I want to start by assuring you that I loved being a dad well, up to about the time Ryan was 13 or 14 years old. That’s when I began to see him turn into a stranger that I no longer recognized. I especially loved when he was a toddler & I began to ask him for a hug and he’d waddle across the room & give me or Jeri a hug. It was especially touching when he’d ask us for a hug. He was such a happy & mellow toddler that people used to ask us what our secret was. We’d chuckle and reply something to the effect that no, we didn’t have any magic bag of tricks but we treated him like a person i.e. not the typical baby talk many parents use with their children.
And throughout most of his elementary school years, Ryan was a generous & loving son i.e. he’d make us breakfast on Mother’s Day as well as Father’s Day and our birthdays, etc. I would look for opportunities where I could pretend that I was stuck in figuring out how to fix something & would ask Ryan to help me figure it out so his self-confidence would grow. In fact, starting somewhere in his middle school years, I kept suggesting to him that he learn how to fix cars. I told him that not only would he save himself a lot of money but that he could also earn some pocket money from his friends by helping them fix their cars & of course, he grew up to be a top of the line mechanic.
I especially remember with great fondness the joy, love, & warmth of Jeri’s love for our son. She absolutely glowed as a mother and I have honestly never met another woman so well-suited to the role or better qualified. Unfortunately, due to a combination of factors, mostly the demands of Jeri’s ridiculously demanding work as a special education teacher & my sensitive nature, we drifted apart in terms of intimacy. But on the deeper levels of what constitutes love between two people, our love for one another never wavered.
After my mother passed away, I was executor of her estate along with my Aunt Sylvia & she told me something one day that really touched my heart. She said that my mom had said to her, “Jeri is always there for Rob no matter what & he deserves that and has never had that before.” I believe that I too was always there for Jeri and that she knew it too & that’s why she included me in her Will? For instance, Jeri and I were separated when Ryan was in the 7th grade & I wasn’t working but had my inheritance from my mom’s passing and had my own apt. Well it was a particularly rough year for Ryan in terms of asthma attacks. He missed over 65 days of school that year due to his asthma & Jeri would call me the night before and ask if I could come over the next day to stay home with him.
I was always only too glad to be able to do so & I don’t say this to brag and I don’t deserve a medal or anything for having done it. In my book, it’s what any loving father would/should do. It made me feel good knowing that I helped take some of the worry off Jeri’s mind because she knew that no babysitter could care as much for his welfare as his father would. And when Jeri had some major project to do like painting the exterior of her home, cutting the wood from a tree she had felled, etc., she would head for the phone book but I’d insist that I could take care of it and for a lot less money & would get some of my friends to help and we’d do it. Portions of her fence would fall down from time to time due to the strong winds that would assault us & it gave me another opportunity to help her out.
And when we were together, I usually cooked dinner for us because poor Jeri often put in ten to twelve-hour days & would be totally exhausted by the time she got home. I tried explaining this to Ryan several times i.e. being a family isn’t just about sharing the good times, eating goodies, having fun, etc., it’s also about sharing the work. I usually spent anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half preparing good, nutritious meals, not just heating up some frozen dinner crap.
I truly appreciated whatever opportunity that came along which allowed me to be of help to Jeri because she had been there so many times when I had my back up against the wall i.e. I’d be stranded & broke in Europe and she’d send me a plane ticket back to Oregon or I couldn’t get a job for the life of me i.e. I was either “under-qualified” or “over-qualified.” And many of those jobs they said I wasn’t qualified to do was such a farce because I’ve seen how incompetent those performing those jobs were.
Moreover, I often had to practically plead with the employers who said I was “over-qualified” and would basically say, Look, wouldn’t you rather have someone over-qualified than not qualified? I still have bills to pay and if you treat me right & give me the opportunity, I guarantee you that I’ll be your best & hardest working employee. Unfortunately, there were several periods in my working life where I couldn’t find work for several months or more & Jeri allowed me to sleep on her couch. This is hard on a man’s pride & feelings of self-worth but Jeri was always gracious, or at least, most of the time but yeah, there was often friction between us. Yet underneath it all, I was comforted by the knowledge that she, like no one else I’ve ever known, cared more deeply about not only my physical well-being, but also my mental & emotional well-being.
