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07/10/2005: "visitation, unrelated pet peeve"

Today was the visitation. It was very intimate... there were only seven of us, including my son and daughter. My daughter took it quite well - she was a little bit scared at first (although she was still smiling), but after a while sort of warmed up to the situation. The gummy bears and cookies probably helped.

After the visitation, it was decided beforehand that we would go to dinner to one of her favourite restaurants, which also happened to be quite close to the funeral home. From that point, the evening unwound fairly predictably, leaving me rather aggravated. (Having no patience, it takes less these days.)

When it comes to dinner involving my father-in-law, he is Lord and Master. He'll order when he's good and ready, and unfailingly will have a couple bottles of wine with dinner, and then savour ("savour") an after-dinner liqueur for a good hour or two. Of course, he's entitled to it. He's paying, today he's mourning/celebrating a life, and at his station in life it's his perogative. Unfortunately, that totally ignores the fact that we have a 4-year-old fireball with us, plus a now 1-year-old (today) boy that doesn't like to sit still, and that we're totally unprepared to feed and entertain for 3 hours in an upscale restaurant.

Long story short, I went for numerous walks with my son to give him a change in scenery, and waited outside at least an HOUR with my son and/or daughter waiting for the boozing patriarch to finish up. Were I not the designated driver (voluntold, as opposed to asked) I would have left an hour and a half earlier with the kids to get them to bed at a normal hour.

This wouldn't piss me off so much if it didn't happen EACH and EVERY time we go out to dinner with him. And I'm not placing all the blame on him, my wife has to take some of it as well. The kids are ours, and I shouldn't be the only one looking out for their well-being. Their happiness and contentment immediately percolate to the rest of us, as well as the people around us at the restaurant. I hate being the parent with the screechy overtired kids, and it takes some very simple planning to avoid that. Why said planning is not only not done but blatanly ignored when the F-I-L comes around, I don't know. That's going to be a topic to talk about when we all get home.

Slowly, my wife and I are talking more. It's still quite superficial and fleeting, but magnitudes more than we've done over the past week. Recovering from this is going to be a process on more than one front. At least I've got some good motivation to open the lines of communication. I just have to make sure I don't vent on her.

Replies: 4 Comments

on Sunday, July 10th, Catherine a.k.a Auntie Meow said

Hello My Dear Andrew,
Responding to a blog is not something that I ever thought that I would be doing but here I am because I could not NOT reach out in response to the pain that you are feeling and expressing.
Your current reality is so profound and complex and is further compounded by the fact that you are part of, yet separate from a family history and reality that has been decades and even generations in the making. You cannot nor do you need to know the past happiness, sadness, pain, anger and regret that are impacting on Dwight, Lisa and Jannette's response to this loss. You do need to know that in this situation you are there to be the person Jannette saw when she chose you to be her partner and the father of her children. She desperately needs you to be strong, patient, understanding, dependable and totally accepting of whatever happens, because frankly - she doesn't understand a lot of what is going on right now.
Yor are right - her role as your wife is very low on her list of priorities right now and that is understandable and predictable. Jannette is firstly a daughter as she tries to cope with the impact of her mothers absence. Secondly, because Jannette is so loving and sensitive, so caring and nurturing, she is responding to her father and Lisa and I am sure probably trying to anticipate their needs and comfort them. Of equal importance but in a separate column is her role as mom to Isabelle and Isaac - and here is where your presence as the man she chose to be father to her children is so vitally important. Can you even begin to imagine how comforting it must be for her to know that she can have total confidence in you as you pick up the slack that she just can't deal with right now!
Every grief experience is unique and I would not presume to know what Jannette is feeling right now - however based on my experience when my mom died it is a long and complex journey. When we are together Andrew I will share some of my experiences, dreams etc. If by knowing my experience you can support Jannette better - that would be a good thing!
I know that Dwight's attitude and approach to things are sometimes difficult to accept. One thought that I want to share with you is in response to the tendency in the family to cater to him. I have long pondered the possibility that much of what Lisa does is an attempt to win her dad's approval. I have not seen this tendency in Jannette but perhaps little girls never stop needing their dad's approval. Praise God that Isabelle has a dad who gives her constant reassurance that she is loved, valued and safe. As you have probably heard me say there is always more than 1 right answer. So, regarding the catering problem it may be a combination of several things - not to mention the fact that his world has just been rocked on its foundation and if he needs extra TLC so be it. Speaking of catering - I will casually mention that when I am feeding you Andrew I always try very hard to make sure the gravy is thick enough - I prefer to think of it as loving you!
Andrew - you know how much I care about what you and your family are experiencing and you know how much I love you. When you get home I will need your guidance regarding ways in which I can support Jannette because frankly I am very concerned for her.

Always here if you need someone to talk to.
Always praying for you and yours.
Always loving you and yours.
God bless and take care,
a.k.a.Auntie Meow

on Sunday, July 10th, Robert Hahn said


That's touching.

Ska, you have the coolest aunt!

Hang in there, dude. You've got a lot of people supporting you from thousands of kms away as best as we know how.

on Sunday, July 10th, Robert Hahn said

Dear Ska's Son:

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy BIRTHday l'il one-year-old,
Happy Birthday toooooo, yooooooou!!!1!!1one!!!

on Monday, July 11th, Jerry Han said

Catching up here -- I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said. I just want to echo the best wishes, and I hope things work out and improve.

Hang in there...


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