From: Stafford Kendall [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2007 12:12 AM
Subject: RE: I have a question
I’m sorry I didn’t reply right away – last week was very hectic, we had a party for one of my clients and my business partner has had a family emergency and was out of the office all week.
You’ll never know how much this message touched me. No one seems to understand about why I didn’t go to see her before she died.
The smell of scotch is probably the strongest memory I have of her. That smell, and the complete feeling of worthlessness I felt the last ten or twelve times I saw her. I know that the Duke of my childhood would hate the idea that older Duke made me feel that pathetic, but it doesn’t really help heal the pain. I’ve spent the last ten years trying to avoid being part of that family. I love you all dearly individually, but there’s something about the group that’s painful and disappointing and I’m not interested in being a part of it.
I have this theory that every single member of the family feels like they aren’t a part of the family. That they all feel like there’s something special that they’ve been excluded from… but that nobody is actually “winning” and getting to be a part of something.
I was very grateful for the time at the visitation (mostly because it was so very brief) to remember the good about who she was. It was nice to remember the trips, and the Christmases and the time before… I’m very glad that I went.
I’d prefer to never walk in that house again. I’m convinced it’s not even Duke – it’s that house. It turned people into terrible things – good people lost their values, kind people turned mean, honest people became liars. When John suggested that the cousins could buy the house, I silently offered to put up my share if it meant I could buy my way out of going there ever again.
Anyhow, your message meant alot to me. I asked my mom how Michael got left out. (I know what you mean about the new cousin’s husbands and wives and how they hardly feel like family at all). I know my mom feels terrible. I know that they didn’t do it on purpose – and that politically, and philosophically, they’re horrified. Jed said he’d be happy to give Michael his spot in the obit. Jed would really rather have been forgotten.
I love you and I’m sorry we didn’t get to actually talk. I was pretty freaked out at the house in the afternoon, and the rest of just chaos.
I hope we’re able to talk more soon.
From: PeterMLyons@aol.com [mailto:PeterMLyons@aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 4:09 PM
Subject: I have a question
for you Stafford but first indulge me for a moment.
I wanted to say how great it was seeing you despite the circumstances. Many of the family members don’t really know or choose not to remember some of the other aspects of Duke’s life that were not highlighted that weekend, and perhaps rightfully so, I don’t know. I’m a simple man living a quiet life way out of the way from all of that now but I can tell you after living with her. There will be parts of her I will not miss and I still find myself a little angry and sad. When I hugged you at Dukes I got a strong since of that from you. I don’t know why I think its important to tell you but I just felt like I related to that feeling. It was one of the reasons I moved away and distanced myself not just from her but from a lot of the Lyons’ activities. Hell, IT”S NOT AN EASY FAMILY.
On Sunday morning after Dad and the Aunts had the “what to do now” meeting I pulled Dad aside to tell him how wonderful I thought everything was. It was their time to mourn and celebrate Duke and I was privileged to be apart of it. However, ( there seems to always be a however in our family) I was so hurt a truly felt isolated, like no one there ever knew me or especially didn’t know me now. I don’t think I even got the words out before tears welled in my eyes and Dad knew I wasn’t joking. I told him I have been with Michael longer than some of my cousins have been married and not one time was his name mentioned, it was never documented that he is a huge part of my life and part of the Lyons’ family, no sign of him in the obituary or in the Celebration of Life and I was about to fly home and try to tell Michael about a wonderful lady that was so accepting and willing to bring you in to her world and what a part of my life she once was. How her children and her children’s children were some of my best friends growing up yet there he and I were being excluded not directly by Duke but at a time like that it’s hard not to roll a lot of things into one experience. That will be my experience of Duke’s funeral just as you will have yours.
My situation might not be anything like yours but I do know what it feels like to not belong or better yet only belong under certain circumstances which are out of your control. It makes the loss so much more painful. I just wanted you to know I understand even if its only a small part.
Notice how I skip so many spaces as to signify a change in tone and mood.
I am interested in creating a web site or a web site idea. Since I can only send/read emails and play solitaire on my computer I thought you might be the person I should first start with. In short I would like to create a central hub web site that acted like a reference guide for “wish list”. For example, I wanted to get you a gift but didn’t now what you wanted, I could log on look your name up and find all the places you have wish list accounts, William sonoma, Best buy, Amazon….and so on. All these would be right there and I wouldn’t have to look all over the place to find you that perfect gift. My idea goes a little deeper but this gives you a starting point to either like it or tell me to go jump in the lake, that was created 20 years ago.
Let me know what you think.