Furthermore, it also warmed my heart that again, whether we were together or separated, when serious family matters came up i.e. when she discovered that Ryan was stealing money from her purse when he was around 11 or 12, she called me and asked how we should deal with it & I came over and we dealt with it then & there. Or when our dog, Rocket, was so old & in pain, I convinced her that the right thing for us to do was to take him to the humane society and have him put to sleep. I broke down in tears as we said goodbye to our old friend & I know that Jeri was relieved and knew too that it was the right decision.
Continuing on, when Jeri and I would be separated & I had my own place, often sharing a house or apt. with a roommate, I’d have Ryan stay the weekend with me. We’d do fun things together, stay up late, eat goodies. Sometimes Ryan would start to bad-mouth Jeri but I’d stop him and remind him of how much his mom loved him & how hard she worked to provide a good home, food, clothes, etc. I called Ryan just about every night when we didn’t live under the same roof to ask him how his day had been & I’d tell him that I loved him as we said goodbye.
I’m telling you all this not to simply brag but to illustrate how things used to be between my son & I. And next to the loss of my beloved wife & the best friend I have ever had, Ryan’s betrayal of not only me but Jeri as well, has been the second most painful experience I’ve ever known. Before I veer off on the dark path, here’s a sketch of what I believe were the good things I did as a father;
- I went to every Little League game of his for the seven years he was in Little League
- I attended just about every practice he went to for Little League
- I went to every parent/teacher conference throughout his schooling
- I stayed with him in the hospital overnight the vast majority of the times he was hospitalized because Jeri made three times the money I did & we figured that if anyone should have to lose their job, it made more sense for me to be the one
- I spent over a year building him a tree-house (I’m a pathetic carpenter & was the joke at the local hardware store)
- I insisted we get a dog because I believe every child should have a dog & learn how to care for their pets
- I took him on several trips with just him & I including the month we spent in Europe of August 1997 & I looked for every opportunity to teach him street smarts—we backpacked, took Eurail, slept in youth hostels, etc.
- Jeri and I both took turns reading to him in bed most nights throughout elementary school
- I insisted that he read for at least 20 minutes per day during summer vacations
- And when he was in high school, Jeri & her brother, Howard began encouraging Ryan to join the military when he graduated from high school. I’ve only jumped down Jeri’s throat a couple of times in all the years we loved one another & this was one of them. I was so worried about this possibility that I sat down at the kitchen table for two days in a row & must’ve written for 7 to 8 hours each day pouring out every reason I could as to why a young person should not join the military, in fact, that was my original title & a few years later I edited & expanded it and the title is now; The Politics of Patriotism. And it’s one of the essays I am proudest of & I have received some very nice compliments on it from several notable writers. I pleaded with Ryan to read it several times since I wrote it but he never could bother but then again, he never joined the military.
- I gave Jeri $500 towards Ryan’s bar mitzvah & read a piece I’d written for the occasion & a poem by Bob Dylan and I became emotional in front of the crowd of people present.
Now for the ugly part or the betrayal as I see it. Ryan was in either the seventh or eighth grade when I had my first rude & sad awakening. I overheard him & his best friend, Jeff, in the next room making fun of homeless people. I believe I told Jeri about it but she was in denial and I believe her denial lasted right up until the last month of her life when I told her that I had called Ryan the night she’d returned from L.A. because I was so worried about her obvious physical weakness & that I had gotten emotional over the phone. I had waited a day to see if he’d call his mom but he didn’t. And he only lived a ten-minute drive away.
Jeri didn’t say anything regarding this matter to me but I knew that he had cut her to the bone. She waited for four days & then sent him an e-mail saying that now she knew what kind of man he was & that she was very disappointed in him. I have saved this e-mail and would be glad to share it with any of you who may doubt me. Yeah, I do believe that some of you may doubt me because it seems that I have been kicked to the curb so-to-speak by most of you. Clearly you don’t have a clue as to the true nature & history of Jeri and mine’s love for one another.
