For most of Al’s life after the teen years, everything remained the same at home. Mom and Dad worked full-time. Al went from job to job. He would lose a job because of not comprehending quick enough what needed to be done.
He got let go from a couple of places because he spoke too much to the ladies. From what I was told the ladies were scared of him. Evidently they were not used to being smiled at and having someone say hi to them so often. I have in the past heard people, strangers make remarks about “The Freak”.
Oh, that made my blood boil. I think we all have issues in life. It is just for some, it is obvious by looking at them, and others, it is an uncommon action, like repeating the word hi to the same person every time they walked by. He still does this today. He just wants so badly for someone to be friends with him.
Cardinal Center is a company that helps disabled adults get jobs, and this was an excellent program for Al. He worked at the same job for a long time. During this period of his life our Step-mom, and it is going to be here that I quit calling her this. I will call her mom. I have spoken about the real mom and she doesn’t exist in our lives. In fact, Al never even remembers her. So it was at this time that Mom was retiring from her job.
She stayed home for some time but eventually missed being busy so she went to work for a health company taking care of their payroll. After a few years went by, she finally retired for good. The very next week she had an aneurism.
Dad found her on the potty and called the EMS. Our Mom never drank, cussed or smoke. She was only 62 years old when this happened. She was taken to the local hospital where she stayed for several hours and then was transferred to a bigger hospital about an hour a way.
While she was at the local hospital, Al and I were there with her. Al didn’t really understand what was happening but he knew something was wrong. I will never forget Mom thrashing her arms and legs around on the ER bed. She managed to get her arm out to me and she kept patting my arm. It was almost like she was telling me to be strong, it is going to be alright.
That was the last time Al and I saw her conscience. By the time they got her to the bigger hospital, she was unconscience. She never came out of it. I lived at the hospital per say,and Al came up before he went to work. Seven days later, the doctors told Dad and Al, me and our half-sister, that Mom only had 10% brain activity left. Did we want to keep her on a breathing tube?
Our tiny family huddled together. Al and the sister didn’t say anything. Dad and I decided to let her go. After they unhooked her Dad was watching me the entire time while he and I held her hand. It was as if he was asking me, is she ok?
It was a sad time for us those next several hours. Finally I was the one chosen to go tell Al that she went to heaven. Al didn’t cry. Instead he went into himself even further. The rock that held our family together was gone.
From that moment on Al had no one to speak to. Shortly after Mom’s funeral was over, my aunt in Florida moved her mother down to that area. Dad became withdrawn, and Al was left to figure out how to survive.
He went to work and came home alone. He ate alone and watched TV alone. He and Dad didn’t even sit in the living room together to watch TV. When I tried to reach out to Al, Dad would tell me to butt out.
Dad believed that if everything was going fine then don’t mess it up. But things weren’t going fine. Al was suffering and so was Dad. Al started going to auctions out-of-town and this is when he really began to collect his coca cola.
Dad hated it that Al was spending money. I will never know why. Dad charged Al a small amount of rent money for living there. I never agreed with it but I couldn’t stop it either. Al barely made above minimum wage and he already had a car payment and auto insurance to pay for. Dad even made him purchase his own groceries.
It was so stupid. Dad put his refrigerator items on two shelves and Al put his items on the other two shelves. They were not allowed to mix. It makes my skin quiver just thinking how sick that was between a father and a son.
When Dad and Al went to church it was the same one for a while and they each drove themselves. Then Al changed churches. Nothing they did was together. Dad got so upset with Al spending his Saturday evenings going to the auctions that he finally had his friends go to the auctions too and spy on him.
I thought so little of these people that they would disrespect Al so bad and even stoop low enough to do as Dad wished. I hated knowing this was going on but again, I could do nothing.
There was no one to stand up for Al anymore. What his life must have been like for him I can only imagine in my own mind. I felt so bad for him but yet I was forced to live my own life.
After several years of this routine, Dad finally met a new lady friend. He introduced her to Al and me. She seemed very nice and she was pretty. Dad liked it that I agreed with his selection. Al didn’t say too much but the little he did tell me was, that’s not my mom.