The boys, after yet another graduation party, are spending the night at friends'. So it was a Parent Party here tonight and yes much wine was consumed by me. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Alcohol is wasted on youth.
I've had my two glasses of wine for the week and I'm ready to rant and roll:
My lovely, wonderful niece, Queenie, is graduating from college on Saturday. She is graduating in spite of her parents, who can't seem to grow up, can't seem to get away from drug addiction, promiscuity, money problems, marital problems, ad nauseum. Still, Queenie has made it. All on her own. She's kept on keeping on and even as she graduates with her bachelor's degree, she is getting ready, in July, to start her Master's program. And she has two kids. Two good kids. She is utterly amazing and I want you all to send blessings, today, to Queenie in Ohio who is UTTERLY AMAZING.
Here's the rant part: Queenie's dad is my beloved brother who can't get his act together.
Last May, my brother's wife OD'd on back pain. My brother had spent the day taking his wife around to pain clinics, trying to get someone to do something about her back pain (she injured it in a fall ten years previously). No one would do anything; probably because of fear of malpractice suits. When they got home that year ago, she said to my brother, I'm going to a friend's house. My brother started watching a movie. At the friend's house, his wife put a 7-day morphine patch into her mouth. She fell asleep then died.
My brother called my mom, frantically. "She died," he said. "She died." My mom called me because I live closer to my brother. I drove immediately to his house where the death was confirmed. We (me and my other siblings, nieces, nephews) sat shiva with my brother. It was a terrible night of wailing, pulling hair, and gnashing teeth.
We buried my sister-in-law in style. Over 200 friends and family attended her ceremony. She was beloved in her community of casual drug-users, horse folks, and wayward teens she had helped raise.
In the year since she died, my brother, Queenie's father, has fallen apart. He's spent the insurance money, $20 grand, on drugs. He failed a drug test at his work, then got fired. He blew through his $16 grand of retirement money. 'Round about January I wrote him a letter saying as long as he was on drugs I couldn't help him. Couldn't give him money, couldn't help with his house payment, couldn't in any shape or form help him buy drugs, couldn't watch him die as his wife had died. Oxycottin: the drug that did him in.
Last week, my brother lost his house, forfeited to the bank for lack of payment. He moved in with a meth-addicted girlfriend. Soon, if he is not in jail, he will be living with my handicapped brother who is turning out, despite all his problems, to be the very normal person in this soap opera (he took in my brother's dogs when my brother lost his house).
This is the scenario in which my beloved Queenie struggles to raise her kids and put herself through college. I'm honored to be hosting her graduation party on Saturday. If anyone ever asked me who my hero was, I'd shout: Queenie!
(Looking through the photos, it's hard to find one of Queenie without a baby in her arms, so I chose this one of me, on the left, and her, on the right, getting our Pink Lady groove on.)
Blessings, dear Queenie. Blessings, blessings, blessings.
The Pink Ladies: Me, my sister, my mom (center), Queenie (left front), my sister-in-law who died of back pain (right front). This photo was taken six months before she died.