I acted in a rather irresponsible manner. I sank to the depths of destructive behavior that I will not detail here. Finally, my then wife, called my Pastor, and asked him to interviene in the path I was on. She knew I would have nothing to do with the Dubs, especially after I told her of my uncles' actions. She had tried to get me into counselling, but again I wouldn't have it. She had no other choice, if she wanted to change my self-destructive behaviour.
The intervention was held, and I eventually got the counselling I so deperately needed. I moved with my life, and that is a story for another day.