Before I forget, there’s one more item that I’d like to share with you, it’s a You Tube video I created a few years before Jeri passed away. Jeri told me that it brought tears to her eyes; I had written this essay several years before I posted it on You Tube and I’m happy that at least Jeri got to view it before she passed on.
Okay, back to the heart of darkness that this essay is about. As I mentioned earlier, Ryan has spent many days & nights in the hospital due to asthma attacks as he was growing up. Well, I’ve had surgery three or four times in the past dozen years or so and not only has Ryan never visited me when I was in the hospital, he never even picked up a phone to call and ask how I was doing. It was particularly depressing when I was in the hospital one New Year’s Eve.
Admittedly, his lack of empathy or concern about me is painful & while I’m willing to acknowledge that maybe I wasn’t the best role model as a father with my drinking, there is absolutely no excuse for the hurt he caused Jeri. For instance, a day or two before Ryan got married in Las Vegas, Jeri flew down to do what she could to help out. It was Mother’s Day and Ryan took his wife to be & her mother out to breakfast for Mother’s Day but didn’t invite Jeri. Howard—Jeri’s brother—and her had only paid for their three-week honeymoon cruise in the Mediterranean, about $10,000 I believe? And yeah, I know that money isn’t the point but it still merits a mention here.
Moreover, in terms of hurting Jeri, a few years before she passed on, Ryan casually announced at a Thanksgiving gathering that he was getting a vasectomy. To be honest, I had never really given the matter much thought, I guess I just took it for granted that one day I’d be a grandfather especially after Ryan had gotten married. But I know this decision on Ryan & his wife’s part, really hurt Jeri. And the casual, matter of fact way that he announced it also revealed his coldness i.e. “Kids are too expensive.”
Above all, his almost complete heartlessness for the last month of his mother’s life, is why I disowned him and will never speak to him again! About a week or two after I had told Jeri that I had called Ryan & told him about his mother’s condition, did he bother to come over to her home & that was only because she had called him & requested that he do so because she had something she wanted to tell him & I.
We all sat down in Jeri’s living room & when she made her announcement, I was flabbergasted. She told us that she was “gifting” each of us $22,000. I said, I’m trying to hold back my tears Jeri. And Ryan immediately started lecturing me on how I should spend my gift from Jeri. I tried to bite my tongue for as long as I could but when I started to get angry, Jeri intervened and calmed things down. The audacity of this greedy, self-centered little prick was unbelievable? I simply couldn’t comprehend where or why he thought he was qualified to lecture me in such a condescending manner?
And that was the only time he could be bothered to come over to his mom’s house in the last month of her life. The next time he visited his mother was when I called him from the emergency room after I had taken Jeri there. She was in emergency for only a couple of hours before they transferred her upstairs to the I.C.U. I believe Ryan stayed for a few hours before leaving?
Jeri tried to persuade me to go to her house and get some sleep but I refused to because I knew that if I were in her shoes, I’d feel better knowing a loved one was there by my side. In fact, Jeri tried to get me to at least go sleep in the waiting area but again, I wanted my love to know she wasn’t alone & I slept in a chair by her bed.
Let me backtrack at this point as to how/why I took Jeri to the emergency room. As I mentioned already, upon Jeri’s return from L.A., she was visibly very weak & her strength along with her vision continued to degenerate over the next month. I drove her to doctor & ophthalmologist appointments almost daily. I offered to do the grocery shopping on my own but she was tired of being in bed all the time. But she could only stay on her feet for no more than 20 minutes at a time before needing to sit down & rest.
In fact, we joked about getting a bell she could ring like those rich people in the movies who’d ring a bell for their servants to come. It was funny because I’d be in the front room watching T.V. and Jeri would call me on her smart phone when she wanted or needed something. And one morning, I heard the t.v. in her room on so I went to see how she was. I asked her how she’d slept the night before & she replied; “Horribly, I was in agony.”
