It was 6 am on a warm August morning in 1992. I was still in bed. The phone rang and since CP was up, I didn’t rush to answer. After maybe 2 minutes had gone by, CP came in the bedroom and said, “Hey, wake up.” I rolled over and sat up. “Phone call for you,” he says. “It’s bad news about your mom.” He said it in such a matter-of-fact way I didn’t think it was that bad. I rolled out of bed and went to the phone. CP reached for the receiver and handed it to me with absolutely no concern at all. I really didn’t think it was going to be devastatingly bad news because of the way he was acting.
It was my mother’s step-mom, Freda. She had called to tell me the unfortunate news about my mom’s accident. She had fallen asleep at the wheel and wasn’t wearing her seatbelt. She was thrown from her truck, through the front windshield, and died on impact. I was shaken and devastated. I cried as anyone would receiving such horrific news. I thanked Freda for the call.
When I got off the phone I went into the bathroom to be alone with my grief. I had to prepare myself for a few phone calls. I had to call my sisters, then my Dad. Telling my Granny is what I dreaded the most. My uncle had killed himself just a couple of years prior to this and I was the one who had to tell her. That was hard enough but now her only other child was gone. I would wait for my Dad to come home so we could tell her together. It wasn’t going to be easy. I was upset, crying uncontrollably. I was completely not ready for this. I guess no one ever is.
When I came out of the bathroom, CP said to me, “I didn’t think you’d react like this.” I just glared at him, and after a few seconds, I snapped at him. “How am I supposed to react? We may not have had the best relationship, especially in the last few years but she was still my mother!” He said nothing.
When he left for work, I was sitting in the living room in a bit of a daze. The kids were playing, unaware that anything was wrong. CP leaned down, kissed me on the cheek and said, “Gotta go to work,” and he was out the door. He never once tried to console me, not that morning and not in the weeks to follow. He never said a fucking thing.
CP was the worst human being! He had no sympathy, no empathy what so ever. When he lost members of his family, I was always there for him. He was so crass. Why couldn’t he just help me through this? Instead, it was my Dad that I could count on to understand what I was going through. Even though he and my mother had divorced and weren’t on good terms most of the time, Dad understood how difficult it was to lose a parent because he lost his own mother some 20 years prior.
I don’t know how CP could be the way he was. I can’t even imagine not being there for someone I cared about in a time of grief. There’s no way I could just turn it off and “go to work.”