Dr. Mary’s Monkey

I finished two books in recent weeks. The most intriguing of which was, Dr. Mary’s Monkey: How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans and Cancer-Causing Monkey Viruses Are Linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK Assassination and Emerging Global Epidemics.

It takes place in New Orleans and the link between all of the above is so intriguing you won’t be able to stop reading or listening! It was that good, that I just KNOW my ex- father-in-law would love this book! In fact, he went to the same school as the author and may know him. I’ll never know, though. This last point is what got me to thinking about how quickly things change and how quickly people who have known you for over 26 years throw you out like yesterday’s trash.

Backing up, the day my dad died, I walked into my dad’s apartment to start cleaning it out to find a gift box from my ex on my dad’s bed. After almost 5 years of asking him to stop contacting my dad, visiting my dad and getting my dad’s anger out of control, the day my dad died was the day it all ended. The ex can no longer use my father to get to me and my boys. The ex would talk and tell stories that my dad would later parrot in anger. It’s all over now, thankfully. My dad told me that he would die angry with me, and that he did!

My father-in-law comes in to my thought process here because I really liked and respected the man. He was more of a father to me than my own father ever was, and it really hurt when he and my mother-in-law cut me off —- for 24 years, I honestly considered them the parents I never had. All gone in one fell swoop. I just know he would love this book, but I also know it is inappropriate to send him a Christmas gift.

The only communication I have had with them from my end has been at the behest of the police. When ex kept trespassing, my lawyer asked his lawyer to request he stop. When he kept visiting my father and making him angry, my lawyer asked his lawyer to ask him to stop. When he continued, I contacted the police. The police asked if I could reach out to family members who could encourage him to stop these actions. I now know, No…..no, his family will not encourage him to stop.

One day, I visited my dad and he unleashed hell on earth- screaming, shaking his fists and saying horrid things. He told me all the things the ex used to say and more. Shoved me, then slammed the door in my face-literally. Polly want a cracker!? Before this, I had sent an email as the police requested. One of his aunts replied back to the email, “LOL”. I never understood how someone would laugh at sheer desperation — a daughter just wanting her father to stop yelling at her and her sons. A daughter just wanting a man to stop boosting her father’s anger. I just wanted ex to leave my dad alone — my dad would be okay for a while, then ex would visit or call and all hell would break loose. The kids noticed the timing, as well– and the fact that my dad said the exact things their father said.

When my dad tried to get the assisted living home to call the police on my son and me, I sent a text with a picture of my son crying uncontrollably (I asked my son’s permission) in hopes that while the family hated me, they would love my son enough to get their son/brother to stop fueling my father’s anger. No such luck. One sister texted me back saying to stop contacting her with my “bullshit”. On one of the occasions that I visited my dad after church and he ranted at me and had me in tears, I sent postcards to his aunts and uncles asking them to please ask my ex to stop visiting my father. Literally one sentence on a postcard. He never stopped contacting my father……. So, the day my dad died was the LAST insult to injury I will ever have to deal with in that regard.

I love the boys’ great-grandmother, as well. She would have her helpers call me to go to the ER or doctor visits with her because she didn’t want to go with the workers. I cooked for her, helped her make scrapbooks of family memories that all of her loved ones can hopefully enjoy once she passes away. She is a beautiful woman with a heart of gold. Yet, the day he walked out the door, I ceased all contact with her. I would never go there. Normal people don’t go there.

All this to say: I thought the book would be a nice Christmas gift for my father-in-law. As a grown-ass adult, I realize it is inappropriate to send him any sort of gift. So…… I remember happy conversations with him and tell myself, “He’d really like this book, but there is nothing I can do about that. Normal people don’t contact the parents or grandparents of their exes, especially with such a contentious, bitter divorce from hell.” Stay in your own lane, as they say.

The book about Dr. Mary Sherman’s unsolved murder is a good one. If you get a chance to read it, I would love to hear your thoughts!

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