I said, that’s it, I’m taking you to the hospital. She kept arguing with me but I was persistent and she finally gave up & agreed to go. She then wanted to change her clothes even though I tried to reassure her that she was dressed appropriately. I gave in and asked her if she’d like some privacy while she changed. She said; yes please. So, I stepped just outside her bedroom & left the door ajar so I could hear her.
I heard her struggling for several minutes to get dressed & then I asked if she could use some help. She faintly replied; “Yes please.” She was trying to pull her jeans up but didn’t have the strength to do so on her own so I helped her. I quickly went out to her car, and opened the passenger door then went back in and picked her up in my arms and carried her to her car & helped her into the seat. I drove to the nearest hospital I knew of & parked outside the Emergency entrance in the middle of the parking area. I ran inside and grabbed a wheelchair and went back to her car & lifted her into the wheelchair and wheeled her into Emergency.
The receiving nurse in Emergency or whatever you call them, could see how bad a shape Jeri was in & didn’t say shit about filling out forms and Jeri was immediately taken into Emergency. A guard told me that I needed to move my car so I did and then I called Ryan. I went back in and was standing outside the room where the doctors were helping Jeri. A female doctor came out and said; “Your wife is very sick and she told us of how great a care you’ve been taking of her.” I was struggling to keep from breaking down completely right then & there but I managed to keep it together at least on the surface.
As I recall, Jeri wasn’t in Emergency very long before they moved her up to the I.C.U. While I was waiting outside the Emergency room she was being attended to in, I got a phone call from the teacher I used to work for at Arcata High School in Humboldt County. We had agreed to do a conference call between him, the Vice-Principal of the high school and myself regarding a position. I had worked there for the entire school year a few years earlier. But when I answered the phone, I told them that I couldn’t speak right now because my wife was in Emergency. My former supervisor told me; “You know what Rob, we don’t need to interview you, I know of your work ethic. You have the job. Can you be here by the 26th of August?” I replied, I don’t know, can I call you back? Greg said, “sure.”
Later on, when Jeri and I were alone in her room in the I.C.U., I told her about the phone call and she urged me to go because she knew how long I’d been out of work and desperately trying to find a job. I replied; Honey, I can get a job anytime, that’s not important. What’s important is you and I’m staying here with you.
I then told Jeri that I was going to start calling family & friends to let them know what was going on. I mentioned her brother, Howard & her niece, Anna first and Jeri said okay. Then I listed her friend from childhood, Arna and Jeri’s immediate response was, “No!” After a few moments though, she relented and said; “Well, okay.” This confirmed what I had long suspected i.e. there had been a falling-out between them. And my hunch is that it had a lot to do with me? I say this because sometimes Jeri would go down to L.A. to take care of some business but a few times after she’d returned from L.A. and I would ask her if she got together with Arna, Jeri snapped back with; “I don’t always need to see Arna when I go down to L.A.”
Reading between the lines, my guess is that Arna, like Jeri’s family and others, couldn’t understand why she continued to care about me & would help me when I was down and out. And again, my guess is that Arna probably bad-mouthed me to Jeri and this pissed Jeri off. You see, Jeri was always much more private than me & would keep her personal business to herself and not share it so freely like I do.
And since we’re on the subject of Arna, I’m going to fast-forward to the morning that Jeri passed on because like Ryan, Arna took off her mask of civility and revealed her contempt for me. I mentioned that Jeri’s niece, Anna, had hurt my feeling when she said that I had scared Jeri when I leaned in to kiss her once, before her vision had gone completely. I tried to explain to Anna that it wasn’t that I had scared Jeri but rather that I had startled her because her vision had deteriorated so dramatically that when I came into view, she was startled, not scared.
After saying this to Arna, her immediate response was something like; “I don’t give a shit what you feel!” I was taken aback by her coldness especially after the fact that I had suggested calling her right after calling Jeri’s brother & niece and Arna had witnessed my holding Jeri’s hand pretty much the entire 12 hours roughly after the doctors pulled the plug on the machine that was keeping Jeri alive.
