It has been almost 3 months since I returned from the UK. I haven't spoken to my parents since the fight with my father and my communications with my sister stopped weeks ago. My mother is in no condition to talk to anyone anymore apparently, but I am receiving updates now and again from other extended family members who are still talking to my father.
I have tried all manner of ways to move beyond the traumatic childhood that I (and my sister) endured. I harbor a lot of resentment towards all of the extended family members who sat by and allowed my father to abuse us all the way he did. No one said anything about his behavior then, they aren't saying anything now. My mother truly has paid the price of being married to an untreated mentally ill man for all these years. She has become a shell, neglected and allowed to waste away. Meanwhile, my father plays the role of the martyr, garnering sympathy from anyone who will listen. No one has any idea of what goes on in that house when my parents are alone together but I have a good idea. I am hoping that my mother gets placed in a home soon because she'll actually be better off. That will mean my father will have to part with some of the money that my grandmother left him when she died, even though he would rather my mother died at home to save him money. He is angry that he might have to spend thousands of pounds on my mother.
I am adopting an 'out of sight, out of mind' approach to my UK 'family'. Whenever negative thoughts pop into my head, I push them right out again by focusing on the fact that no one from that side of the pond knows what I am up to, how I spend my day, what my moods are like on any given Sunday. They have no idea whether I'm laughing or crying. So, I choose to laugh ..... and I have been.
Our Thanksgiving was hilarious. Different cooks in the kitchen, all giving an opinion as to how the turkey should be cooked, the gravy, the stuffing and so on. I had my own ideas (naturally) .... the simpler the better. I managed to talk one of the cooks out of slathering the turkey in some thick butter spread sauce but I didn't succeed in putting an unstuffed turkey in the oven. I like my roast fowl to be bare of sauces and stuffing .... just the bird. I add the accompanying dishes after the fact. I don't like stuffing that has been cooked inside the bird is what it is. Well, I got outvoted on that one. The bird was filled with all manner of fruits and vegetables, shoved in the oven for 5+ hours and ....... when it came time to carve, the turkey wasn't cooked! Everyone was sitting around the table, all the side dishes were hot and ready to eat .....and we had just a couple of slivers of turkey breast to fight over. The turkey was put back in the oven for 2 more hours and STILL wasn't cooked at the end of it. I gave up. I stripped the meat off the carcass and froze it all for future curries. I figured that the large amount of fruit and veggies that had been placed inside the cavity was responsible for the turkey's lower half not cooking properly and that will never happen again on my watch! Next time, my NO will mean NO! The gravy wasn't a big hit either. All in all, we had a great time but the sheer amount of energy expended on the preparations didn't translate to a stellar end result and I was absolutely exhausted that evening. Painfully exhausted.
Our Xmas dinner was scaled back years ago. Two big family dinners in the space of one month became too much for me about 5 years ago and I called 'time' on the whole thing. We took a vote and decided that Thanksgiving was more important to us, and so Xmas has been reduced to a 'meat loaf and mash' type dinner. Very low key for us, in keeping with our reduced consumer activities. Don't get me wrong. We used to splash out and splurge at Xmas, spending hours in the mall and thousands of dollars on the perfect Xmas Day. I had decorations for days, piles of wrapped Xmas gifts and tons of food, a complete contrast of how we do It today. I whittled my Xmas card list down to a handful of people, we draw names for Secret Santa, and there is a set low budget. The spouse and I did our share for the economy but no more.
My daughter has already begun her year long challenge to get fit. I will be joining her. I'm not very good at challenges, I always give up before I really get started but I want to give this one my best shot. I need to lose at least 70 pounds so that will be my focus, along with setting my weekly grocery budget at $100 and sticking to it. Food is my last hurdle to overcome. I've overcome everything else, the hoarding, the crazy spending, the denial, some of the overeating. The challenge will focus on changing my eating habits and the dependent relationship I have with grub. Naturally, I'm an emotional over eater and I have already spent some years working on this and so the challenge will force me to make some final necessary changes.
It's never easy to beat an addiction. When I stopped hoarding, that really brought out some demons and I wonder if I will be able to deal with that again when I'm not able to stuff my feelings down by eating. We'll see.