JR’s Not-So-Literal Blog

My Family Is Insane, Which Explains Why I Am Insane Too

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on December 24, 2009

I’m home in Massachusetts now staying at my mom’s apartment in Worcester. The flights home were pretty horrible, but I’m glad I didn’t have to spend the night in the airport or spend dough on a hotel.

I got home at 2AM and was greeted by my grandmother who recently had a heart attack. She lives downstairs from my mother. Her and my grandfather own the building and it’s where I grew up. Some pretty unsavory people have come into and out of my life with this apartment building being the backdrop for most of my pre-adult and some of my adult memories.

I guess I sort of left this place in a hurry when I went to college, then got a job in Boston and then eventually got hired at Brazen Careerist. I never meant to be an escapist, but my desires and aspirations seem to lead me away from here, so I don’t try to fight it too much.

What I do try to fight is the tendency to distance myself from family and friends. When I get wrapped up in my busy work life, I forget to call, I don’t come home much and I can be generally neglectful to everyone including myself. It’s funny, I start working out again and suddenly the other things that I should be doing start happening again. The law of attraction is pretty useful at times.

So when I saw my grandmother, I was really happy. I got a little choked up but didn’t want to cry my first time seeing her in 3 months. I told my sister on the ride home from the airport that when my mom called me the morning my grandmother had her heart attack, my entire life flashed before my eyes. I was convinced she was going to die. I was absolutely certain she wasn’t going to make it through surgery. I actually went into work and tried to stay busy until I got an update from my mother or sister saying what the results of her stint procedure were.

She made it out of surgery and I was relieved. I was also cursing myself for becoming distant and resentful of my familial craziness put any distance between my beloved grandparents and myself. Right before her surgery, I got my gramma on the phone because my mom told me to. She sounded bad and weak and I just wanted to tell her I loved her no matter what while I still had the chance. She said she loved me too and that she was going to be fine because she always survives these kinds of things. Then said she was going to let me go because the doctors were coming in. As she hung up the phone I was in the middle of saying I love you one more time and I crumbled into heavy sobs alone in my apartment. I was convinced that would be the last time I ever talked to my grandmother again.

I got a text from my sister later that afternoon saying my grandmother did well in surgery and that she was probably going to be okay. I took a deep breath and sent a ‘thank you’ above to whomever or whatever was listening.

Later that day when I got out of some meetings I talked to my mom and was asking lots of questions about what happened and what was going to happen moving forward. I was anxious and my mom was being vague. I started to get upset because I wanted to be mentally prepared (as much as I could be) for what was next. She just kept telling me “I know you feel bad for not being here. I know you feel bad for leaving home. Don’t. Just, don’t”

She was right. I’ve never totally coped with my own desires to move on and do big things wherever I please and the ever-present feeling that I’m abandoning the people who raised me, my mom and grandparents.

I’m home for two weeks in the belly of the beast where all the madness and incredible loved I’ve shared with my family has transpired over a really interesting 25 years. I got to sit up with my grandmother who’s doing SO much better now healthwise, I got to go out food shopping with my grandfather (who’s one of the smartest and funniest people who never graduated high school that I ever met) all morning  I am so grateful for that. My family is vast, rough around the edges, unrefined and bat shit crazy, which explains why I am too… and I love it.

I hope you are all enjoying your family and friends this holiday. We all have reasons to be grateful whether it’s from big gains or big losses. Don’t let the imperfections of the diamonds in your life take away from the fact that they are indeed diamonds and are some of the greatest gifts we could ever ask for.

Thank you all for reading and I wish everyone nothing but the best!


33 Responses

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by James Ryan Moreau, Mikinzie Stuart. Mikinzie Stuart said: Can I write the sequel? hehe 😉 RT @JRMoreau My family is insane, which explains why I am insane too http://bit.ly/5PnRro (Happy Holidays) […]

  2. @HRMargo said, on December 24, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    showing love and appreciation for those we love the most is best holiday gift of all. I lost my Mother, Father, and Brother, and this time of year is very hard for me. Thanks to my twitter pals, I never feel alone. I loved this post. Thanks for being in my life.


    Margo Rose @HRMargo http://HRMargo.com

    • spleeness said, on December 24, 2009 at 9:23 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that – this time of year is especially difficult too. Thinking of you this holiday season. Xo

    • notsoliteral said, on December 25, 2009 at 7:50 pm

      @Margo, sorry for your hard time this season. I bet you’ll have a great 2010! Stay in touch!

      Happy Holidays!

  3. Mehnaz said, on December 24, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Awwww. Love it 🙂

    Much love for the holidays, friend. Enjoy your stay at home 🙂

    • notsoliteral said, on December 25, 2009 at 7:51 pm

      @Mehnaz, Happy Holidays to you too! Going to enjoy these two weeks!