I know that I’m veering away from the subject to some extent but I also mention this because I reached out to Arna for help regarding Jeri’s brother, Howard, and his betrayal of me by leading me on for a couple of years re: giving me the 15% of Jeri’s share of their parent’s Will because Jeri had bequeathed to me that amount in her Will. Arna was amazed that I dared to reach out to her for help after having been so shitty to her on the morning I’m referring to. She reminded me of how I had treated her and the fact that she had bought all that food for our big breakfast. She also asked what my “end game” was?
Asking this sort of question regarding my behavior towards my son is perhaps only the kind of question a lawyer could ask? And for the record, this isn’t a fucking game, this is a matter of principle & character i.e. mine! Once again, this shows how shallow not only Arna is but all those who sit in judgment of me and of Jeri & mine’s relationship over the years. I do remember being cold towards Arna after her retort when I tried to express my sadness at Anna’s perspective. But to my recollection, I was pretty subtle & only really obvious in my sarcasm as she was walking out Jeri’s front door and I said to her; Well, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out! And the kicker regarding Arna’s negative reply to my e-mail of a few months back was her demand that I apologize to her & that I should put all Ryan’s words & behavior in the past. And she assured me at the same time that if I were to reply to her e-mail that she wouldn’t even read it before deleting it. Well, so much for the ice queen.
Continuing on with the calls to people about Jeri’s condition in the I.C.U. Even though I was jealous of Jeri’s friend, Randy, who owned the hot air balloon she often crewed on & they had a relationship after Jeri & I officially divorced in 2007, I called him to let him know because I knew that Jeri cared for him. And when he showed up, I offered to give them some privacy. They both insisted that it wasn’t necessary but I left anyways.
Returning to the subject of my beloved son, to the best of my recollection, he graced his mother with a few hours of his valuable time each day. But one of central reasons why I can’t and won’t ever forgive him is the fact that he chose to not take off two of the four days his mom was in the I.C.U. before she died. He worked for himself and some may attempt to argue that therefore, he couldn’t take the time off. I say, Bull fuckin’ shit! If a person puts the making of money before being there for a dying parent who loved them as fully & completely as any parent could possibly do, they clearly lack the basic qualities of what it means to be human.
Albeit, I did manage to persuade the lizard king to stay the night with his mom after her vision had completely gone & she could no longer speak. I wanted to go to Jeri’s house and create a final playlist of music for her. You see, to my mind, if I were dying and could no longer see or speak, music would be a nice distraction & help in my final hours.
Howard and Anna wanted to go back to Jeri’s with me so they did. Ryan and his wife stayed with Jeri. I spent several hours creating several music CDs for Jeri selecting every single song with the aim of saying something special to the love of my life or hoping to? I had completed my task and it was the middle of the night. Anna and I were talking & I told her that I was going back to the hospital. Anna asked if she could come & of course I said yeah. She said she wanted to wake Howard up and he too decided to join us. When we got back to Jeri’s room, Ryan was irritated and yeah, he asked me why I was there?
Do you still think/feel that I’m the bad guy? How could a loving son ask such a question is what I want to know? I believe that Howard & Anna went out to the waiting area and slept for the remainder of the night and that I slept in a chair in Jeri’s room? Not really sure, some of the incidents & times are a bit jumbled in my memory bank but not the key points.
For example, I believe it was the next day when I put the first music CD on in a boom box I had brought with me. But it only played for about 20 minutes or so before Ryan commanded that I turn the music off. And my next action or rather, inaction is something for which I’ll never be able to forgive myself. I was livid with rage but some part of me, I don’t know if it was my head or my heart, said, don’t do it Rob. Think about Jeri. You’ll upset her and she’s already going through Hell. So, like a coward, I shut the music off & I shut my mouth even though I wanted so badly to slap him down & scream at the top of my lungs; You ignorant, heartless prick! Don’t you get it? The music is for your mom!
I don’t know if irony is the right word here or perhaps “poignant,” but the fact that a couple of months earlier, Jeri and I were standing in her kitchen and she told me; “Rob, I really like the music CDs you’ve made for me over the years.”
