References: Family Ties; Travel Journal—Prequel; Travel Journal—Day One; Travel Journal—Day Two; Travel Journal—Day Three; Travel Journal—Day Four; Travel Journal—Day Five; Travel Journal—Day Six
The rest of the travel journal.
I confess: I will not be able to recall the exact dates of events, only in the order in which they happened. If you want to catch yourself up on all the events, I have left the links above for you to follow.
Just as a reminder, the names have been changed.
I took Zack up on his offer to use his laptop. I had my portable drive with me, and that is how I was able to do some of my entries in real time. However, I did let him have his laptop back on that Monday. He and I didn't see each other much. Pickle had decided she was going to move in with the sixth guy. Unfortunately, Zack’s name wasn't on the lease, so he couldn't stay, and Pickle didn't have the money to keep the apartment on her own. It was a very trying time, and he would confide in me about the events.
However, I was going through so much. I admit I didn't have as much sympathy for his situation as I used to. He knew the type of woman he was dealing with. I wish I knew what she did to snatch away his backbone because a guy with a stronger backbone and higher self-esteem would never allow his wife to treat him the way she treats him. I realized I had to start distancing myself from his situation, especially if he didn't love himself enough to get away from it. I had my own issues to deal with.
The drama didn't stop with Grandpa’s death.
You see these situations where death brings the family closer, but no one really sees what happens after the funeral. There’s a customary time frame where you keep checking on the family to make sure they are all right.
Eventually, those who visited from out of town have to head back. Those who are local have things they have to check on.
Life doesn't stop because other people’s lives are on pause.
Uncle Bud headed back the Monday right after the funeral. It was great to have him there even for a few days. My mom didn't stir up as much ruckus when he was around. Although my grandma hasn't told Uncle Bud, I know she still feels some type of way about him not being able to spend more time with Grandpa when he came to visit. His wife, Louise, made that last trip about her, despite the fact that she knew about Grandpa’s condition. Louise’s paranoia (jealousy and insecurity) didn't stop because Uncle Bud was at a funeral. She would call constantly for Uncle Bud. It got so bad that Grandma finally told her, “Don’t you realize he just lost his daddy? When he’s ready to call you back, he will!” and slammed the receiver down.
Aunt Carol and her daughter Susan stayed until Friday, and then they headed back. It was great seeing them as well. My mom was overheard making a few slick comments regarding Aunt Carol. One of them was since Carol technically wasn't my grandpa’s daughter, she had no business being listed in the obituary or coming to the funeral. However, my grandpa didn't make a distinction. He knew Grandma had children before he came into the picture, yet he never treated them any differently. That is what a lot of people respected about him the most. Technically, Gloria isn't his sister, but she was so much a part of the family that he always deemed her as his sister.
Uncle Trent was dealing with his grief in his own way. Grandma and I noticed that the amount of time he was spending with Joanna (aka Local FBI) had begun to increase. She was serving as his rock, and we were torn as to how to feel about it. Joanna was the reason why Uncle Trent had trouble with the law in the first place as well as how she went about getting him. I didn't trust her, and I never will trust her, but Grandma and I were glad she was keeping him from doing something counterproductive. Plus, he needed someone to take his mind off what my mom did that caused him not to see Grandpa before he passed away. He hadn't gotten past that.
As for me, I was taking things day by day. I tried to stick around as much as I could for Grandma, but I did recognize it was best for me to stay busy. I promised my grandpa before he passed on I would try and be the bigger person and try to have some sort of cordial relationship with my mom. My emotions were pulled in different directions since she had caused so much pain to Grandma and Uncle Trent. I honestly didn't believe my mom’s version of events. It bothered me she could look me dead in my face, unblinking, and not be straight with me.
I also didn't like the fact that she wanted me to try and get along with this new guy she was seeing. Mr. C had a history of drug use and drug dealing. Everyone in the neighborhood warned her, but she didn't want to listen. I think she was just happy for the fact that she had someone she can order around or someone that could do stuff for her. I don’t really think she had any love for him; she was just glad to trap another sucker. She said, “Grandpa would have liked him.” I told her, “No, he wouldn't have, and you’re delusional.”
Mr. C just gave me the creeps. When he was around, I didn't want to stick around. Being around my sisters was the lesser of two evils.
Mr. C wasn't the only one.
There was also a male cousin whose energy rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy but I never did feel quite comfortable around him.
Let’s just call him Burt.
Burt lived in the trailer just up the street from the house. He was there, he said, to help his mom out, but we didn't see him doing a whole lot of helping. While my sister Quasha was in town, I noticed that Burt had started coming by my mom’s trailer. Keep in mind he had never done any visits before. He also interjected himself in certain things that weren't any of his business.
My mom made a mistake by letting Quasha drive her vehicles all the time. Quasha started asking if she could have one of the cars. My mom has two cars and a truck. Quasha said that my mom didn't need all those vehicles; my mom told her she couldn't have one. Then Burt puts himself in the conversation, saying that my mom shouldn't be so stingy. Also, there would be times when Burt would just invite himself over for breakfast without warning and expect there to be food for him.