  4. spleeness said, on December 24, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    I teared up reading your words, imagining that phone call to your grandma where you feared the worst. I’m so happy she pulled through! D’s grandma had a heart attack at 90 and lived until almost 94. Sometimes we can be surprised by the body’s strength.

    I also have lots of strong feelings about visiting home, am torn btwn wishing I’d stayed too and feeling grateful for the opportunities of growth that occurred mostly because I moved away. I don’t know that it’s easy to reconcile. Maybe there’s a mobile app to remind us to stay in touch more! Or at least exercise, bc I notice the same thing too. Happy Christmas and New Year!

    • notsoliteral said, on December 25, 2009 at 7:52 pm

      @Holly, a mobile app would be great to remind us. I dunno, I just need to do a better job of it myself. I know how, I just let things slip when life happens sometimes. I’m working on it 🙂

  5. Pixie658 said, on December 24, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    this hits really close to home for me.

    my grandmother passed away this summer after a year battle with incurable cancer. my mom lives in another state and works a lot and my little brother was starting college. she came up to help out a few times, but I was in it for the long haul and was her caretaker on top of working on going to grad school. I wanted to do it. she died 7 hours before my mom was going to arrive here on what she knew would be the last time she saw her mother. my mom still struggles with whether she made the wrong decisions this year regarding her own mom, whether she said what she needed to say. but I think it happened how it needed to happen for all three of us.

    I now struggle with whether to stay here to support my grandpa, who is not my favorite person for how he treated my grandmother her whole life (including how little he did for her while she was dying this summer). or should I leave here to pursue school somewhere else if i am given the opportunity? I am grateful for things he has provided for me. I love him. I just have to live my own life. and my grandmother deserved to be treated with respect, true love, and should have had the freedom to live her dreams and she did not have those things with him.

    your open expression of gratitude and love for your family will carry them in tough times. even if you do not talk often, if you express that love and gratitude when you do talk… it will be meaningful. You have to know your family is insanely proud of all you have accomplished. And it is wonderful you come home for the holidays!

    I am happy your grandmother is doing fine! that is wonderful! I know it is so scary when something happens to our loved ones.

    Merry Christmas! glad we have “met” through Twitter!

    • notsoliteral said, on December 25, 2009 at 8:10 pm

      @Alex, first off, I’m glad we met through Twitter too. 2009 was a big year for that, especially through my new job. Cheers to that!

      Secondly, I think what Steph says below has a lot of merit to it. There’s going to be a need for a caretaker in everyone’s life at some point and someone does do it. It’s not like drawing straws though. Usually it’s the person with the most geographic, financial and situational stability. There’s only so much benefit coming out of staying around and deferring your dreams out of self-imposed obligation.

      I think you should keep rolling with this education dream of yours and kick the shit out of it and make everyone proud. Just don’t forget who you are and where you’re from, because it’ll always be a source of strength for you in the hard times.

  6. stephanerd said, on December 24, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying time with family right now, and that your grandmother is doing better. I know how it can be to feel conflicted between being there for your family, and following your own path. In fact, nine years ago, my grandmother died when I was away at school. And for the longest time, I was especially saddened by the awful state my life was in when she died, and how she wasn’t able to see me move past that. Because I knew that she had been worried about how I was going to end up, especially because I was in an abusive relationship at the time.

    The thing is, your family wants to see you grow and succeed and grab life by the throat and throttle the heck out of it. That’s what makes them happiest. So you should never feel guilty or regretful for the things you’re doing in your life. Because you’re doing awesome, and you’re making them proud.

    • notsoliteral said, on December 25, 2009 at 8:12 pm

      Thanks @Steph! I’m so glad you’re in a better places these days and doing what makes you happy (and crazy at the time time haha).

      I’m going to continue throttling this thing and I hope you do too. You’ve inspired me this year more than once. Thank you!

  7. eXecrābilis said, on December 25, 2009 at 1:10 am

    I’m slowly figuring out the site, thanks.

    -:: Brandy H.

  8. eXecrābilis said, on December 25, 2009 at 1:14 am

    wow.. oddly enough, I’m logged into two blog accounts and it chose the blog.com one. =0P

    • notsoliteral said, on December 25, 2009 at 8:12 pm

      @Brandy, go with WordPress, you won’t regret it 🙂

      • eXecrābilis said, on December 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm

        Well, I am with WordPress but for some odd reason my comments link me back to the other one.

        execrabilis.wordpress.com =0]

  9. Elisa said, on December 26, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Funny thing with family, I frequently tell friends. You will always love your family, but you don’t always have to like them. Sometimes it is in going away and living our own lives, learning about ourselves and growing as people we finally start to appreciate the imperfections in the diamonds.