The simple, incontrovertible fact that this alien creature I used to consider my son, couldn’t even comprehend that I created the music as a last testament of my love and care for his mother and it was for her pleasure, her pain, and hopefully a bit of respite from the sure knowledge that she was living her last hours on this earth. He was clearly unable to put himself in her shoes and consider how it might feel to not be able to speak or see but only to feel and hear as we, her loved ones, surrounded her for her last days, hours, & moments.
You see, when Jeri thanked me the first time on that day that I mentioned above, I gave a perfunctory “that’s okay, your welcome.” But Jeri reiterated, “No Rob, I really love the CDs you made me, especially when I’m driving on a long-distance trip” (she took such trips on her hot air ballooning experiences).
When she made it clear how serious she was in her thanks to me, it warmed my heart. I had periodically made music CDs for her throughout the years, and music cassettes before CDs came along. In fact, I have shared my music with family & friends for many years and love doing so. You see, this is all by way of my saying that what one of Jeri’s most precious nurses in the I.C.U. said when she took me aside some time after Ryan’s heartless command, touched me to my very soul.
This angel of a nurse & a person told me in private that Jeri said to her, and remember, this is after Jeri supposedly could no longer see or speak, that Jeri said to her; “I like the music.” These words have perplexed me ever since. Was this nurse simply trying to console me or did Jeri manage to utter these last words as this nurse was giving her a sponge bath or changing her or something? But whatever it was, it does give me some comfort to believe that Jeri knew to her dying moment how deep my love was for her. And even though we had “legally divorced,” that didn’t mean shit because we had honored that vow of “Until death do you part.”
Continuing on in my retelling of Ryan’s unbelievably callous behavior as his mother was dying and immediately after she had passed, is the fact that when the doctor came in to Jeri’s room and pronounced her officially dead, the doctor then informed us that Jeri’s body would be taken down to the morgue. I’m not sure if I screamed or merely raised my voice but I made it very clear when I said; No fuckin’ morgue!
I believe the doctor stepped outside the room for a few moments then returned and said; “Okay, she can remain here until the mortuary company comes to pick her up.” Ryan stood to leave, showing no signs of deep grief and I exclaimed; Wait a minute, we have to make funeral arrangements. He quipped; “Nope, anybody who mattered was here, that’s that.”
Again, I was incredulous and wondered if Ryan’s body hadn’t been invaded by some alien? And with that, Ryan & his wife got up and just walked out. My memory is a bit hazy here but I believe that Howard, Anna, & I may have stayed about a half hour before we left. And I feel such guilt for leaving before the mortuary company arrived & don’t know why I did? I feel that I abandoned my angel and there was no good reason for having done so.
Well, I believe it was that very same morning when we had returned to Jeri’s house when I got a call from a supposed good friend of Jeri’s. She asked me for Ryan’s phone number which I gave her. And I asked her if we could arrange a service where we could dump Jeri’s ashes from a hot-air balloon. Jeri’s friend said she’d ask.
The next day, Ryan called me to complain about all the people calling him & asking about funeral services for his mom. He was upset with me for giving them his phone number. And in a day or two, I learned that Jeri’s friend, Randy, whom I had called to let him know that she was dying, had decided that no, I wouldn’t be the one allowed to drop Jeri’s ashes from his hot air balloon even though it was my idea, but Ryan would. Yep! My “son” who didn’t even want to have a service was to be the one. Again, I’m just the worthless bastard who loved Jeri more than I love life itself, and the Hell with me.
I guess people have so much respect for the law i.e. the holy writ of a divorce, that it supersedes insignificant things like love and the abundant evidence of my love for Jeri? But curiously, that respect for the law seems to vanish into the ether whenever it comes to the crimes committed by the super-rich?
Believe it or not, I am going to attempt to wind this up now. A couple of the final straws that caused me to go over the edge and disown my former “son,” were the fact that he locked the gate to his mom’s house after she died. As I said, I was mostly on the road for the first few months but when I’d occasionally pass through Portland & even though the power was turned off, I’d spend the night in Jeri’s house just to be near her spirit but then he denied me even that. And backtracking yet again, several days after Jeri passed on & I was heading down towards Arcata for that job I told you about, I called Ryan and asked if he’d use his credit card to renew my AAA membership, and that I’d send him a money order to reimburse him.
