Sunday, July 9, 2017

I think I'm a little out of sorts at the moment.
I'm not full of grief, though I've had my moments, especially during the memorial service.
My thought processes seem to be going into places they haven't gone before.
And reacting to things differently.
It's a very strange feeling.
To have one of your parents gone.
There is some kind of strength to your life when they are alive, even though you
aren't living with them or even seeing them every day.
It's like, yeah, they're there.
I don't really know how to explain it.
It wasn't long ago, I heard someone talking about their deceased parents
and a casual conversation where I said, I am blessed, both of mine are still around.

But that's no longer true.
The grief I've experienced, though, isn't just about my dad's passing.
It is also about my brother's hatred for him.
And my mother's disdain for him, to the point of thinking he is evil.

This haunts my mind and my heart and my soul.
It is perplexing to me.
It is something that will bug me - at the very least - for the rest of my life.
And somehow, I have to cope with people full of hate an anger towards a
person that only loved them? Or only spoke how wonderful they were?
Or only showed compassion and reaching out to them, trying to amend things?

How do you say to yourself, father, I don't ever want to hear from you again.
Father, I don't want any part of your life.
Father, stay out of my life.
Father, you are evil, you are the epitome of everything that is
wrong in this world.
How do you take that to the point that you don't even go to
your own father's funeral?

There is a part of my that wants to hold this against them for the
rest of their lives.

There is another part of me that wants to understand why?

And yet another part that challenges my walk with the Lord.

I struggle with this. I have struggled with this for a very long time.

But now, it has become much more magnified.

Father is dead.  He has passed from the earthly living to the eternal life.

He is among the cloud of witnesses now.

Would dad judge them and say he holds this against him?

As certain as I am that the sun will come up tomorrow is the same
certainty that I have that he would still have compassion for them.
Even though they didn't go to his funeral.  Even though they couldn't
even find it within themselves to shadow the door of the church it occurred
in and stand from afar off if nothing else and watch the beauty of the
celebration of a life well lived.

But, I remember once his lamenting to his wonderful wife - and yes, she is 
a wonderful lady I have come to realize during this time of grief - his lamenting
about my 2 older brothers. I'm trying to think how long ago this was.  Maybe 10 
years?  They were discussing this and he said: "They probably won't even come to 
my own funeral".  She replied, well of course they will come.

And yet, they did not.  They weren't even interested in his passing.  They didn't care.
In fact, the day dad died, my oldest brother got onto the group texting and said his
 beloved doggy had died. That ;little dog had been around 17 years.  I offered him
condolences and he replied, "yeah, it sucks". A few hours later, I went back on there
and said, "There was another loss today.  Whether you are interested in hearing or not,
I thought I'd let you know that dad passed away today. I won't say anything more about

My oldest brother replied: "I wish him well and hope he finds what he has been searching
for".  ???  That is something you say to someone who you've broken up a relationship, not
 something you say about someone who has passed. It was very strange.  And it was also the
last text that has taken place on that 4 way text since Friday, June 30th.

I suspect I won't hear anything else from him.  He is likely talking to mom on a private text now
instead of a 4 way group thing.  It's been somewhere around 6 months since I heard from my middle brother.

I'm ready to write my family off now.  This was the last straw.  I don't have to like them.  God
doesn't even say that in the Bible. It says a lot of things about loving people with the love of Christ,
but I don't have to like people that hate their own father.  I can pray for them.  I can love them in the love of Christ, but if I never see either of them again, I will not have suffered one iota.

If dad were a psychotic murderer.  Perhaps some sort of life long criminal.  I don't know what
causes you to hate your own dad.  I have read accounts where I thought, well yeah, that might cause
 a person to disown their father. But my dad?  And so it is, that they hate, as far as I'm concerned, the
God that he served with his whole life and therefore, rejected him as well.

My mother tried to say that my dad was evil a week ago.  I asked why the hate towards him from
my brothers, which she went into from her perception, but her perception was wrong from the get-go.
For if she believed the stuff that she said, it was misinformation from my brothers who fed it to her
as a lie.  I love my mom, don't get me wrong, but her vitriol during this time has been astonishing.

You don't tell a son that loves his father that his dad is evil unless you can substantiate that with some solid evidence.  And I can assure you, my dad was not an evil man.

I have to somehow come to terms with this. For I can shut my brothers out.  I have tried for so long to get them to do anything in even subtle ways to acknowledge him as their dad.

