I will use the words ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ this once. I will refer to that organization as a cult from this point onward.
I hate it when I know they are coming. I dread the day for weeks on end, if I even get that much notice that they are coming in the first place. They make me feel small and pathetic and worthless in front of my own child and even though I am positive that not ALL of it is intentional, there is no such thing as that much smug and holier-than-thou on accident.
They make my skin crawl, my spirit wither and my temper flare to places it should never go. Someone who is much smarter than I am told me I should write all of this down and get it all out and purge the whole thing from my system, so that is what I am going to do. All of it though, not just this weekend, all of the skeletons.
We wouldn’t have been screwed without them. I say that we would have a lot, but if I had gone back to work, then everything would have remained the same, and that is a good thing in this particular case. I would have worked there until they shut it down, and even that was six or seven years later. All those years without the guilt and the horror show.
I should back up I think.
It all goes back to them refusing to come to Naomi and I’s wedding. Stupid cult politics told them that it was wrong to go to the wedding because they had agreed to the cult publicly shunning their oldest child and only daughter. So they came the day beforehand and threw hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of things into the carts at Walmart and then promptly left without another word. They missed one of the happiest days of their daughter’s life because a cult told them that because she didn’t want to be part of the cult, then she was to be shunned, ignored, chastised and despised, publicly, if not privately. Remember that last part, it becomes the key here in a bit.
Almost exactly three months after we were married, my mother died. I will not unload that dumpster fire here, what matters is that when it happened, I lost it and had a complete breakdown. I spent weeks sitting in my bathtub because it was the only place I felt safe enough to take a deep breath. Now, I got time off and money because of things at work that allowed for that, but I couldn’t go back when they said I had to. I was a shell of a person and for someone who spent as much time in the bathtub as I did, I smelled like old worry and new fear.
Naomi was my everything during those weeks. She made sure I ate, made sure I slept, didn’t laugh at me for the half-dozen completely unnecessary visits to the Emergency Room I made because I was terrified I was about to die. She was, as she always was, my love and life and strength,
She came down to help Naomi more than to help us and while she was here, I was walking up the hill to Wegmans with her and this idea popped into my head, from a place I cannot fathom. Within hours we had decided that we would move our entire life to Quebec and abandon the very nice life we had literally just begun together.
Goddess, I hate the fact that there is so much about that place that I fell in love with. For a former catholic I got to see some of the greatest churches in Western Christendom, I saw the city of cities for Canada and I immersed myself, involuntarily mind you, in an entirely new culture and language. Montreal at night is one of the best places in the world that I have been to. There is nothing you can’t find if you know where to look and what to say in French to get there.
We moved in with them at first. We had nothing at all and Naomi was pregnant with middle duck at that point. What else could we have done?
One of the chief conditions of moving in with them is that we had to go to cult meetings with them. I swear on all I am, I didn’t know how bad they were before sitting down and listening to the nonsensical drivel that came out of these peoples mouths day after day after day. From scripture I literally knew in Latin and Greek being purposely mistranslated and misused to their horrific treatment of their own, and others, and pretty much everything that was in line perfectly.
I truly think if they hadn’t made me fucking shave every day I would have been far more open-minded than I was. Well, I wouldn’t have, but the humor never hurts right?
Let’s fast forward to that horrible day, almost five years ago now.
I called and I had to tell them she died. I had to maintain some form of sanity while I told them that their daughter was gone from the world. In shock, as one could imagine, they immediately got off the phone and headed down to see the boys and me.
Even that day, with their daughter gone but hours, they started it. The guilt, the shame, the looks. I thought they were manifestations of undeserved guilt that I had at first. No, no they were noticed by others that were here with us all. It grew and grew each time I saw them, each visit where they would take the Elder Duck and pretend my other two children, their own grandchildren, didn’t exist unless I was there with them at the time.
Money is how they say I love you. Wow, and did they say it a lot the first few years. Then it was narrow, like a laser beam and they would pump Elder Duck for information, prime him over and over with cult bullshit while dumping mountains of cash and presents on him under the thin guise of the spoiling grandparents. Then, just like that, they started coming once, if that, a year.
At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but I have had some conversations with Elder Duck and I am pretty sure it is because he has the audacity to talk about wanting to be things like an astrophysicist and explore the unknown of the Universe instead of walking behind them lockstep with the other cult members in a country he doesn’t live in.
Now, I have skipped a lot on purpose. I made the most relevant disclosures because everything would be counterproductive and take too damn long.
They make me feel like I killed their daughter.
They make me feel their other grandchildren are Other, Less.
They acknowledge to your face, deny later.
They are my In-laws and I hate them.