Family Therapy is a narrative memoir that guides you through a day with the author and her dysfunctional family who have unconciousley exchanged grief for humor, in an effort to emotionally deal with the recent death of the Family's Matriarch (Nama).
The day has come Nama, the matriarch
of our dysfunctional family has gone
home to meet her maker. Nama was a short, dark-skinned woman with a small undefined shape, big bust and a salt and pepper afro, who definitely had a way with the men. It was said that her older sister Luanne brought Nama’s last husband from Alabama for their younger sister Dolly. Nobody knows what happened to the arrangement between aunt Dolly and this mystery man. All we do know is that two weeks after his arrival in Rayentown, Nama was planning her third wedding. Mr. Gee was his name. He was a tall, handsome alcoholic veteran with wavy white hair, whom she remained married to until his death fifteen years earlier. It was said that two years after the mystery wedding, aunt Dolly died of a heart attack while enroute with her .45 caliber handgun to the church business meeting to get either the deacons in order and resolve the ongoing problem of electing a new preacher or shoot up the place.
The passing of Nama is not actually a surprise; however, the behavior of my family would lead you to believe otherwise. I can’t tell whether or not the shouts and screams are intended for memorial or relief. Although she lay there appearing angelic with peaceful white doves surrounding her head and bountiful bouquets of lilies and hibiscus surrounding her feet, she still managed to wear that familiar canting smirk on her face as if to say, “I did the damn thing and went out with a bang.”
The passing of Nama is not actually a surprise; however, the behavior of my family would lead you to believe otherwise. I can’t tell whether or not the shouts and screams are intended for memorial or relief. Although she lay there appearing angelic with peaceful white doves surrounding her head and bountiful bouquets of lilies and hibiscus surrounding her feet, she still managed to wear that familiar canting smirk on her face as if to say, “I did the damn thing and went out with a bang.” Nama had been diagnosed four years prior with a lethal illness and given less than thirty days to live. From the time she was diagnosed until her last day, four years later, Nama made her mark as an unruly resident at nursing homes throughout Rayentown, Ohio. She sued her adult daycare, accused a bus driver of neglect, my mother of trying to kill her with burnt food, my aunt of breaking into her apartment, my uncle of stealing her coffee filters, the home health aides of being rough, and, in addition to all that she refused to pay boarding fees at a nursing home for six months while accusing the attending physician of misdiagnosis and the nurses aides of stealing her Arby’s sandwiches from the refrigerator. “Now, would you believe...after all of this she was crowned resident of the month.” That award was a definite indicator that Nama wasn’t doing well.
During the services I continued to gaze around the funeral home, viewing all of the spectators who had come out either to genuinely give their condolences, confirm whether or not it was true, see how well she would be put away or just eat a free meal. Whatever their reasons, Nama had so many people come out to pay their respects that at one point a girl walking from the nearby housing project had to ask the limo driver if someone famous had died. The funeral director even got a little antsy, requesting that the mourners not greet the family any longer until my Mom reassured her that she would get paid an additional $250.00.
I’m two steps shy of putting my hands over my ears to muffle the loud shouts and screams bellowing from my aunt Chunk’s wide mouth. “Two funerals prior Chunk clowned so bad that she almost knocked over the casket and assisting nurse before getting stuck in between two pews.” Aunt Chunk is my mom’s four hundred pound baby-sister with a host of medical issues, who refuses to stop eating her favorite fried chicken and potato chip dinners at midnight. Although voluptuous, in size she is a light-skinned beautiful woman with long black bouncy hair and a curvy shape. There has never been a day that I can remember even when she was doing her dirt that her makeup was not perfectly applied and she was not dressed marvelously dainty. On the other hand, Aunt Chunk is a very hot-tempered and quick-to-accuse individual, who is well noted for compulsively calling off of work, fighting, lying, sleeping and stealing. It is also said that it was Aunt Chunk whose hot temper sent Nama to the nursing home for the last time. Chunk supposedly got angry with Nama the night before and started cussing and yelling at her for telling one of her oh-so-common fibs. The next morning Nama was on her way by ambulance to St. Norrine hospital. The family excused the entire incident, writing it off as a drop in Nama’s sugar.
The man sitting to the left of Chunk, fanning his breath and picking his nose, is her husband Uncle Mo. Chunky has been married to Mo, “her partner in crime” for over thirty-five years. He is from a dysfunctional single parent home. Uncle Mo is extremely peculiar, a short, small-framed dark man with a nappy face, red eyes and rotten teeth who picked at his feet and played with Star Wars action figures all day, while telling disgustingly offensive jokes, blasting parliament funk-a-delic albums and reciting bible verses from the Old Testament. He actually held his own burping and farting contests one year. “What attracted Chunk to him only the Lord knows because he behaves the same as he did 30 years ago and looks the same today as he did in his 1976 prom picture”. I heard that he was allowed to drink thirty-two ounce bottles of Miller Highlife with his mother since the age of nine and that he was a senior in high school for five years. “It was against the public school laws to have a student over the age of twenty-one on the roster therefore Uncle Mo was given a high school diploma by default.” He says that he tries to attend all five-class reunions when they come around. I really can’t remember whether or not he took showers, but I do know that he never changed clothes or brushed his teeth. His teeth were so rotten that the dentist pulled them all out for free.
This memoir is the first release of a six volume collection of shorty stories and memoirs. The dialouge consists of actual characters and events form the author's very own Family.