The life of one dysfunctional bear.
I'm the youngest of three children, born around ten years after my brother and sister. In many ways I felt like an only child as my siblings were so much older.
I don't think my mother and father ever actually liked each other; I remarked that we weren't a family, but a group of highly individual people that just happened to live together.
My father was in the Second World War; fighting in North Africa and through Italy and Austria into Germany. He had some very interesting tales of his time in the War, including the odd ghost story, although he didn't talk about the actual fighting very often.
I often wondered, and once asked, why he ever married my mother. Turns out one of his buddies had died and he went to give the woman that became my mother the bad news. After that things picked up between them. He said that after fighting in the War and not having intimacy with women that sometimes you don't think straight.
I felt unwanted; my mother was the parent that shaped my thoughts while my father was at work and spent all his free time sleeping in the chair or hiding in the garden shed.
When my father was close to retirement my mother would complain that she didn't know what she was going to do after he retired and something along the lines of she didn't like the idea of him being around all the time. By this time my sister was married with two children and my brother was in the process of buying a flat.
Father decided to leave mother (I thought he was trying to scare her into realising her stupidity but he really did go!). He left her the house and in fairness looked after her, giving her a monthly allowance. They never divorced, although some time later mother's nastiness caused him to seek a judicial separation.
My mother was extremely bitter although she'd never admit anything; a change or subject or hollow laugh covers everything. Her nasty comments and accusations led the family to fragment. I didn't speak to my sister or father for 4 years; my mother and sister didn't speak for ten years or more, and my brother became distant.
I had to leave home (oh, and go on a 'personal development' seminar or two) before I woke up to the senselessness of it all. I became pretty much the only person that felt ok speaking to any member or my family.
The first signs of progress towards family unit came around when my sister divorced and was going to remarry. All was going well (my mother and sister finally were speaking again), but my sister feels that mother said something that, at the last minute, meant my brother didn't attend.
Shortly after she remarried my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and she fought bravely for many years before she died in March 2006. My father couldn't come to terms with this, he felt that a child should not die before the parent. He never spoke of her after her death, and just a few months later died in August 2006.
I hate cute kiddie photos, don't you? Here's a photo of me outside the family home with one big bike!