    And as hard as it is for us to understand and recognize, our families want the best for us. People who don’t want happiness and betterness for the generations to follow (especially the ones they’ve loved and raised) are just not worthwhile contributors to society.

    Even though you are away, you are probably living better than the dreams your grandparents ever could have had for you. You’ve gotta keep on being you and achieving great things, because stopping that would be worse than anything that would happen because you stayed behind. 🙂

    • notsoliteral said, on December 26, 2009 at 8:24 pm

      @Elisa Thank you. That makes a lot of sense.

    • notsoliteral said, on December 26, 2009 at 8:26 pm

      Also, I hope you have an amazing holiday with your family too! You’ve got an amazing year ahead of you!

  10. steph said, on December 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Are we somehow related because mine meets the same description 😛

    Grandmas are serious business! I’m glad yours is doing well. I don’t know what I’m going to happen when/if something ever happens to mine…I don’t even wanna think. I just thank goodness she’s alive and well!

    Enjoy your time with the fam!!

    • notsoliteral said, on December 26, 2009 at 8:25 pm

      I dunno Steph, I think we could be related. That’d be weird, but at least then I’d have someone to come visit out your way!

      Hope you have a great holiday too!

  11. Cat's Cooking said, on December 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Nice heartfelt post, glad you get to appreciate your family for who they are. Once we accept others as they are, we become less critical of ourselves. how funny is that? I realized not so long ago, that my family’s eccentricities are what made me who I am, and that is a good thing.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • notsoliteral said, on December 28, 2009 at 2:05 am

      @Cat, very good point! Thanks for the comment!

  12. Grace Boyle said, on December 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    JR I’m so happy to hear your Grandma is doing well and that you are spending time with your family. When we move away, the time spent with family is even more precious than before. I haven’t lived near my relatives my whole life and near my immediate family for six years – I moved away in college and still don’t live near home.

    With that being said, I spent time with my “insane” family at home home and now with relatives where my mother’s side of the family has always lived. When I want to hop on my computer or relax in front of the TV, I sit down and have coffee with my grandparents and ask my crazy great-aunt questions about her childhood and spend time playing with the new born baby cousins. We’re loud, irreverent, intense and argumentative but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I love this post! It made me smile. Happy holidays 🙂

    • notsoliteral said, on December 28, 2009 at 8:15 pm

      @Grace, cheers to that! Letting my hair down (not that I’m Mr. Propriety normally) around my family feels great from time to time again. Sometimes it gets to be a little too much though after a while. Then it’s back to work-land until it’s time to break away again.

      Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  13. Hater Von G said, on December 28, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    So sweet. I hope you had an awesome Holiday with your family. I’m glad you made it home. Home isn’t a physical place, it’s family and friends.

    • notsoliteral said, on December 28, 2009 at 8:16 pm

      @Hater, thank you! I hope you had a good time with your family. You’re so right about home too.

  14. LiLu said, on December 29, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    I just left Worcester (where my parents live)… it’s always such a blast to go home. Shrewsbury Street ftw!

    • notsoliteral said, on December 31, 2009 at 4:58 am

      I can’t believe your parents live here! That’s nice! Wicked small world! I just had sushi with my sis at Baba Sushi on Park Ave. A few gems in this city!

  15. andhari said, on January 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    This post is beautiful. I totally know what you mean about creating distance with families. Not with direct families but with my grandparents. I was too busy to call or to attend their birthdays sometime. It changed when my granddad died because I really regretted all of it. Family should always be in our priorities, wherever we are.

    Hope you enjoy your holiday and happy new year for you 🙂

    • notsoliteral said, on January 2, 2010 at 1:42 am

      You rock Andhari! Thanks for the comment. Family is always worth making time for, I totally agree!

      Hope you had an amazing New Year!

  16. colleendilen said, on January 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    This is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night: wings or roots?

    Like you, I left for college, then moved 2,000 miles away from my Illinois home, and then moved away even further to Los Angeles (It’s just where life took me). I’m the first in my immediate family to leave the Midwest, so the rest of my family is pretty close to one another physically. It is rough.

    Thanks for writing this. I totally know how you feel.

  17. notsoliteral said, on January 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    @Colleen, something crazy with the family happened lately that really shook some things up. So much so I felt myself saying inside “this is who I am, I can’t escape it. I’m born into this shit.” Then as soon as I say that, I’m cursing myself for not being behind them 100%. I’m lucky that I have friends to remind me that it’s good that we care about our families so much and worry about them and our commitment to them, however, the wings are just as important, if not more important than the roots right now. Guilt make me forget that, but we need to right that when we veer off path.

    Thanks so much for the comment. Good to know I’m not the only one!

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