Jeri had long ago accepted this about me i.e. my rejection of the whole credit racket or scam. You might reflect on the fact that just a couple of weeks before the world-wide economic collapse of 2008, those much-vaunted credit rating agencies of ours were still giving the super banks, the hedge funds, the insurance giant, A.I.G., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc. all triple A credit ratings? But, if you or I are defrauded by corporations like AT&T which happens all the time & we refuse to pay their fraudulent claims against us, we are the criminals & our credit rating which rules over whether you can rent an apt., get a job, etc.
Well, I’ve only been studying politics for well over 30 years and conservatively have invested at least 49,000 hours in doing so, but obviously, I’m not going to be able to enlighten my son as to what a scam the whole credit game is in just a few sentences. So, it was clearly easier for him to write me off as a loser. Try to imagine how that would make you feel after all that I have shared with you regarding my love for my son as he was growing up. His condescending, patronizing, insulting tone on the phone that night as I stood outside that motel on my way south to Arcata cut me to the bone & I could no longer keep my feelings from erupting.
I simply informed him that not only had he just lost his mother, he had now lost his father as well. Ryan calmly replied; “Fine, you will hear from me through my lawyer from now on.”
As far as I’m concerned, Ryan no longer exists and I regret the day he was born. Before he came along, Jeri and I enjoyed a happy, healthy, and lively intimate relationship. And no, I’m not saying that I regret the joys of being a father when he was a toddler and as he went through elementary school. But yeah, I do regret what he became. And even more, I regret all the love Jeri and I wasted on him because he obviously evolved into some foreign being that now resembles nothing like the loving child we used to know.
I am sending this to the parties mentioned. And you Howard & Arna specifically, may feel that I deserve all this misery & sadness? Well, I submit that if you do, that speaks far more strongly as to who you are, not me.
I have been to Europe twice since Jeri has died. Europe used to be my Fountain of Youth, so-to-speak. And I took pride in the fact that I had been to Europe about a dozen times, often on a one-way ticket & sleeping on park benches, digging ditches, moving furniture to survive. Yet my first trip since Jeri’s passing was for three weeks & my second trip was for only three days. Why? Because there is no more joy in traveling for me since Jeri is gone. She was my Rock of Gibraltar, my guiding spirit, my home.
I never would’ve thought it possible for me to lose my love of travel & adventure that has animated my whole life since I was in the second grade and found that travel journal of a couple of college students who had rented my grandmother’s upper floor in her house.
Yeah, I used to think/believe as most young men do in their late teens and early 20s that we were/are invincible and the world was our oyster. But we, who make it to the ripe old age of 66, come to realize that it’s more luck than anything that has allowed us to still be here.
Now, I feel like a man adrift in a rough sea desperately searching for something to cling to & hopefully keep me afloat. I was lonely the times Jeri and I were separated but I never felt all alone because I could call her or e-mail her any time I wanted to and she always promptly responded. We often spoke via telephone two or three times a week just to check in with one another as to how we were doing. And I often sent her articles on healthy foods, inspirational pieces (hoping to persuade her to retire early & go live in Tuscany for example and renew her love for painting, playing the flute, etc.) but she kept putting it off & rationalizing that she would do so next year even though she had more than enough money since her parents passed away
But now, my life-line, my soulmate, is on another plane of existence & I’m only with her occasionally in my dreams. I am slowly inching my way back to the living but as far as I’m concerned, Ryan is like a creature from another planet, a real alien, like Donald Trump, because I don’t see anything resembling a human in him!
And to switch gears completely, this is a song that Jeri and I danced to on the very first night we met at the Basin Street Lounge in Bellflower, CA, & it was “our song” from then on. I can think of no better way to end this sad essay than on the positive note of a love that few are able to comprehend or appreciate yet my love for this angel come down to earth is etched into my soul for eternity!
