Tammy Faye died last night. Bob let me know. He was appalled that no one had bothered to tell me. I had to remind him that I don’t count. I never counted. I was simply an appendage hanging off of CF. “But there are rules of decency!” he cried. Sadly, Bob does not get it.
Rock Star’s dad did text her to let her know that her grandmother had coded earlier in the day and that the doctor’s were saying it was just a matter of time. That’s what Bob told me anyway, and when I told my kids my daughter informed me that she already knew all of that. I’m assuming her dad told her the same thing that Bob told me.
Neither of my kids seem too broken up over it. I thought maybe since this was death, it was permanent, they might have some remorse. I thought that since there would be no do-overs and no second chance to try to set things straight they might be a little teary eyed. Instead, Picasso told me that he might have been sad at one point but since she “decided to back young CF” he wasn’t. Rock Star reiterated that actions have consequences and you don’t get to play the victim all your life. She made reference to the fact that her grandmother had helped her father leave her.
I won’t continue to push or get them to talk about it. They both seem to have made their peace with it. It’s a precarious spot to be in.
On one hand I don’t want people to think I’m letting them swing wildly in the wind with no guidance and no care for their mental health. On the other hand if they really are at peace with it me demanding they talk about it and feel something they don’t isn’t going to do them any good.
I did tell Rock Star that if her dad started guilting her to pass the texts along to me and I would handle it.
As for me I find it to be an almost out of body experience. For one, I never expected her to die. I have heard for years that she didn’t have much time left. Years. And yet every year there she was. It got to the point I figured it was CF playing the drama card. So first hearing that she had been admitted to the hospital, had coded and wasn’t expected to make it was startling. Then to get the news less than an hour later that she had died… I didn’t know what to feel.
I shouldn’t feel anything. This woman knew her son had cheated on me and continued to interact with the other woman, whining that she was family. When my husband was so sad and upset she urged his former whore to call him and rekindle things. She sat in my kitchen in April and told me she wanted us to get back to where we were, that she loved me and I had been her daughter-in-law for twenty years. She let me and the kids spend the night on our way back home from Utah when he was already involved with Harley; I know she had to have known at that point and yet she let us stay and kissed us and told us she loved us. We went out to eat and I hugged and kissed on the new baby and believed that things were getting back to normal. And all the while he was giving the whore money and making plans to be with her. She supported him leaving me and leaving his damn kids behind. She showed up to a funeral with CF and Harley, never pausing for a single moment to think that that situation was all kinds of fucked up. I know how she was when it came to her son; I don’t believe she ever spoke up and told him to make amends with his kids. I know she never told him he was wrong or that she didn’t support what he was doing. How could she? She encouraged it.
And yet I have twinges of sympathy for her when I think of the Christmas cards she sent both kids this year. My mother always likes to point out she could have come and seen them but she chose not to. She could have called or texted, but she chose not to. I, however, almost feel sorry for her and see the woman who wistfully told Picasso she would love to see him again. The woman who asked Rock Star how she was liking her senior year and told her she loved her and wanted so much to talk to her.
There is a part of me that remembers the woman I knew years ago. The woman who called to talk to me when CF let her know he was getting married, and ended up talking for over an hour. We would call each other and talk for an hour or more all the time. He used to joke that I talked to her more than he did. I remember feeling so lucky that I loved my in-laws and that we all got along so well. I remember the woman who said that she loved me and would tell me that she couldn’t have picked a better daughter-in-law if she had picked one out herself. I remember the woman who was so happy and accommodating at our wedding, who spoiled us with gifts and money. I remember the woman who loved my kids. I remember many trips to Kentucky to see her and the rest of the family, and how I would say that I could see us moving there and being around family.
I realize that person ceased to exist years ago. I’m sad about that. I’m also a little sad and maybe a little frustrated that, even though the possibility of it happening was remote, I will never have the chance to confront her. She will never see the damage she did. She will never get to witness the fallout of CF’s and Harley’s joyous union.
In those early days when the pain and humiliation were fresh I envisioned myself having a chance to spit out, “You traded your own flesh and blood for a whore and her four kids. Every time you look around your table at the holidays and see that my kids are missing you just tell yourself that Harley and her kids were worth losing them. And know that when you die your own two grandkids won’t be at your funeral. I hope Harley’s four are there crying for you, because my two won’t be.” I probably never would have said that given the chance. Sadly, what I fantasized about saying is now a reality.
Also sad? I’m sure I’ll be blamed for it. The story will be that CF’s kids weren’t allowed to come to the funeral; their mean, awful mom prevented it. I know it doesn’t matter. I don’t know most of those people. But who really likes having lies about them out there, especially when those lies make you look like a monster?
I worry, too, that with my kids not going that will be the so called final straw. I know his family has pretty much written them off anyway but at least in public they act like they are torn up about it. I hope there isn’t actual backlash against either of them because they chose not to attend. I’m sure in their grief all they can think about is how Rock Star and Picasso didn’t even care enough to show up for her funeral. They will completely sidestep the fact that none of them has cared at all about what they’ve gone through these last 2 1/2 years.
In the end none of you need to worry that I’m going out of my mind with grief for Tammy Faye. As my kids would say, she chose her path. It does make me a little sad to think of how things once were and to see where they ended. I’m sorry it ended this way with her estranged from her grandchildren. Yet on some level I know that I’m more regretful about it than they are.