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Ashes to Ashes, Spouse to Spouse January 17, 2015

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, God-Idiot or Asshole?, single and happy.
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4 comments

Ashes_Stock_6_by_birdsistersstockThis is a true story, and a sad story. And it’s an amatonormative story.  (Amatonormative means privileging certain love relationships over others.)

Once upon a time, my mother’s sister, my Aunt S, died at sixty of a heart attack while sitting at the kitchen table with my Uncle K. Although Aunt S had been married to Uncle K for only (if you can define “only”) about five years, Uncle K was well-liked by our extended family because he was kind, funny, intelligent, and really loved Aunt S. We all grieved the loss of Aunt S, but Uncle K was especially torn up of course.

We have a tradition in our family that when one of us dies, we sprinkle their ashes in a certain lake, which like my relatives shall remain anonymous. One afternoon we all gathered at our family property at the lake. Uncle K had brought Aunt S’s ashes in a brown wooden box. The traditional dumping site was a spot several hundred yards from the shore, where the trunk of a large tree lay in the sand.

We had a motorboat, a rowboat, and three pedal kayaks.

We had this many people: Uncle K. Uncle K’s two sons from a previous marriage. Aunt S’s three daughters from a previous marriage. And Aunt S’s siblings: Mitch, Jake, Blake, and my mom.

We were milling around when someone noticed that Uncle K and the kids were missing. Without so much as a how-dee-doo, they had climbed into the motorboat, puttered out to the tree, and spread the ashes with great ceremony and words of remembrance–or so they told us later, because none of the rest of us had been out there to see it.

I was shocked that Uncle K didn’t at least offer to squeeze one or two of Aunt S’s siblings into the boat–or at a minimum, arrange a caravan of slow motorboat and pedal kayaks out to the tree, so that my mom and her brothers could also spread their sister’s ashes.

None of the siblings felt they had the right to protest. After all, Uncle K was Aunt S’s spouse, and spouses trumped siblings, right?

Wrong.

But I had to respect my mom and Mitch and Jake and Blake for maintaining their silence and letting the grieving Uncle K have his moment of selfish amatonormativity. That emotional afternoon was probably not the right time to pick a fight. Instead, Aunt S’s siblings honored her in their thoughts and by looking at the lake, instead of partaking in the physical ritual itself.

But if my sister had died (God forbid) and her husband had co-opted the boat and gone out to sprinkle her ashes without me, I would have thrown a profanity-filled fit right there on the beach, then tried to swim after the boat, then choked on water because I’d still be screaming about what an amatonormative a-hole he was. He would have had to abort his ashing ceremony to turn the boat around and rescue me, and once on board I would have tried to sprinkle the rest of ashes, but my hands would be wet so the ashes would stick to my fingers instead of drifting off onto the wind.

Copious Readers, how would you react in a similar situation? Respectful albeit slightly bitter silence, or temper tantrum?

–Christina

Photo Credit: Bird Sisters Stock

Tragedy: An Excuse for Couplemania? August 13, 2011

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, God-Idiot or Asshole?.
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My sister called me the other day with a question I couldn’t answer, so I told her I would reach out to Onely’s Copious Readership for insights.

First, the background:   My sister’s good friend, whom I’ll call Mark, has had an awful year.  First he lost his job due to the recession and couldn’t find another one. Then his girlfriend cheated on him and they broke up. Then his older brother, whom Mark idolized, developed a drug problem related to some painkillers he’d been on for an old, ongoing back ailment. Bad times for Mark.

Understandably, he withdrew from my sister and the rest of their circle of friends as he tried to sort out his internal chaos.  Knowing that they might well have done the same thing in his circumstances, but still wanting to show support, my sister and their mutual friends left him email, text, and phone messages just to say hi and let him know they cared.

The messages went unreturned, and no one blamed Mark.  Then my sister found out that he had reconnected with his cheating girlfriend and they were a couple again. According to the grapevine and Facebook, Mark had enough emotional fortitude to hang out with his formerly-cheating girlfriend, but not to interact with his long-time friends. “I think he just really needs someone right now,” said my sister, aware of the irony of her words yet trying to be sensitive to Mark’s situation. “But. . . her?”

Recently, while under the influence of assorted illegal substances, Mark’s brother crashed his motorcycle into a tree and died.  During the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, Mark continues to date his girlfriend and continues to remain withdrawn from his friends.

Copious Readers, in normal circumstances we chastize people who neglect their friends for a significant other (especially a cheating one). But obviously a brother’s addiction and death are not normal circumstances. (more…)

Bad Onely Activities: Bumblebee Removal April 20, 2009

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, God-Idiot or Asshole?.
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As we’ve discussed in previous posts (such as this one), sometimes being Onely means having to resolve undesirable situations when there’s no one else around. We call these Bad Onely Activities.

Over the weekend, I came home late one night to find my dog, Kitty, paying an unusual amount of attention to the lamp that sits on my bedside table. Kitty (you can see her pic on the About Lisa and Christina tab) was so obsessed that she actually put her two front paws on top of the table to take a closer look at the lamp. (more…)

Onely Watershed Moments April 15, 2009

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, God-Idiot or Asshole?, Heteronormativity, We like. . ..
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13 comments

imagesIn Lisa’s  blurb on our “About Lisa and Christina” tab, she talks about how she fell in love with her single life on a road trip across the country. I was wondering what other watershed moments our Copious Readers have experienced in their journeys from (maybe) heteronormative self-expectations to acceptance of singlehood as a viable, healthy, and acceptable lifestyle.

I don’t know that I ever had a watershed moment. I think my default setting has always been “mostly fine with singleness”, with momentary spikes into “feeling obligated to date to meet social expectations”. However, I think I had a Watershed Month or two sometime in mid-2008.  (more…)

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