YOU GOT WHAT YOU ASKED FOR
“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.” J.R.R. Tolkien
As a little girl of divorce my Mother and Father lived separate lives. My Mother was instrumental in keeping me and my Father connected. She sent me to spend the summers with Daddy. Believe me it was interesting to say the least.
As a single man and minister there were plenty of women lined up to date Daddy, or hopefully marry him. Understand that my own Mother was his second wife. He married a total of four times. Every time in between I saw first-hand women throwing themselves at him. It was funny. I’ve had women take me shopping, buy me jewelry, take me to dinner, keep me, attempt to be my “new best friend” all in an effort to get closer to my Father. There were summers where there were so many that I don’t remember their names.
I also had a taste of the stepmothers too. The first one was so immature at the time that she quickly became my personal “mommy dearest.” I went through my own personal hell with not only her, but her daughter who was four years younger. Even at the funeral for Dad this girl (I can’t say woman that gives her too much credit) was still nasty to me and didn’t speak although we share a brother from that marriage. “No more wire hangers!” I’m just kidding. Lol Finally my former stepmother had matured and was welcoming on one of my most difficult days.
The second stepmother is the reason I entitled this post YOU GOT WHAT YOU ASKED FOR. She was completely infatuated with my Father. Don’t get me wrong, Daddy was always known for being handsome, but she was not his type. Daddy was a minister but shallow enough to be concerned about looks. My Daddy was a womanizer and anyone who knew anything about him understood that. My Father loved my Mother and still could not be faithful to her for any length of time. His reputation preceded him. After their divorce more and more so-called friends came forward and admitted that they had slept with my Father. One woman in his church tried to poison my Mother and told her husband that she was going to be with my Father. That’s how deep the betrayal ran.
Getting back to my story, his finally marriage was one of convenience on his part. She essentially paid for his love. At this stage in his life he was finally diagnosed as a manic depressive (bi-polar). Whatever label you prefer. He could not keep a steady job or preach on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong. At times Daddy not only remodeled the parsonage, but built many churches from the ground up. My Father was brilliant. To this day I feel his spirit and somehow think I have that gene to fix and build things without any real knowledge of mechanics or construction.
There were times I was angry at my Father and not really knowing why. This was before he received the diagnosis. I felt close to my stepmother; as time went on that quickly changed. She had chased after my Father for longer than I could remember. Well, she got him, manic depression and all. That’s what she wanted. She wanted the good looking pastor, the Reverend James S. Hubbard and she got him and a whole lot more that she bargained for. Mind you, my parents continued to be close friends up until his death. Before the mental health issues took over his life Dad was asked to leave his house by my stepmother. And he did. But he became homeless and was at the point of death. This is where I stepped in. I took my Father in my home. It was me, my daughter and my Dad. He was in bad shape, but I knew about alternative medicine and doctored on him. I gave him herbs and shared kombucha tea with him in hopes it would bring him back to life and it did.
It quickly became apparent that I couldn’t afford to pay for all his medications and knew he was receiving insurance and benefits through his wife. Why did I bring that up? There was never a prenup or any kind of agreement between them and I knew this. After consulting a divorce attorney on his behalf it was clear that she would have to give up half of her assets and retirement if he pursued a divorce. I remember having a knockdown drag-out fight with my stepmother over the phone. I was yelling at the top of my lungs. I asked her to allow him to stay on her insurance and help me with the associated expenses and she completely refused. When I trumped her with the fact that I’d spoken with an attorney it was over. I told my Father if he wasn’t going to pursue this I was out. She quickly began sweet talking my Father when I was at work and convinced him not pursue a divorce. It was obvious that she wasn’t going to lose a dime if she had anything to do with it. She won that round and more.
At the end of his life it was state and federal assistance that paid for his care. What they didn’t cover my little brother paid for. This witch (you know what I’m really thinking) had the audacity to refuse to attend his funeral because my Mother had been asked to sing at his funeral. I’m not so sure she wanted me there either. The casket alone was $10,000.00 dollars. You know who paid for the funeral. Guess? That’s the least she could have done. I would have held my tongue, but I was glad she wasn’t there. You get what you pay for. In the end she paid to marry him and she paid to bury him. She was so consumed with being with someone who never loved her or wanted her. This I know from a conversation my parents had. Manic depression is something we don’t discuss, but is prevalent in the black community. There are other mental illnesses that are prevalent that we just don’t discuss. It’s taboo. If we don’t talk about it maybe it will just go away.
I have issues with women who chase after men based on their looks or their position. The grass is always greener. When you pursue someone on such shallow qualifications you never know what you’ll find on the other side. As a daughter I resent the way my stepmother treated my Father. But as a woman I sympathize with taking on someone with such big issues. I often wonder what my Dad’s life might have been had he been given the tools early on to cope with his mental illness. Daddy lived off his looks for most of his life, but he was so much more….trust me.
“All that glitters is not gold.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
YOUR JOY by Chrisette Michele