Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in my corner of west-central Florida on Monday, November 22, 2021. It is a gray and cool autumn day. Currently, the temperature is 68˚F (20˚C) under cloudy skies. With humidity at 96% and the wind blowing from the north-northwest at 6 MPH (10 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 68˚F (20˚C). Today’s forecast calls for light rain throughout the day. The high will be 77˚F (25˚C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy. The low will be 53˚F (12˚C).
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving 2021 is only three days away. It’s harder to believe that this is the sixth occurrence of the holiday since my mother died in 2015, and my fifth here in the Gulf Coast area. But if past Thanksgivings here are a guide to the upcoming one on Thursday, this year should be uneventful and drama-free.
The last Thanksgiving I celebrated with my “blood family” – my late mom and my estranged half-sister -is now seven years in the Rearview Mirror of Life and receding quickly; I remember it was a joyless, strained, and forced occasion – Mom was confined to the small bedroom where she lived during the last five years of her life; Vicky, my half-sibling, was lording it over us because she made all of the arrangements that day; the home health aide was working on a Sunday schedule because it was a holiday so she was only at the house for an hour; Vicky’s friends Gloria, Roberto, and Julian were the only guests; and there was a lot of tension between Vicky and me.
You know, even though I do not miss Vicky, I do think about her on occasion, especially during the holiday season and dates that used to be family celebrations, such as our respective birthdays in March, Mother’s Day, and Mom’s birthday. I stopped communicating with her before she left on her October 2015 trip to Bogota to “get over Mom’s death” with most of our surviving family in Colombia, so we have not celebrated any occasion together since Mother’s Day of 2015.
After I moved here, I used to get occasional updates about Vicky from her paternal first cousin Juan Manuel Pereira, but he died in October of 2020. The last time he wrote to me via email, he told me that Vicky was recuperating from multiple hip replacement surgeries she had had shortly before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. early last year.
Why multiple hip replacements? Well, not long after she was released from the hospital after the first operation, Vicky fell on her way to the bathroom and broke her hip again. So she had to undergo the same procedure again and her cousin Mauricio – Juan Manuel’s younger brother – was tasked to take care of her until she recovered.
Of course, this information is 20 months old, and since I do not talk to Juan Manuel’s widow Barbara or his two brothers (Andres is the other one, and he was the one who helped Vicky steal my grandmother’s china set from my house), I don’t have any updates regarding her health (physical or mental). All I know is that according to public info available on the Internet, she’s still alive at the age of 71.
As I said before, I don’t miss Vicky. I don’t want to reconcile with Vicky. She is a poster child – so to speak – for narcissists and toxic family members.
Nevertheless, because she was a huge part of my life for my first 52 years on this planet – and the catalyst for my having to live here in the first place – I do think of her during the holiday season. Maybe I’m more sentimental, or maybe I have some empathy. I don’t know, really.
I can’t help but remember that my mom used to tell Vicky – usually after one of their frequent altercations – to change her ways and treat other people with a modicum of respect and dignity.
“Look, Vicky,” Mom would say. “You’re not a small child anymore. You can’t treat people like crap when you don’t get your way or lose your temper, which you do all too frequently. People have limits to how much abuse they can take, and unless you change your behavior, you are going to end up all alone when you grow old. So be nice to everyone, especially those closest to you.”
Apparently, Vicky ignored Mom’s advice, and now look where she is now. Yes, she has her own place, and I don’t. But with the exception of her two paternal cousins and a few friends, who will celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s with Vicky?
The world (or at least her half-brother) wonders.
Well, I don’t have a lot to report about my life today, so I’ll sign off now. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, get vaccinated, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.