Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"We really should stop" Part 2

Sorry for the cliffhanger yesterday but I was in the middle of a blinding migraine and I couldn't keep typing.  If you haven't read yesterday's post, you should so that you have the full story.



So yeah, as I was getting out of the car, I got the slightest butterfly in my stomach but it quickly passed.  If I had made the decision to do this and set a date, I would've changed my mind 50x and made myself sick with anxiety.  When my grandma made her way to the door, the look on her face was priceless.  She looked dumbstruck and opened the door.  I told her I hoped she didn't mind us stopping by but we were on our way back from Easter at my aunt's and I thought I saw her at the door.  She wrapped her arms around me and said she was so glad we did.  She was still stammering for words and gave the Mr a hug.  She invited us in to sit down and we met their dog.  Oh man, that poor thing is about to burst.  I never knew a stub tail could gain weight but this poor thing no longer had a nubbin, it looked like a wagging dinner roll.  They aren't active and they do nothing but give her treats and she lays around.  The next thing I noticed is how my already bad headache instantly got worse.  The dog shed like it was 100 degrees in the dessert and I have allergies (though not typically to animals) and my sinuses slammed shut and started shooting pain into my eyes.  Perfect start to the evening.

We heard a shuffling coming down the hall and I knew my grandpa was coming.  I kind of braced up because I knew this could be interesting in a not so great way.  All I could hope was that the years had mellowed him even a fraction.  Then I wondered would he take this opportunity to tell me what a horrible granddaughter I was because what did he have to lose at his age and health?  He rounded the corner and gave a slight smile and said "well I thought you fell off the planet."  I smiled, uttered a few words to myself and said hello and gave him a hug.  He looked basically the same but more "droopy" in the face.  He didn't have a stroke but you know how they say if you never smile, your face just kind of naturally goes that direction as you age?  It was like that.  As he started to settle into his chair, I just took them both in for a second.  The last time I had real, constant contact with them, she had black hair and his hair was salt and pepper and yes, they were older but still able to move normally.  Now, my grandma has thin white hair and those sparkling blue eyes she passed on to my dad have faded to a powder blue.  She hobbles a bit, it takes her a bit of effort to get in and out of her chair and she can no longer use her hands for things like jars or even to dial the phone.  As she told me about how she couldn't use her hands so well anymore, I couldn't help but think of the times she would paint her nails and have this slick top coat.  I would sit there and rub over her nails to feel how they were smooth as granite.  It was almost soothing to me.  Now her fingers were crooked and almost slanted at a relaxed position and it made me sad.  As I looked at him, he hadn't changed much except for the face and his hair was now white and receded a little more.  Both of their voices were the same and they were exceptionally sharp for their age which I was glad to see.  It's always such a shock to see people you haven't seen in long stretches of time because when I think of them, they're about 25 years younger in my head.  I think it'll probably always be that way.

My quiet observance period was interrupted by the sound of my grandpa starting to go off on every social, political, religious and environmental issue you can name.  Basically if it was important to me and the way we live our life, he crapped all over it in the kind of non-PC way that WWII period men can do.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not an overly PC person and I hate censorship but I also do not like how the way he spoke made either of us feel.  How is it that he's actually gotten worse over the years?  (The Mr later agreed)  Could I have said that I didn't agree or that some of the things he said were actually wrong so that it could've been a conversation instead of a one sided rant?  Yes.  And what would that have gotten me?  Nothing.  No one who talks in that "this is fact" when they're seriously misguided on some things will ever change their mind and it's a waste of time to argue a point they won't hear.  His lack of respect for the way I live my life (whether he knew he was verbally crapping all over everything important to me or not) was not something I was going to defend.  I remembered trying to do that in my childhood and he would purposely go harder and more crude the more he knew it bothered you.  It wasn't in a joking manner either, it was in this almost militant "I'm going to break you of that horse shit you believe" kind of way.  I had to sit and listen to a rant that ended up lasting close to 45 minutes when all issues were totaled up.  All I could think to myself is "if this man wasn't my grandfather and I heard this in some public arena, I would've gotten up and left and told the Mr to keep him away from me."  I can't even properly convey the pompousness that oozed off of him.  It made me appreciate the Mr all the more and the fact that I didn't have to live with that...not that I ever would.  I understand growing up in a different generation, I understand being older and not giving a crap what you say or who you may be hurting but there are some things that you should just let swirl in your head and not leave your mouth.  I know plenty of men of the same age and era that don't speak that way.