And another song that conveys just how deeply I dream of being reunited with my guardian angel;
I would willingly enter the gates of Hell and descend to the lowest rung of Dante’s Inferno if it would allow me one more day with my sweet angel, Jeri. And I would give all the knowledge, truth, & wisdom that I have sacrificed my life in the pursuit of for the same. I swear this on all that is holy to me!
Rob DeLoss, March 30, 2019
I forgot an important part and an event that could’ve changed my life significantly? A couple of weeks before Jeri left this world, she asked me to drive her to a lawyer’s office. She wanted to create a Living Trust. I waited in the car for a couple of hours but when she came out of the law office, she told me that they hadn’t completed the Trust. I went through Hell dealing with my sisters & my nephew as executor of my mom’s estate & knew how problematic it could be if Jeri passed away without her living trust completed. When the doctors told us how serious Jeri’s condition was and that she might not make it, I called the lawyer Jeri had started her living trust with & asked him to transfer Jeri’s basic wishes from the living trust into a Will and bring it to her hospital room so she could sign it.
The lawyer came in with a young lady, a paralegal to serve as a second witness to Jeri’s signing of her Will. Jeri became very agitated and was adamant about changing her Will. The lawyer said that it could cause serious problems down the line & I persuaded Jeri to just leave it as it was. I wasn’t even aware that she had named me in her Will. Howard & Anna were present when Jeri signed her Will.
Several months after Jeri passed away, I wanted to contest the Will because of how horribly Ryan was behaving towards me. I called the lawyer and asked if he’d corroborate the fact that Jeri wanted to change her Will & his first response was “Why? Do you want to sue me?” I was surprised that this was his response. I didn’t pursue the matter because it seemed like a long-shot for me to win. And when I called the lawyer again, he now denied ever saying that if Jeri changed her Will it could cause serious problems down the line. The paralegal had left the law office and I wasn’t able to track her down to verify my account of the signing of the Will. I asked Anna to back me up & yes, she remembered the event as I did but she wouldn’t go against her uncle Howard.
Looking back and given what I know now about Howard, he claimed to not remember Jeri wanting to change her Will but I believe he was covering his tracks because he was already plotting to cheat me out of what Jeri wanted me to have? Bottom-line and why I brought this matter up is that given how cold-blooded Ryan was the last month of Jeri’s life & as she told that first doctor in the Emergency room, “Rob took wonderful care of me for the past month,” or something to that effect, Jeri may very well have wanted to name me the executor of her estate & maybe even leave me a much greater percentage than the 15% she had originally put down in her Living Trust? Wishful thinking? Perhaps? But then why did she “gift” me and Ryan equal amounts of $22,000 a few weeks prior to her passing? Ryan wasn’t there when Jeri signed her Will and might not have had such an easy go of it had I not taken the initiative and had her Will prepared & followed through on. And I’m sure that he thinks he deserved every last dollar.
It was like Jeri’s death & naming him the executor freed him to show his true nature and he dropped any pretense of giving a shit about his father, the fool who tried his best to always be there for him unlike my biological father who left before i was even born. Well, I believe in karma and some day, Ryan will be repaid for his betrayal of both Jeri and me.
It must be a sign of getting old but I forgot another “minor” event that truly reveals Ryan’s sociopathic nature/character. And as I said, Jeri was in denial over the years regarding Ryan’s behavior & kept assuring me that we could teach him what a family is & guide him to becoming a loving son.
Ryan was in high school and had his driver’s license & a car. My prostate was completely blocked & I was home alone. All day I kept running to the bathroom but couldn’t pee. At times it felt like somebody was cutting my penis with an exacto knife and I was rolling on the floor in excruciating pain. When Ryan came home from school, I asked him if he’d take me to the hospital but he said that he was busy and couldn’t. Several hours later when Jeri walked in the front door and saw me, she instantly took me to the hospital. The nurses and the doctors in the Emergency room were all shocked at how much piss had backed-up in my bladder. I felt like some sort of freak or something. Yep! That was my loving son whom I never let stay overnight in a hospital alone.