One of my cousins wrote me last week about dad's death.  He said he had sent "this" message to them but didn't have my email and was re sending to me what he had sent to them. It was a letter of sympathy and condolences to my brothers.  I guess he didn't realize how they feel about their dad, so I responded to him this (I do not have a relationship with this person. whatever his reaction be after writing this, I thought, will have no bearing on me): "Hi Stephen:

I'm not going to pull any punches here, for my brothers are assholes when it comes to my father. 

They wrote him off at least a decade and a half ago and refused to talk to him, either in email, texting, even in person. They have their grievances from youth and then took extreme offense over a family reunion where dad backed out of it and said it wasn't going to happen later on in life.

Chris said last week in a text, and I will quote him: " Just so we are clear, I did not go to Brocks graduation, I will not be going to California for Calebs wedding and I will not be going to visit or to a service for JDB".  JDB is J. David Barkley.  I have no qualms or hold backs now of telling whosoever that my brothers are total dicks and assholes. They haven't seen him in a very long time, they aren't going to his funeral and they can go fuck themselves.  They don't remember any good times, if they do they won't acknowledge it.  I am going to drive 1,200 miles one way for his funeral on Saturday, they can't be bothered by their own petty bullshit to drive 150 miles.  

I'm sorry to be the one to deliver this kind of message. And I don't really know you or anyone else on the other side of the clan, excepting John Robertson who is on FB and we have communicated here and there for a few years now.  I hold no ill will against you if you find this message offensive and don't want to communicate with me again, but I have had enough of Barkley bullshit. 

ben b"

I was pissed at the time, so yes my vulgar language and no, Stephen never responded to me.  

Instead, one of his brothers who is a friend on FB wrote me a message saying he and his family offer their condolences to me and the rest of the other side of the family. It was nice to hear from John like that, we aren't close at all, but we do banter a little here and there on FB.  They are all the offspring of my dad's sister, who also has Alzheimer's.  What a sickening disease.  

But I'm not as much in anger now as in awe of people that hold extreme resentment and unforgiveness in their lives to the point that it affects their view of people to the extent that they will even write off their own family.
And now, I write them off. But not in anger. I think the anger has subsided.  It's more of a, I don't know these people.  They may be blood, but they are no part of my life and I am no part of theirs.  They have chosen that stance towards me.  It won't just "go away" in my mind. It never will. I grew up with them, we lived together in the same house. We shared life experience together.  

But my dad's death has brought about a new perspective.  Several new perspectives, actually.  I don't need these people in my life.  They haven't been  a part of my life in decades. I have reached out to them eerily, just the same as my dad did, and they have received it as a fart in the air. Just nothing.  I may continue to write about this for some time, but as far as ever seeing them again? No thanks. If it occurs, it will likely not be a pleasant situation. I won't be going to Christmas or Thanksgiving with them, I won't be sending them any more gifts.  I won't be doing anything. They may remain in my heart as my brothers, but they aren't my family.  Not in the true sense of the word.

Yes, my dad's death has had a profound effect on my view of certain things, but nothing I ever anticipated.  I just don't see any use for them.  They are total strangers.  My connection with them is in childhood and it will ever remain that way. And now, I understand. It's my love for the Lord.  It's my outspoken relationship with Christ.  It's my devotion to God, that I believe, that I long for the day to be brought unto Him.  Their hatred is really directed at God. And that is a huge problem for them, not me.   My heart grieves for them though. Do they understand what they are doing? 

God bless them   - with salvation.  My mom, a bit different. You can't write off your own mom.  She changed her tune quite a lot towards me about this when I invited her to stay out of my life if my showing my love for my dad on my FB wall is a problem.    She has no affection for my father, obviously, but that isn't stopping me from showing the love I had for my father on FB.  I know she can't stand it, yet I don't do it to spite her, but to show my love for my dad, to have a memory put in place for him, to share to my limited world how I feel about him since that seems to be a large part of what occurs on FB anyway.  And really just to express grief, to process it and eventually get past it. Though I can't say that this is anything I have ever dealt with before.  Everything else was outside of family, this is Dad.  This is the man whose seed brought me into existence.  I am as much a part of him as I am my mom.  

So yes. These are very perplexing times for me.  I have to learn how to deal with this post-death now.  I have to learn how to go about my life without my brothers at all.  I suspect the letter I sent to my cousin got back to them, as that particular cousin has always been friends with my middle brother.  