The next 45 minutes were spent with them giving us very graphic detail of his medical problems.  I got the Reader's Digest version from my mom because she still sees her socially in a club about 6x a year but no, this is stuff you don't want to know.  Things you can't unhear and honestly, nothing I cared to know in that great of detail.  I was beginning to secretly pray for a power outage so we could have an excuse to leave.  Between the inappropriate conversation sending my shoulders to my ears creating the tension/migraine from Hell, the dander/hair from their little furry, adorable butterball doggie shutting down my sinuses and the heat in the house that had the Mr and I on the edge of flop sweat and the dog panting like she was going to pass out, I was ready to hit the road.  (I knew the Mr was more than ready)  There was the awkward pause for the 6th time and I took my opening as I'd tried to do once or twice before and told them we were going to get a move on.  When I gave her a hug goodbye she said she was so glad we stopped by and it made it the best Easter.  I was glad that it meant so much to her and honestly, she's the one I stopped for.  I could feel how much she loved me in that moment and that meant a lot.  I gave Grandpa a hug good bye and he asked me if I was going to fall off the planet again and I said "no, just going back home a few miles away."  They had just gotten back from their daughters house and had made the hour journey with no issue.  Not really sure how 15 minutes away is falling off the planet but you know.

Yeah.

I suppose in the scheme of things, worse things could've been said.  I didn't have time to process the "what if's" but the Mr said he was expecting a whole lot worse so I'll take the two "planet" jabs.

We made our way to the car and as soon as we got in, I apologized to the Mr for the two hours of them catching us up on the last 10 years and only asking us how our jobs were going.  As we drove home, I kept blowing my nose trying to get all the dander out and as soon as we got home, I did the neti pot praying for it to get rid of any leftover crap and relieve the pressure building behind my eyes.  We didn't really say much and I threw together leftovers from the previous night and we agreed that I was in no shape to do a workout that late with my head throbbing like a Tom and Jerry cartoon.  Between the late hour and my headache turning into a vicious sinus/migraine combo, I would've passed out for sure.  Plus I had to write my recap post for the weekend.  When I was done I asked what his thoughts were.  He said grandpa was just kind of mind blowing in a not so great way and several times he had to ask himself if he heard what he thought he heard.  He said he would look at my grandma with a shocked look on his face and she'd just roll her eyes like "don't look at me, I can't control him!"  It's true too.  I know they love each other and especially now, they depend on each other but it's somewhat like an Archie and Edith Bunker relationship.  (The Mr said he's way worse than Archie)  It's that mentality of "you're a woman, you don't know what you're talking about so I'm dismissing what you say."  I don't like that and I know it's because of that generation but I saw my dad pick up on that behavior and treat my mom that way.  I told the Mr early on in our relationship that I hated that about both men and I would not tolerate being treated that way so if he had that kind of old school, anti-woman mentality, he could take a hike.  I'm grateful to report he's nothing like that, thank God.

When he asked what I thought, I told him that it was weird because I didn't really feel anything.  I thought I would feel more.  Then I said how I noticed all over their side tables were framed photos of all of their great grandchildren and grandchildren...except me.  I don't expect to garner some spot of honor anymore but I send her pictures every year in our Christmas card on purpose.  Obviously I didn't look at every single picture because that would've been weird but yeah, with a quick scan, it was easy to see I wasn't in the menagerie and that kind of hurt even if I understood why I wasn't there.  I told him I was glad we stopped because it was good to stop saying it and just do it but more importantly, in that moment, I felt how much she loved me.  Then I started crying and said that the only problem with that is it makes that fact that she does feel that way about me and hasn't been willing to put in the time over the years and more into making excuses for not getting together was just confusing and hurtful.  Even when we left, it was the same goodbye as it has been for years, "stop by again."  (Aka-ball in your court even though I already hit the ball.  I believe you need back and forth for a volley.  I'm tired of always having to be the bigger person or make the first move and then two days later it goes right back to "what have you done for me lately, Miss Jackson?")

At points in the conversation when they would take a breath, I would tell her some of my favorite memories with her...watching the Wizard of Oz, working in the garden, playing with the puppy litter that my first dog came from.  I wanted her to know I remembered, that they meant something to me and that when she made the time for me, I was appreciative of it.  It was important to me that she knew it.  However, that time only seemed to be important to them when my parents were married.  They had big plans for my dad and I threw a wrench in that.  (Don't feel sorry for him.  Nepotism was pretty rampant back in the day and his dad got him on at his work and he's always made very good money.  That is also a sore subject so I'm stopping there.)  I know they loved me but there are more underlying issues that I have to draw the line on talking about but suffice it to say, they're big.  At this point in her life, I'm not going to confront things and get into the nitty gritty of how I've felt all this time because again, perception is reality.  She has her version of how our relationship is, he has his, I have mine, my dad has his and then there's the truth which is some screwed up mix of all of them.  It's shaped me in good ways and bad.  I want it to be known despite how bad this all sounds, I do love them and I love my family and would never want anything bad to happen to them.

