This is a pretty somber post coming up, if you’d rather read something light and fun – you can always weigh in on my DC sports teams discussion.
I had planned to post about my lovely family weekend Saturday and Sunday, wherein I made a hugh jass salad, went on a puppy walk in the morning and grubbed on delicious food.
All that stuff did happen, but if that’s all I wrote about, it wouldn’t be the truth – and you know it’s all about honesty around here.
My family is a difficult animal. I love them all fiercely and would slay any bitch that tried to harm them – but a lot of harm is done internally as well.
My family is like a plate that’s been smashed against the wall.
Slowly, we’ve super glued all the pieces back together – but the plate doesn’t look the same as it used so and there are now rough-edged cracks, always threatening to break off again.
Like so many children, my parents are divorced. You would think that by age 25 this would cease to be a big deal – but it actually only seems to get more painful and dramatic year after year.
My dad remarried a woman I love to death and is happy and full of life. I couldn’t be happier for him.
We’ve morphed a more or less non-existent relationship into an open, loving one where I feel like I can talk to him about anything. It’s been wonderful to have that happen.
My mother, on the other hand, got the short end of the stick during the divorce. She has no education or job experience, and so she basically has to rely on my dad for financial assistance. She also has no self-confidence to go out and meet new friends or potential love interests. On top of that, she’s sick – a recovering alcoholic with diabetes and fibromyalgia.
She’s lonely – rarely ever leaving the house or her small town.
We used to be really close when I was younger, and we still are – but to be brutally honest – it feels more like I am her mother than like she is mine.
It’s stressful and strained and I feel like I never make the right decision.
The weekend started out well enough – my mom came up for a visit near my apartment and we had an early dinner and went shopping. It was a good time, but it’s hard to watch how much she’s changed over the years.
She seems so ashamed of herself and so timid to interact with the world. It breaks my heart.
When she left for the night, I stayed in and felt a little withdrawn, but I assured myself that the rest of the weekend would be uplifting.
It was Easter and I would get to see my entire family and relax and have fun.
We spent Saturday night at my dad and stepmom’s house playing games, eating and watching the Thunder game (they won!).
The next morning we woke up early and went on a walk/run together, which was really fun. I rarely get to do anything active with my family members.
(Oh, and we FINALLY got some rain - AMEN to that!)
When we got home we took our time getting ready. After I showered and made my salad, I sat in a comfy chair with a never-ending cup of coffee, reading a book.
I actually felt like one of those picture-perfect happy families I had always envied as a kid when my parents were clearly unhappy.
Soon, family started to arrive.
We were expecting my grandma and grandpa to come – what would have been the highlight of the weekend for me, but when my Grandma walked through the door she was alone.
My grandpa hadn’t felt well enough to get out. He’s very sick and getting progressively worse, as is customary in old age of course.
However, my poor, sweet grandma looked absolutely deflated. Her lip quivered as she explained that he was “just really sick” and she “didn’t know what do do”.
Every family must deal with death and loss, but I haven’t had to yet.
When my maternal grandparents passed, I was too young to understand it and I’ve been blessed since then to never lose anyone I’ve been close to.
Needless to say, this has been a hard time. The thought of losing my grandpa is so terrible and scary that it takes my breath away.
But more than that, seeing my grandmother looking so small, sad and helpless absolutely broke my heart.
I fell apart. I went to another room to cry and tried to get it all out in privacy, but after I cleaned up and returned to everyone – she could see what I was feeling.
Then, we fell apart together, embracing and sobbing in front of the entire family for about five minutes.
At first, I felt like a little girl again, crying on my grandma’s shoulder because someone had hurt my feelings.
She looked up at me, with tears streaming down her face and said, “He never wanted to be a burden to anyone” and we cried harder.
Then I felt the weight of what the situation really was – two adults leaning on each other – mourning the loss of someone who isn’t even truly gone yet. Yearning for the time when everything wasn’t so scary and hard.
It was bittersweet because I’ve been trying to find a way to comfort her for so long.
She is the most selfless, loving person in the entire world (and I’m really not saying that just because she’s my grandma – anyone who meets her can see that she is pure goodness.)
Growing up in such an unhappy home, my grandma and grandpa gave me the happiest childhood memories I have. I cherish them and thank God every day they are in my life and that I had a chance to know such amazing people.
After a while, we both regained our composure (which was a tad awkward because violent displays of emotion like that are far from common in my family) and went about the rest of the day trying to seem as happy as possible.
(That’s my sexy post-bawlfest face. Hawt huh?)
We made a stop on the way to my mom’s to see my grandpa – and he actually looked pretty good.
It’s hard for me to understand how someone who is still so sharp and seems okay is actually dying. I can’t wrap my head around it.
Lastly, we stopped at my mom’s for dessert.
The atmosphere is always different there. It’s a sad house, and being in it is sad – no matter how we try to fill it with happy words and delicious food.
Although she wouldn’t admit it, I could tell my mom’s feelings were hurt that we spent more time with my dad and his family than with her.
I can’t blame her, I would feel the same way in her shoes – I think it’s just hard for all of us to willingly put ourselves in that solemn state of mind for long periods of time and she suffers for that.
It’s not fair to us or to her, and every time we try to get together – I leave feeling like I’ve failed her. Failed to make her feel loved and happy. Failed to make her better.
It was a nice Easter, and I’m so blessed that I was able to spend it with the people I love – but to say that we had an absolutely wonderful time and everything was great would be a lie.
I feel a little bit defeated and I’m left with so many questions. What can I do to help? I am I being completely selfish – leaving at a time when things are so fragile? Will my grandma be able to survive her husband’s death? Will I?
I don’t know any of the answers and I don’t really have any motivational sayings or quotes to sum up what I’m feeling.
But I do have faith and hope that it will get better and that no matter what happens, and how many times we break, I’ll never stop trying to glue all the pieces back together.
Thank you for reading this, it’s just something I needed to say and set free.