There’s one thing in getting to know some of your distant relatives better, but a lot of people were starting to talk about Quasha and Burt. Quasha and her “husband” were having problems, and her demeanor with Burt (in the eyes of not only my mom but people in the neighborhood) seemed a bit overly friendly. The people in the neighborhood also noted that Burt’s behavior didn't seem quite like “cousinly love” whenever they were spotted.
As more talk began to spread, there was a supposed showdown between Quasha and my mom. The reason I say “supposed” is because I was not there when the fallout happened. I was only told by others what occurred.
The showdown resulted in Quasha leaving almost a week earlier than intended and catching the bus home rather than flying back. Burt didn't show his face after the talk reached a fever pitch. It does make one really wonder if the unthinkable really did happen between the two of them—like many have claimed. If so, it definitely gave my uneasy feeling validation.
There are also other male cousins who have perv like tendencies. In other words, I wouldn't leave my female child around them. I’m not saying they have done anything but they do get a bit weird: uncomfortably weird.
I ended up having to go back a tiny bit earlier than anticipated. At the time, I was still on unemployment and there was this meeting I had to attend in order to keep my unemployment going. Plus, some other things were going on back in New Jersey that was causing a bit of financial disruption. I explained things to my grandma; she understood. She was happy I was able to stay as long as I did.
After all the emotional turmoil, I welcomed the trip back to NJ. The few talks I did have with my mom made me feel uneasy. I felt more like I was the parent, and she was the child. I saw how she would go back and forth with her dealings with Mr. C., and although I wasn't too fond of him, I didn't think it was right how she would behave with him. As long as he was doing things for her, everything was fine, but when the well ran dry, it was a different story.
During the time I was around, she never spent any true quality time with my youngest sister. She was content with letting her go by different people’s houses, and a couple of times, she didn't know which house my sister had gone to. Quasha, before she made her departure, had noticed this, too, and had made plans to call Child Protective Services on my mom once again. My mom found out about it, and I think that is another reason why she and Quasha had the big falling out.
I don’t want Quasha to be involved in any part of my life whatsoever. Her energy is too angry, and if the situation between her and Burk is actually true, I don’t want her anywhere near any kids that I hope or plan to have. That image alone just does something to my spirit. I’m okay with that.
All the actions of my mom, even when interacting with her one on one, still give me great pause to provide an overall welcome mat. I found myself wondering if I could honor the promise I made to Grandpa while staying true to my principles and guarding my Self from her harm.
End of Travel Journal
Zack—Not too long after Pickle moved in with the other guy, things began to fall apart with her new start. At the same time, Zack had started to get involved with a new female. Pickle got word of the situation, and Zack decided to give Pickle another go. Although his family will never like her, it seems that she’s really trying to make an effort to be the faithful wife.
Uncle Trent—Additional trouble popped up and now Uncle Trent can’t be on the property for an extended period of time. A lot of that has to do with my mom’s false accusations.
Quasha—No word from her since she left that day.
Karmen—She has an on again, off again relationship with my mom. Last time I checked, it was off, and has been off for a while now.
Uncle Bud and Aunt Louise—Well, Aunt Louise decided to retire (although other sources told me they gave her an ultimatum: retire or get fired), which made it a bit challenging for Uncle Bud. Aunt Louise is finding out quickly how far money stretches when you are only getting it once a month. He’s going to take advantage of early retirement, and once he does, he will finally move into the trailer he put down on the property some years ago. I’m not sure how that is going to go, since Mom can’t stand Aunt Louise and the trailers are right across from each other.
My youngest sister is still practically raising herself.
Mom—Somehow, she has made enemies with everyone in our neighborhood, and I didn't think that was even possible. Our family always had peace with the other neighbors. Yet, there’s been turmoil ever since my mom arrived. A lot of people, myself included, wonders what she is still doing in Mississippi. She’s not there for Grandma. She doesn't even check on Grandma to see if she is all right nor give a phone call. She goes out of her way to make things difficult for those around her. It’s like she craves the attention, regardless of whether it is negative or not.
For a multitude of reasons (a lot which have been covered in other journal entries), I have restricted how much access she has to me. She sent me a message talking about she was going into the hospital and she didn't know if she was going to make it or not.
From anyone else, I would have responded right away.
Unfortunately, my mom has pulled stunts like this before—where she says she’s going to be in the hospital and she never goes; or she does go, but only stays overnight or just checks herself out.
I figured if she was really as bad off as she said, she would have explained to me what was going on with her heart as well as hospital and room number information for me to check up on her. If she wanted to hear back from me so badly, she would have provided that type of information. Yet I never heard anything. When she reached out to me, I thought she hadn't been put in the hospital.
However, I look at her Facebook and it states that she had gotten out of the hospital. How does she have time to Facebook and facing life or death heart surgery? Am I missing something here? It just didn't sit well with me. So it’s hard for me to believe the surgery was as major as it was. Heck, some may even think she really didn't have the surgery at all.
It just perturbs me. If someone is ill, I shouldn't have to question whether the illness is real or some rouse to get my attention. Plus, if she is actually ill, she’s done the whole “boy who cried wolf scenario” so much, no one may come running.
The question remains—Is she prepared to deal with that reality?
She can only answer that for herself.