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8:54 PM - 05.19.15
Mom & Dad Never Met

My Mom & Dad Never Met

While very little has happened with acting so far this month, it feels like "a lot has happened" in general (In my head anyway, if nowhere else).

A couple weeks ago, Omar Pupo died (His son - Omar Jr - reported it on Facebook).

Omar Pupo was basically the only "father" I ever had, for about eight or nine years (I moved in with the Pupo family when I was around ten years old, and lived there about eight years or so, till I left under bad circumstances).

I don't know that I have the skills as a writer to get at how complicated our relationship has felt to me over the years.

When I write about "the bad things" (a period of sexual abuse early on, moving from a belt to administering "discipline" with punches and kicks, and joking about how clumsy and lazy I was), he comes off as something of a monster.

And to be sure, I've harbored prodigious amounts of anger towards him over the years (I've written before about how I used to fantasize running into him in a dark alley, and...well, let's just say that, from there, things would go very badly for Mr Pupo).

But at the same time, I felt a connection to the man that I didn't feel with anyone else in the family (And it seemed he felt it too - I remember him saying to me once, "You're more like me than my own kids"). He was, at least compared to the rest of the family, smart, and funny, and somewhat creative, which I think might have made it okay for me to be smart and funny and somewhat creative (Though he wasn't terribly high on my being an actor - "Acting won't put beans on the table", he used to say).

A couple years ago, when Omar Jr. connected with me on Facebook, he told me Omar Sr. had slipped and fell some years back, hitting his head.

Some time after that, I think without even fully recovering, he was apparently diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

I remember writing in here around that time, about how you might think I'd get some vicious pleasure from the news - he'd gotten bitch-slapped by karma for what he did to me back-when - but that's not how I felt.

Now don't me wrong - I didn't feel "bad" for him either. But I didn't think he'd gotten some kind of "cosmic retribution" for his bad behavior (I don't believe Alzheimer's only happens to child-molesters and the like who never get caught. It's just a thing that happens).

I didn't really feel much of anything...except for this quiet little voice in my head that said, "The son-of-a-bitch got away with it...!".

And the voice came back for a little reprise when I heard he'd died (Though to my way-of-thinking, he really died years ago, and his body just finally got the message).

When his son posted the news on Facebook, I was tempted to - amidst all the "Sorry for your loss" sentiments - post my somewhat-more-ambivalent thoughts on his passing.

But I didn't.

What would have been the point?

And later, when Omar Jr messaged me personally with the news?

I said "I'm sorry for your loss".


Since making contact with my mother a few years back, Mothers Day has gone from a day where I feel like an orphan, to a day where I don't know what to feel.

This Mothers Day, I sent my Mother flowers and a small box of candy (through 1-800-FLOWERS).

I was very surprised when, after placing the order online, I got really depressed afterward.

I did it seemed like a nice thing to do? Like the thing I "should" do? Because I want to be "normal", and do something a "son" would do for his "mother"?

I don't know.

And maybe it's that "I don't really understand why I'm doing this" confusion that was upsetting to me - I feel a sense of obligation, without having any idea why.

My mother didn't raise me, and I'm pretty sure she was quite ready to die without ever knowing me (It was a blow to find out she didn't even know my birthday - Last year, I got a card from her at the end of May that said, "I couldn't remember what day it was, but I knew it was sometime this month...").

I guess the "obligation thing" opens up some feelings about my past - about the childhood I didn't get, the permanently damaged person I grew up to be, etc - and a resentment that is very uncomfortable to "voice" in here; a resentment that she gets to be an old lady with a family (Her and my brother Tony aren't particularly close, but she has a daughter-in-law who's very nice, and two grandkids), and to live out a small-but-seemingly-happy life.

She even gets a very understanding abandoned child, who comes back into her life with nothing but nice, soothing, conciliatory sentiments, who presents as someone she can feel good about - He seems like a smart, nice, normal guy, and she's seen him on tv, so clearly he's a "success".

I'm envious that, after I was out of the picture, she figured things out enough to be a mother to Tony (I doubt it was a peaches-and-cream existence, growing up - his father was an alcoholic who routinely drank his paycheck instead of providing for the family - but he had a mother who clearly loved him, and as he's said, "She always provided for us. We never went hungry").

I was thinking about all this recently, and realized that my mother effectively short-circuited any anger or upset I might have harbored against her in a way that's very familiar to me - By being so apologetic and upset with herself that it would be redundant at best (And churlish at worst), to be angry or upset with her.

I think a lot about the near-constant rage I feel towards myself, but it's been a long time since I've considered it as what I think it really was, at least early on - A "defense mechanism" to protect me from the outside world ("You don't need to insult me or be angry at me or hurt me - See? I can do it myself").

I'm disappointed that I worked so hard not to be angry or upset - I think part of my not wanting to be upset with her was to not "shut her down" emotionally in the process (And not just because she was so pitiful, or because I'm such a great guy) - and I have practically begged her, "Tell me about yourself", and gotten nothing but "my life is not really very interesting...".

I want her to tell me about herself so I can maybe learn about myself...but really, maybe there isn't anything to tell.

I don't know.

And I was surprised to find myself so hungry for a "mother" this past Mother's Day that I was feeling sad that Lydia DeHaven (My first foster mother) was long gone - It would have been pretty fascinating to hear, before she died, about the time I lived with her (I suspect there would have been more to get out of that than anything I was ever going to get from my biological mother).

I don't know...I guess I just long for "connection" that I will never have, with a "Mom", with a "family", something.

But I lost the closest thing I've had to a "Mom" 45 years ago.

And I barely remember her.

I think I wanted to reconnect with my mother so I wouldn't feel like an orphan anymore.

And I guess I'm sad that that's not really gonna work out.


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