Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Lost Weekend...Or...Jonah's Friend, Ray

So Jonah has this friend.  They've been friends since junior high or high school, and this friend (let's call him Ray) has been a presence, both major and minor, in Jonah's life as long as Jonah and I have been together.

I have never liked Ray.

I hate to say that because there are few people I dislike, and I can't think of a single person I hate.

It bothers me that I dislike Ray, not because I want to like him, but because I feel very hard-hearted and tense when I'm around him, which aren't good feelings.  I don't like that kind of negativity in my life.

And while I feel like maybe I should have sympathy towards Ray, I don't.  It's true he's had a hard life.  Both of his parents died when he was young, and his mother's death, in particular, was very difficult on him; he's a drug-addict, he's HIV-positive; he has some mental issues; he's estranged from his only surviving sister; he's practically homeless; and he's pretty much helpless.

And yet, I also feel like he's so immature, irresponsible, reckless, rude, inappropriate, selfish, crass, lazy, unaccountable, dishonest, and a taker that most of the problems he has are of his own doing.  He's like a manchild who refuses to grow up or take responsibility for himself.  He continually blames others for all his problems, but never himself.  While it's true he has sought counseling and therapy, the only therapists he'll stick with are the ones who are willing to validate his bad behavior rather than those who seek to help him overcome his flaws.  He burned through a very sizeable inheritance in just three years, spending it on drugs, partying, and needless gadgets and toys and now finds himself virtually penniless.  He will never find a stable relationship because all he seems to look for is easy sex; that, and the fact that few people can stand to be around him for any extended length of time; he's pretty much alienated anyone who has ever tried to help him or stay his friend, including Jonah, who is finally almost as fed up with Ray as I was when I met him years ago.  He continually tries to dominate the conversation, and usually he and his problems and issues are at the center of it.  He's a leech - the kind of guy who wants to go to dinner or the movies with you, but always expects you to pay his way; the kind of guy who will crash at your house and take your food as though it's his and never thank you for it.  He's a slob and is truly like a little kid who expects everyone around him to clean up his messes and provide for his every need.

Early on in our relationship, I always felt Jonah enabled Ray's bad behavior and Jonah admits that he probably did.  I think Jonah has always felt responsible for Ray because Ray's mom on her deathbed asked Jonah to make sure Ray was taken care of.  And true to his generosity and loving nature, Jonah has tried to do so.  But the friendship has always been so unbalanced: Jonah gave, gave, gave, and all Ray ever did was take, take, take.

About a year ago Jonah finally reached a breaking point with Ray and has distanced himself from his friend, much like many of Ray's friends have done.

I remember when Jonah and I had our commitment ceremony in 2008, Ray stayed at Mom's house with another of Jonah's friends.  Mom's conclusion at the end of Ray's stay was that she liked Jonah's other friend, but really didn't like "that other guy" (Ray).  This coming from a woman who liked just about everybody.

Fortunately Ray lives in California, so we don't see him much.  However, he had to come here this weekend to take care of some personal business and Jonah (unbeknownst to me) told him he could stay here a few days.  I have spent this whole weekend trying to avoid Ray.  I know that sounds mean, but I just don't like him and I don't like how I feel when I'm around him.  He tires and agitates me.  He makes me uncomfortable.  Even Jonah has been avoiding him and told me today he hopes he's leaving tomorrow.  I hope so, too.

I know this must sound terrible, but I just have to vent somewhere.  It might as well be my blog.


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Tribute To Harold

Jonah had a dream about a week or so ago.  In it, Mom paid him a visit.  She was very childlike, much like she was in her dementia days.  She was holding a white book and she was in a blue room.  Those were the main details Jonah remembers and one other big one: she was coming for someone.

I've learned that Jonah's dreams are not to be ignored.  He's very intuitive and almost psychic, and he has had many dreams that have been precursors to major events.  Two days before his dad died Jonah had a dream that his grandfather came to visit, and he was troubled by the dream because he thought it might be an indication that his dad would pass soon, which he did.

Once skeptical, I've learned to take Jonah's dreams and feelings seriously because he's usually 99% right about the intuitions he's having.

We wondered who Mom might be coming for.  My uncle (Dad's brother) was recently re-diagnosed with cancer.  My great-aunt and great-uncle are both in their late 90s.  I wondered who Mom might be coming for.

Two days ago my sister called my tears telling me that the daughter-in-law of Harold (Mom's pseudo-"boyfriend" from her days in assisted living) had called to let her know that Harold was in hospice care.

My sister wasn't necessarily crying over Harold.  It sounded like she had just had a really difficult and painful couple of weeks overall.  In fact, both my sister and I found much to rejoice in.  Harold, after all, hadn't looked well at all the last time we saw him in January.  He was very depressed and lonely and while I'm sure he never would have acted on it, he even seemed suicidal.  His body and spirit were broken.  It was hard to see him like that.

It gives me great comfort knowing he will be with his late wife soon and that he will get to see Mom again and meet Dad as well.  It makes me happy that he will be free of his suffering.

But it also brought up old feelings (or rather, lingering feelings) of when Mom died, and that has been hard.  I also regret that since I saw Harold in January I never spoke to him again.  I was pretty good about calling him and even attempted to several times, but was never able to get a hold of him.  Still, I know Harold knows how I felt about him, and that must be enough.

A friend of mine at work gave me a good perspective as we talked about how I was feeling.  She said, "It was great that this man was able to help your mom make the transition into assisted living and make her feel good about being there after so much time of not wanting to be there.  I believe your mom is now helping Harold make the transition from his life here, which has become very sad, to his life on the other side, which will be one of happiness."  I liked that.

I will miss you, Harold, and I will be forever grateful for all you did for my Mom and for the special friendship you had.  I'll miss talking to you and sharing stories about Mom.  I'll miss visiting you at the assisted living facility (now I really have no reason to go back there).  I'm glad I got to see you one last time before you leave us.  I'm glad you and Mom were away from each other for only a half a year, and I'm glad you'll get to be reunited again (but don't forget, she's with Dad now).  I love you, my friend.