In the end, I just have no desire to try to force a relationship with people who don't want one enough to make it a two way street.  I have had far too many relationships where I'm the one expected to do all the work, upkeep, communication and sacrifices while everyone else gets to do nothing.  I am glad I saw them, I'm glad that he beat the odds when he could've died several times over a period of time, I'm glad they seem to be happy and are there to support each other with the day to day stuff.  I wish nothing but the best for them and that they are still able to enjoy and make memories with the grand kids they hold dear.  I'm glad they indirectly gave me life through their son and am glad that my dad is still so close with them even though he lives elsewhere.  It's very weird to hear updates on your father and have it feel so disconnected.  I mean it's not weird for me but I know many are thinking like "how do you not know what goes on with your dad?" because they're so close to their own fathers.  Count your blessings, some people just don't have that relationship or anything remotely close.

Everyone lives their lives differently and everyone has certain ways they handle relationships that aren't working. I wish there was some better way to end this tale...like it was the beginning of some new chapter for us and we were all going to skip through the backyard and pick cherries from their tree I used to climb as a kid.  It's not.  You can still love people and not be in each others lives.  You can choose to put your own sanity first even if others out there will be quick to judge, try to guilt you into a relationship because 'they're old' and you should get over your own feelings or to think they have all the answers to your particular situation.  They don't know jack and they have no right to give advice unless they've been through your exact situation.  My mom pushed for years for me to have a good relationship with that side of the family and she was willing to do whatever it took to help how she could.  It wasn't her responsibility to do that but that's the kind of person she is.  She did more than she should have and finally I had to tell her one day after I was married that it wasn't going to happen and I know she wants it but everyone has to want it and they didn't.  I told her bringing it up would re-open old wounds and she needed to stop, I was trying to heal and picking the scab once or twice a year wasn't allowing me to move on.

It's not ideal from a shiny happy people perspective but life rarely is.  If you are going through a family situation, choose the people you tell all of your feelings to wisely.  Whether it's family, friends, co-workers, etc.  Some people have their own agendas when it comes to doling out advice you didn't ask for.  Most importantly, make peace with the situation in a way that makes you comfortable.  You have to be realistic about expectations for your relationship going forward and you have to ask yourself what you're willing to settle for and what you're not.  If your "demands" on the other person are minimal and they still aren't willing to make an effort, you need to make the decision to either stick with it and be okay with rejection for the potential of something bigger or to let it take its course and fade away with the hopes of something better when the other party is willing to make a little effort.  Whatever you decide, don't be persuaded into something to appease others expectation of what that relationship should be to them no matter their relationship to the situation.  Usually the closer the person is to the situation, the less objective they can be.  (IE- what my mom wanted and what was actually going to happen between my dad and I.  She came out of a place of love but eventually she was doing more harm than good by trying to push things and I had to tell her so.  Stand up for your decision even if its unpopular but necessary for your own healing process)

I don't really know why the hell I just shared all of this and if it actually got published, it's a miracle.  I just needed to get it off my chest and I know someone out there is going through a tough situation and are probably getting advice that they don't feel comfortable following.  If I help just one person feel better about the decision they made (obviously as long as it's nothing malicious or illegal!) then I'll be glad to have opened up so much of this crap bomb.  :-)

They say you can't choose your family but you should choose to surround yourself with people who lift you up, not people who make you question yourself or your decisions or make you feel like you're not worth the effort.  There are plenty of people out there who think you are and blood is not always thicker than water.

Thanking all of those who have thought I was worth the effort.

Any family issues you want to share?

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27 comments:

  1. You are definitely worth the effort. They missed out and I feel sorry for them for not knowing the person I know. The happy, kind, thoughtful, beautiful woman you've become is something they can only catch a glimpse of and I hope that somewhere deep down they realize what a mistake it was to be so stubborn and miss out on watching you become who you are today. I was there for it all and I know just how much they missed out on and it's a shame. I feel like somewhere deep down they know that they could have done more and have their own reasons for not but I just hope they realize how useless it was to be so stubborn over the years and refuse to take that extra little time to visit or be included in something with you rather than just force you into their terms every time. The truth comes down to the fact that you do live 15 minutes away and they have made much further treks to visit other family - not much to ask to have them stop by our place is it? But they have always had an excuse for that.

