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Death And Tattoos

I tried to get J*** to sell the house in C*********.  He wasn’t working and I wasn’t working so I didn’t see any reason for us to keep that big house.  I told him that he could look for a job just as effectively in A******** as he could there.  There was nothing keeping us there, except golf but I couldn’t get him to agree.
He finally got a job in L***** W*********.  It was in another state and didn’t pay very well but at least he had gotten his foot back in the door.  He was there for several months before he moved to another newspaper in the same state.  The next job seemed to be a really good “fit” for him.
I had suggested that we go to counseling.  J*** went one time with me before he had to go back to work.  I continued and he pretended to be interested in what she had to say.  She came up with things for both of us to do, like lists of things we would change about ourselves.  I did my list but J*** could never be bothered long enough to do his.
I complained about it and did discuss some of the things she said to me, such as “men like J*** tend to treat their wives like right-hand men.”  Did she hit the nail on the head!  I told J*** and his response was an angry “tell her to go fuck herself.”
My daughter, B***** came up to see me.  She tried to comfort me but she was the one who needed comforting.  We had showered and put our pajamas on and were getting ready to watch a movie but she just couldn’t stop crying.
I didn’t know what to do so I looked at her and said “let’s go get a tattoo.”  She said “really?”  So, we got dressed and it was off to the tattoo parlor.
I had what I wanted in my mind but I wasn’t sure if they would do it.  I filled out the paperwork and when I came to the part asking me if I had Herpes, I thought “well, they won’t do it.”  I asked the guys and they said they would and thanked me for being honest.
I told them what I wanted.  They looked at it, and then assigned an “artist.”  A young man came out and said “that is fucking awesome!”
The “artist” said he thought it was great but had a sort of sad smile.  My tattoo said “betrayed for a tramp.”
When I had my next session with my counselor, I showed it to her and she questioned why it didn’t say “betrayed by my husband.”  Then she suggested that I ask J*** to get a tattoo saying “I betrayed my wife.”  I actually mentioned it to J*** and he said he would but I doubt if he would have followed through.  I wish I had made him do it.
My counselor was very helpful.  It surprised me when I made HER cry instead of her making me cry.  She grabbed a tissue and said “you weren’t abused, you were tortured.”  The more we talked the more comfortable I got but invariably, she would slap her hand down on her notepad and say “you are constantly defending him!”  She was right.  I always had an excuse for how and why he treated me the way he did.
She diagnosed me with PTSD, which outraged me.  PTSD is for heroes who sacrifice their limbs and sight and hearing…..not some depressed “pitiful” person like me.  I had my legs and arms and sight and hearing.
We’d do battle over that.  I told J*** and he said “that’s interesting.”  What else was he going to say?  He probably felt the same way about it that I did.
J*** came home for Christmas but we hadn’t gotten each other any gifts.  I noticed that when he came to “see me” he spent most of his time sitting in front of my computer.  I went over and looked at the history bar and imagine my surprise when I saw the name of the girl he had been involved with in college at the same time his high school sweetheart (who later became his first wife) thought he was being true and faithful to her.
I asked him if he “found her.”  It took him by surprise for a second and then he laughed and said no.
I told him that I was going to come see him and spend the entire time I was there, on his computer, looking for old boyfriends.  He sneered at me.
On February 10th, my sister called me and said “guess what?”  I almost said “mama died” but I didn’t.  I asked her what and she said “mama’s dead.”  The way she said it was so cavalier and I wondered why my instinct was to think that mama had died.
At least she called me and told me.  When granny died, one of my friends’ mother offered her condolences.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  When my beloved grandparents died, nobody told me. I asked my daddy why and he said because he was afraid I would try to come to their funeral.
I told P**** that I would throw some things together and be on my way.  She  wanted me to come get her and my little sister.  I agreed, although I don’t know why.  We went to the house in A********.  D**** actually lived there, so P**** and I put our stuff down and headed to the funeral home.  P**** was in control of everything but somebody needed to identify the body.  She couldn’t do it, so I did.  They took me into this dark, cold room and there lay mama on a slab.
The medical part kicked in and I noticed the lividity and the rigor mortis.  That told me how long she had been dead and also that she was in a supine position when she died.  The sterility of my “diagnosis” left me momentarily.  I touched her face and quietly said “oh, mama.  I wish you had treated me better.”
There it was…..I was being selfish even at the end of her life.  I was thinking about me and not her.
I didn’t tell J***.  He called me and found out that I was in A********.  He asked me what I was doing there and I told him that mama had died.  He said “oh” but it was an almost mournful “oh.”
He never asked me if I wanted him to come to see me and I never asked him to.  I did ask him not to tell anybody and he said he wouldn’t.  He knew how I felt about fake sympathy.
Mama was cremated and I had her ashes.  I gave P**** some and then went and put some on top of the hill where some of my daddys’ ashes were.
The rest went home with me.  I looked for an urn similar to the one I had for my daddy but I never could find one.   So, mama was relegated to the trunk of my car….where she still resides today.  Is it disrespectful?  Possibly.  But I wasn’t going to just dump her anywhere.  I justify my actions with the thought that she never looked after me in life so maybe she’ll look after me in death.
J*** and I had talked about death.  I had always planned to be cremated and was going to have him cremated if we had stayed together and he left first.  That idea made R*** insane.  J*** said he really didn’t care but he would like to at least have a marker.
I had told him that I didn’t want anything.  I didn’t want a funeral.  I didn’t want a service.  I didn’t want a marker.  I absolutely didn’t want a bunch of people who wouldn’t give me the time of day when I was alive, showing up with tears and flowers.  I meant it and my views haven’t changed.
I knew it was important for him to have a “marker” so for our thirtieth anniversary, I had a marker made.  It read “J*** C. H*** J*, P****** S******* H*** and then the simple inscription….”Once, we were here.”  That came from the movie The Last Of The Mohicans.  It was the last line in the movie and every time I see the movie, that line leaves me almost desolate.
Obviously, that plaque was no longer needed so I broke it into a thousand pieces and buried it.  Nobody knows where and nobody ever will.
J*** came to see me as often as he could.  We talked and argued while he was there.  He kept insisting that he and L***** were a “one time only affair.”  I asked him to swear.  He wouldn’t.  I told him that if he asked me to swear that I had always been faithful to him, I would not hesitate for one second.  He was adamant.  That signified to me that there must be a reason.
He finally said “I swear.”  I said “swear on your daddys’ life and health and I’ll believe you.”  He said “I already told you I swear.”  He finally said it and it was like somebody had thumbscrews on all of his fingers.
I had made the mistake of “betting my childrens’ lives” that J*** had always been faithful to me, but I believed it.
I will pay for it someday.  What kind of mother makes a reckless statement like that about her beautiful children?  I hope that I am indeed the one who pays and not one of them.
Not long after that visit, J***s’ daddy got sick.  At the time, he was suffering from CHF (congestive heart failure).  J*** called me and talked to me about it.  He said his daddy had called his doctor, who was on the golf course, and his doctor told him to drink “plenty of water.”  Now, I was just an EMT but I knew that the worst thing you can do with CHF is drink “plenty of water!”
He recovered for a while and then got sick again.  This time, he was in the hospital.  J*** was driving almost across the entire state to go see him.  He would go by and pick up his little brother on the way.  He would call me and keep me updated.  It didn’t look good and I think J*** was really worried.  Losing his father was going to be difficult and almost unimaginable.

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