Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s mid- to late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 (Bastille Day in France and her overseas departments/dependencies). It’s warm and muggy outside; the current temperature is 79˚F (26˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 62% and the wind blowing from the east-northeast at 6 MPH (9 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 78˚F (25˚C). The forecast for today: thunderstorms will move through the area starting around noon. The high will be 90˚F (32˚C). Tonight, we can expect light rain. The low will be 74˚F (23˚C). The current Air Quality Index (AQI) is 84 or Moderate.
Well, here we are in midweek – aka Hump Day – and one day away from the middle of the month…already! And as I wrote in yesterday’s post, my mood – which is also influenced by the gloom of the darkening skies and afternoon storms – is taking a turn for the worse. Thoughts like Bastille Day 2015 was the last internationally-known holiday my Mom lived to see, and It’s been five years and nine days since I saw my half-sister in a judge’s chambers at the probate court hearing that would determine who inherited Mom’s estate cross my mind, unbidden and unwelcome. And, of course, I feel the weight of memory pressing down on my shoulders as July 19 draws closer and closer.
Two nights ago, while I was eating a serving of spaghetti and homemade meatballs the Caregiver made a most unhelpful suggestion. “Why don’t you write Vicky a letter to see how she is doing?”
“Love is close to hate when it comes to sisters. You’re as close as two humans can be. You came from the same womb. The same background. Even if you’re poles apart, mentally. That’s why it hurts so much when your sister is unkind. It’s as though part of you is turning against yourself.”
― Jane Corry
I was shocked that the Caregiver, who had read both versions of Mom’s will (one that Vicky had gotten our mother to make out in 2000, and the 2010 one that Mom drew up to revoke the first) and had been instrumental in helping me find a lawyer to take my case, would suggest such a thing. Fortunately, I wasn’t chewing a mouthful of pasta and meatballs, or else I might have choked on it.
I looked into the Caregiver’s eyes, speared a meatball with my fork, and quietly but firmly said, “No.”
“At least try,” she said as she sipped from a glass that contained cranberry juice mixed with vodka. “It’s been a year since you had any news about her from Juan Manuel, her cousin. Aren’t you curious about how she’s doing?”
“No,” I said tersely, and took a bite of the meatball that was impaled on my fork.
“Maybe she misses you.”
It took every bit of self-control I could muster to keep from laughing. I was trying to eat a mouthful of a delicious homemade meatball, and I didn’t want to choke to death during a discussion about my half-sister. Once I swallowed the morsel of delicately spiced and admittedly delicious Italian-style meatball, I again looked at the obviously tipsy Caregiver and said, “She doesn’t miss me. She misses our mom, I am sure of that. But me? Nah.”
“Alex, it won’t hurt to try.”
Again, I had to summon up my dwindling reserves of self-discipline and good manners. “I tried sending Vicky a copy of Reunion when I published it in 2018. Remember what she did with it?”
The Caregiver sighed. “She sent it back to Amazon.”
“That’s right. She returned it to Amazon. Do you think that a letter from me would help start a reconciliation at this point in time?”
“It might,” the Caregiver said, but not with much conviction.
“You don’t know Vicky the way I do. So, please, drop the subject. I’m not going to write her a letter.”
I pointedly opened the current issue of Time magazine and started reading an article about an Army vet who joined the Oath Keepers, a right-wing, pro-Trump militia group that participated in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. I knew that I was being rude, but I didn’t want to discuss the issue any further. The Caregiver, who by now should know me well enough, let the matter drop.
To be quite honest, although I sometimes wonder how Vicky is doing these days, especially after the two hip replacements she underwent last year, I have no wish to contact her. None whatsoever.