You know what's cool though? The lady - my friend - who owns the house I am living in, wrote me a message yesterday. She said: "I love you Ben, you're in my thoughts today".  She's more of a family now than I have known from my own family in a very long time.  Well all of them really, but her especially.  She talks to me about stuff that I find amazing she would even share with a man, but it's not that kind of thing you might expect. It's about asking for advice and wisdom on how to deal with things.  

I am, as I stated earlier... exhausted.  I felt the need to type some of this out.  I need to figure out how to proceed with the rest of my life. And if that's without family, then that's without family.  I have "new" family.  I have people that love me more than my own family does. I really tried with my oldest brother, though.  I really did.  God bless him - with salvation and a healing of his broken heart. 

Over 5,000 miles of driving in a 13 year old car with over 170k miles on it, 2 trips and home successfully without a hitch besides a bad tire. And filling the thing up a dozen times  lol.  That car will still drive 90 mph down the Interstate without a gasp of hesitation.  It still runs as smooth as the day I first bought it at 28,000 miles. It has never had a tune up.  I've had to replace the battery 3 times, front brakes several times, rear brakes once.  I spent $500 on it almost 2 years ago now to get some front end work done on it.  Countless oil changes of course.  The aesthetics of the car have all but gone away, but the mechanical function of the thing is flawless.  I dunno how much longer that will last, but until the time it dies, I can't complain about the thing.  I can and I have, actually, lol, the front windows especially, the cable kept breaking and I kept having it fixed until a gave up on it.

I haven't even replaced the accessory belt on the engine.  And after checking it, it doesn't need replaced yet.  Don't fix what ain't broke.  I don't have the "extra money" for car payments right now and haven't had in a while.  I mean, I could if I had to but why?  Newer cars are wonderful to drive. Everything works on them. And you are stuck with endless, monthly payments and full coverage auto insurance that costs a small fortune every month.  I would LOVE to drive a 10 year newer vehicle, really would.  But right now, that isn't prudent. Especially now that I have the Jeep running, albeit the AC doesn't work yet.  If the car does break down, I have a back up.

I've heard of people getting 300k miles out of this particular brand of car.  I'm quite sure I don't want to drive it that long even if it does last that long, but still.  Would I make another trip somewhere with that car like the last two? Absolutely and thinking of one in particular going the other direction.  The thing needs the transmission fluid replaced again, I"ll likely have that done soon.  It's worth it to do the required maintenance if I expect to keep it much longer, and right now, unless something happens substantial to my income, I see nothing to change that scenario.

Anyway, I have an old friend that has been asking me for years to come visit him. He is tied down by his business, he doesn't get out much.  It's 800 miles each way. I have priced airline tickets there on numerous occasions and just couldn't come up with anything viable.  Not for a 3 or 4 day visit.  He's got a diesel repair shop near Indianapolis.  He's got contracts with many major trucking carriers because his work is that good. We worked together on the mission field in the mid 80's, we became very good friends, but I haven't seen him in decades now.  Just one trip I would like to make.

I had no time to really plan either of the last two trips in the last two weeks, otherwise I would have really dug into getting the hotel stuff down because the last place I stayed? Was a horrid place. The reviews were manipulated to make it appear as if it were some wonderful hotel at a great price. It was like to sleep in a landfill, the odor in the room was horrendous.  Hence, I posted the previous post I did. Eventually, that post will come up in searches for that particular hotel but I also left a nice nasty review on TripAdvisor.

Hotels have become so expensive.  This is another drawback to travelling. You want a place to sleep and take a shower? You're going to pay for it in many areas.  For example. the entire area between Dallas and Pecos is full of pricey hotels. It's oil pumping region, as evidence by huge numbers of businesses lined up along the Interstate that either sell products to the oil industry or service the oil industry in some way. It is also a major thoroughfare for highway travelers and the hoteliers take full advantage of it.

Last night, as I was driving, I kept doing searches for all the cities in front of me and as I did the search over for some of the same places, the prices kept going up and up.  The later it got, the higher the price became.  It obviously pays to be able to book well in advance and get better pricing, but I didn't have that privilege on either of these trips. They were both last minute types of deals, do whatever it takes to get there and get back.

Still, the traveling bug has been reborn within me.  Once you get on the road and get into that mode, it really isn't bad at all.  It's just getting started that seems to be my problem.  Once I'm well away from the region I live in, it's like, okay, this has now become an adventure.