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    1. Thanks for the support. I'm sorry it was such a long, one sided visit but we've come to expect that from that side of the family. I'm glad we stopped. I think I can feel okay with things from this point on knowing that I've been the one to put forth a bit of effort when the spirit moved me. We've done this before out of the blue but it just seemed more important lately and seeing all of the pills they have to take now just kind of made it feel like it was truly the last time I could see them. I would let the "being old" excuse fly these days but given they literally just got back from driving for an hour (two hours total) to not even spend Easter with the entire family, it doesn't cut it. I don't expect it to go anywhere from here but my conscience is somewhat eased. I can confidently finally agree with what you've been telling me for 20 years...their loss.

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  2. you dear girl, what a whole lot of clear and concise wording to portray your family disconnections... What heartbreak it must have caused you knowing how they felt and not even trying to keep in touch. I think you were very brave to stop and finally see them even if it meant your Granddad loading the air with rubbish... however, good on you.. but don't be surprised if it all goes on as before.. somewhere in all that very long two posts I got the idea that maybe you were a baby that was conceived before your dad had established a career for himself.. if that was true and they blamed you for spoiling all his chances, well that was not of your choosing, so it was very wrong to blame you.. I have had the luck to have five kids and several grandchildren all of whom relate to me when we meet, but I dont see them too often as they live all over the place.. however we do keep in touch wth facebook and texts, but your grandparents have really missed out in losing contact with you. From all your blogging I can see a really l ovely person there within the words, and all your dieting too and how difficult it is, yet you keep on striving.. so whatever they have done to you, you have overcome, and long may you continue to do so.. from what your husband says, it is their loss, and he should know.. because he has the joy of knowing you and living with you and that is worth all the gold in the world.. you have a good man and a very loving mother,. treasure what you have and you do know also that the grandma loves you too, but too weak to stand against her husband,... families are meant to live and love in harmony, but for some poor darlings it just isnt so.. I hope that you will remember that your grandma does love you, and that all around you is love from people who really care.. hugs from across the pond..janzi

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! I expect nothing relationship wise from them because of my visit but hope that my grandma heard that I do have memories of her that I still think about and hold dear. It was important to me that she knew that. My only regret is we didn't have the camera that day so there's no picture of us together. I think the last pic I have of us together, I was 16. I'll just have to hold it in my memory.

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  3. Sounds like a bittersweet day, glad you shared it, thank you!

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    1. That's for sure. Thanks for reading my long winded recounting of it. :-)

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  4. I am glad you shared all of this. You've really got me thinking. "Most importantly, make peace with the situation in a way that makes you comfortable." What a concept for me - I always worry about everyone else's comfort.

    My mom started dating my dad on the rebound from a long-term relationship. She was attracted to him because he was a "bad boy". He told people he married her because it was the only way he could get into her pants. I was born 9 months and 4 days after they were married. I always felt like I messed up everyone's life - still do. I think they both would have called it a day during that first year if I wasn't already on the way.

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    1. So many of us do. We worry about what other people will think of us if we don't live up to some standard that they themselves rarely live up to. (Wow, that just blew my own mind in reference to this situation. I think I'm keeping that in my back pocket if I need it! LOL)

      You know what? Everyone has choices to make and they have to take responsibility for those choices. You may have come along a little earlier than they would've planned but you hardly messed up everyone's life and if anyone makes you think you have, it's because they're pissed off at themselves and need a scapegoat. I, for one, am glad you came along and just think, if you hadn't, your wonderful kids and grandbaby wouldn't be here.

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    2. You are an awesome person and I am so glad I met you.

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  5. You are ALWAYS worth it. I"m sorry that was such a strained reunion. I have an aunt and uncle on my mom's side and I haven't seen them since my grampap (mom's dad) passed. I've tried SOOO many times to keep in touch, keep them in the loop, invited to bdays and picnics, and if they respond at all, it's usually, "we're busy." I guess we're just not worth it.

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    1. That sounds like one branch of my mom's dad's family tree. I hear all of these stories about how wonderful Christmases were when my mom was a kid and a lot of it had to do with that branch. We only saw them at family reunions for the most part once I came along. When I was about 13, this great aunt's kids starting not coming to family reunions. It was a shame because they were nice people...rich too which lead some of us to believe they may have thought they were better than us. The last 8 years of that great aunts life, she stopped coming too despite all of us offering to come pick her up and bring her home, so there was no excuse except some magical other commitment she had even when we'd give her 4 months notice. After a while, you just stop asking because you're tired of getting shot down. In the end, they're the ones missing out and it's a shame.