“A sibling in full spate is always frightening, their anger a surprising powerful defense, their deeper impotence equally powerful, absurd.”― Will Eaves, Murmur
Seriously. I am in New Hometown, Florida, living in the smallest room of the Caregiver’s house and not in my old townhouse in East Wind Lake Village primarily because of my half-sister’s toxicity. Her Machiavellian machinations (she caused a rift between my Uncle Sixto – my father’s brother – and me when I was in college because she was jealous that he gave me an expensive Apple IIe desktop with a color monitor and a printer in the spring of 1987), and overall shadiness have affected many lives, often in incredibly painful and destructive ways.
How shady is my half-sister? Before Mom died in 2015, she used to tell me that the 2000 will, which I was not a party to when Vicky took Mom to a lawyer’s office, split Mom’s estate thusly: 60% for me, 40% for her; it was actually 50-50 as far as the townhouse was concerned, but more in Vicky’s favor once you added the value of Mom’s bank account and her 1999 Mitsubishi Mirage, which she bought from my former neighbor Rolf Bischof (he and his wife Annette were moving back to Switzerland and could not afford to ship the Mirage across the Pond) in 2003.
Vicky never got the car; Mom sold it about a year before her 2010 back surgery because she was having problems with the blood circulation to her brain and, as a result, could no longer drive because she would get wicked dizzy spells. But if Mom had not revoked the 2000 will and written a new one before the operation – she thought there was a good chance she would not survive due to her delicate health and advanced age – Vicky would have inherited 50% of Mom’s meager bank account and almost nonexistent savings account.
I know all this because when Vicky’s lawyer sent me the letter informing me that there was a hearing scheduled for early June of 2016 regarding my half-sister’s petition for a ruling over a “lost or destroyed will,” he was legally obligated to share a copy of the 2000 will. The Caregiver and I read it, and we were flummoxed by Vicky’s lies about my share being 60%.
As I said before, Vicky is so dishonest and manipulative that she could have taught lessons on double-dealing to Niccolò Machiavelli himself.
So, no. I don’t think I can make another attempt to reconcile with Vicky. I did not start the conflict between us – she did. And since she has never apologized for any of the hateful and dishonest things she said or did to either our mother or me, I have no desire to offer the olive branch – again.
I’m going to do my best to occupy my mind with other things today. I doubt that the weather will allow me to use this computer much once the thunderstorms move in over the next few hours. I can use my laptop on battery power, at least for an hour, so I can mess around with my writing project for a bit. And of course I have lots of books to read on my TBR pile, so bored I shall not be.
Well, Dear Reader, I’ve reached the end of yet another post for A Certain Point of View. I don’t have much to add, except to mention that I have Paramount’s eight-disc (four 4K UHD, 4 HD Blu-ray) Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection box set in pre-ordered status on my Amazon account. Paramount will release the 1979-1986 Star Trek films on 4K for the first time on September 7, and even though I’m more of a Star Wars fan than I am a Trekkie, I like those movies and would like to see them on 4K.
With that, then, I humbly taken my leave of you. Maybe I will write a review for you tomorrow instead of a “heavy issues/family Sturm und Drang” rant. I know I have more fun doing reviews, but I often have to write what I have in my mind and not, Dear Reader, what I want to write. So, until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and keep out of the rain!
 Juan Manuel Pereira, Vicky’s first cousin on her father’s side. He died last October.
9 thoughts on “Musings & Thoughts for Wednesday, July 14, 2021, or: Grief, the Weight of Memory, & Irreconcilable Differences”
Why does it matter to the Caregiver whether or not you talk to Vicky?
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Misplaced optimism, with a dash of one-too-many Cosmopolitans after work.
She also has three sisters that are not shady or treacherous. I’ve met one, the one in the middle. The oldest is married to a cardiologist (I think) in Puerto Rico; I’ve never met her. But they all get along relatively well.
Unfortunately, when it comes to narcissists, they tend to get worse with age.
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That’s so true. In all the time that I interacted with Vicky (1969-2015…she was shipped off to boarding school in 1965, when I was two), I noticed that she became more difficult to deal with as we grew older.