The next trip isn't that far off, next month, to Palo Ranchos Verdes in California for my son's wedding. And trust me, even well in advance, the price of hotels there is unbelievable.  Just a ritzy area on the coast.  And also the home of the Salvation Army's officer training college.  But, I am "only" driving to Dallas for that one. Around 160 miles or so.  Flying over there and then ground transportation yet to be arranged for going back and forth from the airport to the hotel and also from the hotel to the facility. I am not going to drive that far, just no way.  Almost 1, 700 miles one way, not going there.  It will be the 3rd trip in a short span of time, none of these trips are vacations.  Although I am not saying it's going to be a drag to go to Caleb's wedding lol, it's not a vacation.  If it were, I would be flying over the ocean to some European destination, not to anywhere in the US.

That has been put off indefinitely.  I've spent all my money, had to put Caleb's wedding travel on a credit card and now starts the paying that back before the wedding even occurs.

Any trips overseas? Off limits for now.  But another driving trip? Well, if planned well enough in advance for hotels or whatever accommodations, I can do that.  Of course that is contingent on time off, which so far I have been using mostly personal time and floating holidays.

Well anyway. I'm pretty tired right now.  I didn't sleep well at this nightmare hotel last night, I think I got a total of 5 hours out of it.  It took a while to get the fog out of my head this morning as I got up and got out of there as fast as possible. Like, time to hit the road.  I told the front desk about the horrific odor in the room, which I'm sure they already knew about.  They didn't care.  Neither do I, anymore, excepting to make sure that I get the reviews out there where it counts.  I just can't remember the last time that I stayed at a place that bad with reviews that good.  Well, the reviews just added up to a "good" rating. won't be getting any business from me in the future unless I know the property I want to stay at and they have the best price.

What now?  Well, I'm home, it's getting late.  Lots on my mind.  My dad's death, his life, the people that he affected still flooding my mind. Another post coming soon about his Memorial Service which will have much more depth to it than anything I wrote about it on Facebook.  

Do NOT stay at the Executive Inn Odessa Texas

#executiveinnodessa @executiveinn
This review cannot be altered by, therefore this is what this place is.

I had gone to a funeral, spent half the day there, then got out on the Interstate, heading east.  I ran into nothing but very high priced hotel for hundreds of miles, 600 to be exact.  I finally found this place, Executive Inn,  on at a reasonable price and it had good reviews.

 I got there around 12:30 am on July 9th.  It was not a decent looking place to begin with, but I was committed via internet booking to this place, so I had no choice.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have even entered the property.

After I got checked in, got into room 215 - second floor on the back building, the first thing that assailed my sense was the horrific odor in this place.  It was unbelievable.  I mean, it was a stench that you just don't ignore.

The second thing that I noticed was the curtains didn't come together to either keep daylight out or peeping toms from looking in.  I ended up using my gun to hold the curtains down on the windowsill to overlap each other.

Third, was the noise. It was almost 1:00 am by this point and people were out in the parking lot, partying or doing whatever.  And then, a woman came right in front of my door and started talking LOUDLY to whoever down below.  I was so exhausted, I just wanted to go to sleep.  I was about to go out there and tell them all off, come what may, when the noise subsided.

However, the smell in there was almost nauseating.  It was the kind of stench that just sits in your nose and you can't do anything about it.  It took an hour before I finally dozed off, for about 4 hours before someone made a loud clanking noise next door and woke me up. And there was the stench, yet again.  Another hour later I fell back asleep.

The bathroom was gross.  Just disgusting. There were cigarette butts laying all over the sidewalk outside.  In front of the rooms on the concrete sidewalk on both floors as well.

This place is nasty as can be.  You are well-advised to steer FAR clear from this hell-hole.  Pay the extra money, stay at some of the better properties east of there down the road.

Oh and the bed!  Holes in the bedspread, presumably from cigarette burns.  But who knows? And these ugly green sheets.  And the feeling of being bitten - I assume bedbugs.

Finally, on, while looking at this property on my Iphone, there were numerous entries that were posted by "anonymous".  These posts are what drove the rating level of this "hotel" from hell up.  I assume this is the hotel owner or employees propping this pathetic, disgusting place up.
Again, please do yourself a favor, do whatever you have to, but do not stay at this place!

Interesting day. Up early - 4:00, jolted out of deep sleep by the ridiculous phone alarm - annoying as all get out but that's the inten...