Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dysfunction over Christmas

Okay this story needs a little background. A few years ago we were having Christmas dinner with my mother's side of the family at a farmhouse in rural Minnesota. I was seated directly to the left of my uncle Ben. He asked for someone to pass him the dinner rolls. Then he fell face down into his dinner. I leaned over to see what was going on, and his eyes were rolled back in his head and fluttering. He then lurched backwards. We laid him on the floor in the kitchen and checked his breathing and pulse, he had neither. My cousins began CPR. I started moving the card table that the kids were eating at so the ambulance crew could get there. We all watched my uncle Ben turn purple and die while they were still doing CPR. The ambulance finally got there after about 1/2 hour. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. They think he had a blood clot to the brain and died instantly.

Now that farmhouse has ALWAYS given me the creeps. Since I was a little girl, I always hated going there, but put up with it to try not to hurt my aunt Sue's feelings. Well, last year my aunt Sue died there in that creepy house.


My cousin Carrie (Sue's daughter) wants to have Christmas there this year. Frankly I only went there again after Ben died one time, and was completely tormented by visions of Ben turning purple and dying in that kitchen. I can't deal with going to that place. I'm not the only one, most of us feel that way, but don't know a polite way of saying we don't want to go there anymore.

I offered to have Christmas, and now I've apparently stirred the pot. (I didn't even tell her I don't want to go there anymore, I just offered to have it this year!) Carrie is calling everybody all upset, and won't address it with me.

Why are families so dysfunctional? My next move is to tell her why we don't want to come, and that will only hurt her feelings. The thing is, she grew up there and has lots of memories...we go there once a year, and the memories we have are not pleasant.


Nessa said...

Oh how horrible :(

Wow, I don't know how I would handle that. I think I would have gone the same route you did.

My next step would be to fib and say I'm spending it with Nick's family.

There is no reason for people to be uncomfortable for the holidays.

Walt said...

It seems no one I know is allowed to do what they really want for Christmas. I know I'm not allowed. My friend Sharon has never been allowed. Families ruin everything. But nothing can come close to your story. How horrible. It's sad that your cousin can't comprehend that after watching someone die at a family function might sour you on wanting to run the risk again. Is she normally irrational or is she just blind to it?

My ideal Christmas would be staying home and not dealing with any family. I'm going to my mom's house for the holiday. We'll go see Ken's mom probably the weekend just prior or just after Christmas. I want to pretend Christmas has been cancelled.

Walt said...

Nessa, you say that there is no reason for people to be uncomfortable for the holidays. While this should be true, it certainly isn't. The holidays are when the passive aggressive control freaks in every family start laying on the heat and the guilt to ruin it for everyone. Is it January yet?

Nessa said...

Well Walt, I am probably the passive aggressive control freak! :P

Being that there is only Derek, My sister, and I, Christmas is easy for me. I don't have any extended family (in the country at least)

I just really like Christmas. I like giving and cooking a nice dinner.

Fairy Princess Holly said...

In my world Christmas kinda sucks. Every year about this time I start asking all my Jewish friends if I can convert on time to miss Christmas! On Nick's side of the family, it's dysfunctional AND expensive. You have to buy a $30 gift for EVERY relative. Aunts, uncles, cousins, second's ridicules! I asked one year if we could just draw names. Nick's crazy control freak grandmother said, "Fine, maybe we should just cancel Christmas!" If only I would have told her what a fabulous idea that was! Instead I told her that it was ok and the way it is would be fine.

One of these years if I ever have the balls to do it, I'm going to just show up with my checkbook and proceed to write out checks right there in front of the tree. Merry Fucking Christmas. Glad your savior is's your fucking money! :) I'd laugh so hard, I'd have to be institutionalized!

So those are the reasons I hate Christmas. I have more, but I'll save them for a special holiday blog! :) Bah Humbug!

Kinda tragic my name is Holly, huh? Also kinda tragic I married someone named Nicholas too...we get the comments on how cute and festive our names are for the holidays. Blech!

Mr. Bee said...

Just tell her why. She would have to understand. And even if she doesn't, tough shit.
I told my family that I would not be home for Christmas this year. Which is kind of a big deal, since it will be the first Christmas without my mother. My reasoning is, I have spent so many holidays either going back and forth between two families or when we lived in Florida, spending holidays away from Michael because of his schedule. So this year, I am spending it with him. The two of us alone.
I will try and get up to see my father before Christmas, but that day is specifically reserved for the two of us (and British John if he is around).
I cannot think of a better way to spend Christmas.