As I said in a previous post, our bond was stronger between 1969 (when she graduated from high school and rejoined the family in Bogota) and the spring of 1972 (when Mom and I moved back to the States after I had a cerebral hemorrhage not long after my ninth birthday).
Even then, there WERE issues, but they were 90% mother-daughter issues (arguments about untidy bedrooms, Vicky’s penchant for fad diets and an obsession with not wanting to gain weight, stuff like that) and 5% anger-control issues Vicky had with other people. Frankly, I can’t recall any serious squabbles Vicky and I might have had when we lived in South America. We probably argued over who got to watch what on TV (for a while we were a one-set family), but since we are almost precisely 13 years apart (there’s only a five-day difference in birthdays; mine is on March 5, hers is March 10), she had a young-adult routine, while I had a child’s routine. So even though we lived in the same houses/apartments in Bogota, our paths rarely crossed.
Re narcissists’ penchant for getting worse with age:
The tragic thing is that my mom, who bore more of the brunt of Vicky’s narcissism than I did, never could come to grips with this reality.
I didn’t know what “narcissism” was until a friend that I met when we wrote at Epinions advised me to look into it after I told her some of the weirdness that was going on at my house in the early stages of Mom’s last medical crisis. So if I didn’t know what “Narcissistic personality disorder” was as recently as 2010/2011, I don’t think Mom did, either.
My mother had, as the saying goes, the patience of Job when it came to both her kids, but Vicky’s shenanigans (which are far too numerous to list in this comment) really irked her. There would be long periods – the longest one I remember lasted almost a year – when Mom would banish my half-sister from the house and the two would not speak to each other, not even on the phone, which were followed by strained reconciliations. There would be a period of relative calm, then something would happen again and Vicky would be banished again.
And every time this happened, Mom would look at me wistfully and say, “Maybe your sister will learn from this and we can move on….”
When I was younger (up until I was 24), I shared my mom’s hopeful optimism. But after the incident with my Uncle Sixto and my first computer, I (still not knowing about “narcissistic personality disorder”) knew that she would never change.
It wasn’t until 2010, after a particularly nasty incident involving Vicky’s shadiness and Mom’s EBT (“food stamps”) card that prompted my mom to change her last will and testament that Mom realized that Vicky, who had just turned 60, was never going to change.
They never do. I have had my share of experiences with them, too. Fortunately, none of the experiences have been with relatives.
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It’s a tragedy for everyone involved. Even for the narcissist.
My mom did her best to raise both of us mostly on her own; she left Vicky’s father when my half-sister was little (three or four) because he had a serious drinking problem (it runs in his family) and was an abusive husband. He later committed suicide when Vicky was nine. And, of course, my father died when his plane crashed near Miami International Airport on February 13, 1965.
She did the best she could, Mom did. And she loved both of her kids. But she couldn’t “fix” Vicky, though she tried to get her help (doctors, therapists, even that four-year-stint at an all-girls school run by Catholic nuns in West Virginia).
She once told Vicky, “If you don’t change the way you behave, you’re going to be all alone in your old age, because nobody will want to be around you.”
While that prediction was not 100% accurate (Vicky, like many folks with NPD, attracts loyalists. Sort of like “the former guy.”), Vicky is pretty much alone in Miami. The family in Bogota has dispersed and wants neither one of us to even think of moving to Colombia (“We hardly get together as it is.” says one of my cousins, “so if Vicky thinks we will all be one big happy family if she or you decided to come back to Colombia, she’s out of her mind.”) And I moved 250-plus miles away because I can’t stand her. So……Mom’s prediction came true, Mostly.
I wonder if she’s trying to figure out a way to get you out of the house and thinks if you reconcile with your sister you’ll go live with her.
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Nope. She does everything totally opposite to getting me out of the house, to be honest. And my half-sister only has a one-bedroom apartment in a 40-something-year-old hi-rise, not a house. The Caregiver was just tipsy on Cosmopolitans and not thinking clearly.
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