Friday, December 23, 2011

Mom sent me this letter from heaven:

Dear Mark,

I have much to apologize to you for, most specifically, and significantly, for having taken the easy way out, and bought into the fiction of your mental illness. What I have come to learn up here in heaven is just how sane you are, and have always been, save for the times you were on anti-depressants, which so limited the range of your emotional responses that you experienced neither joy, nor sorrow, that you could not even cry, and now, even on the mood stabilizers, how you can't cry. My bad. Think of it, ME, the all-time follower of rules - first thing I wanted to do after each of my depressions was, after the veil of depression was lifted, was to go off meds. Which I did, but always with disastrous results. That was not, however, because I permanently needed to take anti-depressants, but because I never dealt with the root underlying causes of my depression, so much of which was invested in you, and trying to get you well, and seeing you as well, especially during those three years when you were diligently taking your meds, most recently, and we were all so happy, as you gained 100 pounds in three years, got out of bed twice a week to shower and shave, and never once returned to a church, the mosque, Rainbow Records, or even the Barrington Area Library. But, at least you were docile, not angry, not giving away all your money to strangers (okay, I only fronted you the $10 / week, and you spent half of that getting your hair cut at the Hometown Barber Shop, from which you were ultimately banned, because the customers were talking about you. Again, it was your behavior that so upsets people. Your sudden shifts to anger, yelling at me, cursing me ... it just hurt so much. What had I ever done to you? All I ever wanted to do, once John died, was to save you from death itself, even if it cost you life itself. Surprising, and ironic, isn't it - I could see how there are things worse than death (we discussed this with regards to Jimmy Hockett), and yet, I never saw how that applied to you and your life too. I was blinded; they call it the mote in one's eye. It was just so much more convenient to assume you were sick, and that your sickness made you do it (all those things that so upset, startled and frightened me), and so convenient too, since that assumption meant I never had to look in the mirror, or to try to walk in your shoes, or view the world as you view it, to see my own culpability in thwarting your plans, your dreams, your ambitions, none of which were part of what I saw and chose to mis-remember about you. I was so proud of you working as an actuary - you always dressed so nice (well, not so much when you were living with Linda - PLEASE, whatever you do, avoid her like the plague, famine, and pestilence - she is toxic for you), and you dated our beloved Susan B Gillies, who was always such a blessing in our lives, and in yours, and all those wonderful actuary friends who thought so highly of you.

And I never saw how ashamed you were to be a member of the white race that has inflicted so much pain / suffering / violence / death all over the globe, to be a member of the Christian faith community in whose name all these national sins have been committed, to be a citizen of the United States - the greatest purveyor of misery and destruction known to human kind. That explains to me your goofy hair cuts and your dying your hair all those ridiculous colors, using the most insane household items for dye - shoe polish? REALLY? Mark, nobody does that, so, of course, you MUST be sick. Well, no, not really. You are the most moral, righteous man I ever knew - kind and giving to strangers, all those homeless people you brought home, and all of them, so accomplished. I am ashamed now that we weren't more generous with Marla; oh how my heart aches for that poor woman, beset upon worse than Job, and young Bradley - he of the kindest, biggest heart - a wild child, but god-loving, so loyal to his grand mother, and wanting only a better life for his daughter ... but they so frightened me, and your association with them so burdened me, plus, I was dying all the time anyway, not seeing the doctor about my congenitive heart failure was pretty careless; somehow, I just never thought I'd die. And then things seemed to suddenly get better - we had the great shopping adventure to Aldi's, that was so much fun; and when I had the stroke, you were like a guardian angel, doing everything that could be done in an attempt to save my life, which was gone, save for the final gasp after the life support was pulled. It was your behavior, Mark, that so upset me, and it is your behavior that all the fancy schmancy smart folk use to diagnose you as mentally ill, when, if any of us had wanted, we could have simply asked you to stop misbehaving - but then, you would have said, "Just lay down the law - tell me what you don't want me to do, and I will never do it (so as we would ever find out), but MARK - had we done that, you'd have come up with even more outrageous ways to upset us; we knew that about you then, and we know that about you still. What is the point in laying down the law for you if you are never going to behave or conform to our expectations and standards? Do you really thing you are a law unto your own self, answerable only to your God? Well, yes, I know you do, it's just that I would never have been comfortable knowing that, or at least having heard you say that to me -- I had my own idea about God, and yours was so radically different. How is one to resolve such dichotomies? (Yes, I know, you are thinking, "but, of course, dear mother, with lobotomies, and now whose lobotomy shall it be? Mine, or yours?")

I guess the only way they'll ever get you to conform is to either crucify you, or lobotomitize you, and based on your inability to get yourself committed to a mental hospital last Saturday night, neither of those seems likely. So, sad to say, keep on doing what you do, God and the Angels and the Saints and the Prophets are with you 100%, and i'm maybe even starting to come around, to about 15%. I've always loved you. But you never used to be so difficult to like.

It does seem, however, since your loss inventory epiphany that you are far more calm, far less angry, than in what we once called your most “man-icky moments,” which cannot be a bad thing, although, you REALLY don't care if you live or die, where you live, what you do, or any of that. It's a ZEN-thing, I understand, in principle. I'm just not happy about it in fact, and I rather doubt any of our family is either. But you've made it clear you simply don't give a damn about what they think, you don't need them, and you don't even want them in your life. They had their chances and they all deserted you. Who wouldn't have? You just seemed so out of control.

Why'd you have to change?


Sam Beardsley's mom