As my posts have previously indicated my grandmother passed away this month. I am at peace with the transition. My only hope is that some way she will be able to communicate with me what happens after the transition. You see I am one of those who does not believe that the death of the body is the end of the life force. I believe that we are energy that inhabit physical forms for a while. I also believe that some energy gets a chance to come back. I would say that this clearly indicates that I am not Christian and therefore I don’t adhere to Christian doctrine. I know that some of my tendencies are based on Christianity and Islam as those were the religions of my youth but I have chosen a different path.
In the USA, Christianity is the basis of our society even though we profess a separation of church and state. As such religion permeates every aspect of our lives even if we do not seek it. I had not voluntarily attended a church service since I was 25 (I am 40 now) but knew that in order to attend the home going celebration of my grandmother’s life I would have to go to a church. I knew that there would be a sermon and hymns included in the praises and remembrances of my grandmother. I prepared myself for that. I actually enjoyed the musical selections as I enjoy all types of music. I didn’t mind the sermon of the pastor chosen to officiate the event. My problem came when they allowed my grandmother’s son, my biological donor, to offer words of comfort.
As you can tell from the previous sentence, the relationship between that gentleman and myself is strained. I don’t respect him as a man or a father. But I absolutely love him, if for no other reason than he shares DNA with me. You see he made me when he was 19 and my mother was 14. He decided that he would not be responsible for me. My mother chose to be responsible. And the young man that she had been dating chose to pick up the mantle of responsibility that my biological donor threw off. The young man who chose to be my father made that decision at 17 years of age and changed his whole future for me. As such I grew up with two loving parents who taught me to be a royal warrior. They taught me that I was brilliant, capable, beautiful, and worthy of all the great things I was destined for. They taught me to speak my mind, no matter how uncomfortable others felt with my feelings. They taught me to love people just as they appeared and not try to force them to be my vision of perfection. My parents taught me to put no person on a pedestal; the only thing worthy of worship was my higher power. They also taught me that image is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Unfortunately my donor’s family are stuck on image instead of substance. To them, you fake it until you make it.
As part of their fakery and fuckery, they allowed my donor, Rev. L. Sr, to speak at my grandmother’s funeral this past Friday. Now our strained relationship made that uncomfortable for me. Another thing that made it uncomfortable, for me, is knowing that he just finished a stint in federal prison behind making a choice to rob a bank. He became involved in drug usage and his life spiraled out of control. I know I just told y’all that my parents raised me to love people just as they are. I do but that does not mean I condone every action a person takes. You may also be wondering what difference does it make who is preaching if I am not a Christian. Well it matters because I believe that a spiritual leader should be honest and humble, first and foremost. I believe that until Rev. L accepts the mistakes in his life and shows true repentance then he should not attempt to lead others. I refuse to be a sheep led by any old shepherd. They have to prove that their walk on their path is true to their beliefs.
So I left the church but still heard portions of the speech and was receiving texts from my mother and daughter about other parts. What I heard and received were either half truths or outright lies. The most grievous offense was the fact that his speech became about himself and not my grandmother. He attempted to minimize his culpability in any of bad decisions he’s recently made. He went on to talk about how he came home from prison only owning the clothes the prison provided and how he has been blessed by Jesus with all the material comforts he now possesses. He went on to point out his daughter (my youngest sister [who happens to not be his biological child]), his grandchildren by her, and one great grandchild despite having ALL of his living children in the church. He made a big deal about buying shoes for his grandchild and finished with a caveat about how “Pawpaw takes care of all of his babies”. At that point my daughter sent me a text and asked me what her Pawpaw had ever done for her or me. I told her “not a damn thing”. See he wanted the image out there of him as a wonderful, loving father and grandfather who has had a few stumbles on his path. He wanted the image out there that he is a truly spiritual man who does all things to honor his god. I said nothing on that day because it was neither the time nor the place. I thought about it and it continued to bother me. So yesterday I wrote a Facebook status about my feelings. I expected some of my family members to be offended. I did not expect the level of feelings these folks got in to.
On the one hand I find it funny as hell that they are so worried about a false image. On the other, it pissed me the fuck off. I don’t try to dictate other peoples feelings to them and I expect the same respect. The three most vocal opponents were the 3 children he chose to raise; two are biological and one is technically a step child. They felt that the forum was wrong. They felt that I was embarrassing the family name. They felt that I had embodied the accusation that I leveled at their father. They felt I had put their father on blast although I mentioned neither his name nor his relationship to me. I understand their loyalty to the man, he is the only father they know. Unfortunately, I don’t have that same loyalty. I also was raised not to put any person on a pedestal, remember. My parents allowed their children, me included, to respectfully call them out on what we thought they were doing wrong. My parents felt that their children should know that they could speak up for what they believe in. I guess the Rev. didn’t not encourage that in the children he raised. As a result, we are looking at this from different perspectives.
From my point of view, this man is a screw up. This man is allowed to continually shortchange himself and those who love him. This man is allowed to spread pain but we are not supposed to give it back to him. He is rewarded because anything less would let the world know that the family is not perfect. From their point of view, he is the man of their childhood memories. He is the man that they turned to when they were hurt, scared, or lonely. He is the man who was there for all of their firsts. They remember when he loved their mothers. I remember when he told me that my mother raped him and that is how she got pregnant. I remember when he told me that I act just like my mother. I remember when he told me that I am full of drama. I remember when he told people that I am a liar when I relate how I met him. I remember all of the discomfort he has caused me throughout my 40 years of life. So how in the world could they expect me to want to hear “words of comfort” from him!? How could they expect me to applaud when those words ended up not being about my grandmother and her legacy?
My grandmother, Irene Lujan Primous, was the reason we all had come together in the first place. The mother to 18 children born from her body and 14 gathered to her heart through marriage. The mother in love to various spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, and community members. The friend to a beautiful group of women. The eldest sister of several younger siblings. The grandmother to at least 79 people. The great grandmother to over 100 people. The Tia/Aunt to several nieces and nephews. The Prima/ Cousin of several people. The mentor, The caring nurse, the restaurateur, the open heart, the open door and so much more to so many. Her strength, grace, ready smile and LOVE was the legacy she left. So many from the community spoke of these attributes of hers yet her own son ignored her for his own ego.
He didn’t just get off track, he wrecked that train and exploded in a hay field. So I expressed my opinion. The majority of my cousins agreed. The phone lines lit up across the land. Text messages were sent and received. People came for me on my status. Others defended my status. Others injected their god and what he expects from me into the conversation. I talked on the phone with one of my cousins and based on that conversation with her, I changed the privacy of the status to where only I can see it. I refuse to delete it because I meant it and it will stay in black and white. And since one of the complaints was about me putting people on blast, I decided to do an in depth blog. I also decided not to change the names to protect the innocent or the guilty. And that, my dear, is how you ended up reading the rantings of a misfit.