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  6. I'm glad you stopped - it was the right thing to do. I would like to hope that she will call you to go to lunch or something (without him) now that you've made this first contact. I do get the reality though that old habits are easier than new ones so things probably won't change. If your perspective has changed, and now you feel ok about not seeing them then that's the important thing here.

    I'm fortunate in that my family is easy. It's just me and my folks and there's no problem there. I was never close with my extended family because they always lived so far away and in a time of expensive long distance calls and a time before skype geography mattered more. Hubby's dad is totally out of the picture and his side has some issues, but those that want to stay in touch do.

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    1. I would go to lunch with her but I know there's no way I can ask her without him coming along. Maybe I could suggest a "girls lunch" or something. I know nothing new will come of this and I didn't expect it too. It was more for me to be able to tell her that I had good times with her as a kid and I still remembered. I'm not some heartless monster like they like to make me out to be.

      I'm glad you have it less dramatic with your family. It's a blessing for sure!

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  7. Thanks for sharing. I have similar issues in my family, but what I've found worse is long time friends that I've realized aren't really my friends. After many years I've decided to stop trying, since they aren't and have no desire to, and move on. It's sad, but best to move on than continue to wallow in disappointment. With family it's harder to let go. Congratulations on the impromptu stop and sharing what you wanted to share with them.
    Thanks again for sharing on your blog. I agree with previous commenters and your husband that they are the ones who missed out.

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    1. Friendships can be just as slippery a slope, can't it? After all, they're the ones you chose to surround yourself with. I dealt with the same thing a few times and I'm always reminded of that "reason, season, lifetime" poem. (http://www.delilah.com/pages/poems.html?feed=379913&article=6472209) I hope you can read that and realize that even though it hurts, sometimes understanding what purpose those people served in our lives can help.

      Thanks so much!

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  8. So sorry that Gramps didn't mellow over the years. Sounds like he got even worse. I think you are wise to choose not to make return visits. If it causes you pain, it's just not worth it. I feel sorry for your Grandma, but I suppose after all these years she is used to him. Perhaps you could meet her for lunch ALONE sometime?

    My dad and my brother had a fight, and did not speak for the last 15 years of Dad's life. I know my brother has awful guilt about it, and I feel badly for him. I have my own guilt to live with. When dad was in hospice in his home and I was the main caregiver, I hated it. I resented it and even though I never said it in words and always had a smile on my face when I was with him, he could sense my attitude. Sometimes I wonder if Du's illness (the same prostate cancer that killed Dad) is God's payback for my bad attitude with Dad. My dad was a little bit like your granddad, he was opinionated and not afraid to share those non PC ideas that he and so many of that WWII generation share. Like you, I listened and usually didn't argue. It was just easier. But I didn't have the option of NOT visiting him, he was my dad, he had cut ties with my brother, my only sibling, and when Dad went into hospice, I was the only one who could take care of him. Because I did that, perhaps I should bury that guilt. After all, my brother didn't even try, although I'm sure my Dad would have slammed the door in his face if he had. Families aren't easy are they?

    I work hard to make sure my boys stay close with me, with their dad and with each other, and tell them not to argue to the point they decide not to have contact with each other. I endured that with my dad and my brother and it was awful.There are small spats, but nothing major, and right now with Du's illness, it is so important to me that we all stay close and supportive of each other. So far so good.....

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    1. Yeah, mellow is apparently not in his vocabulary. ;-) I feel bad for her too but I know that she knows no different and when you're with someone for that long, personality traits can rub off on each other. She was kind of mimicking his sentiments on some of rant and I don't know if she knows what it means to have her own thoughts anymore than aren't influenced by him. Sigh.

      Well, technically you DID have the option with your dad but you're a good person and that tie meant more to you than how much you disliked doing it. By NO means is Du's cancer, YOUR penance!! God/karma or whatever you believe in doesn't work that way.

      It sounds like you're doing a good job making sure your immediate family is close and that's what matters.

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  9. Girl let it all out! I read somewhere about taking advice from people, YOU are the one that has to live with the consequences of YOUR decisions/actions. So you have to make sure to do what is best for you, not what everyone else wants you to do. You know what is in your heart, what you can (or want to) handle and in the end that is what matters. You have to live with yourself and your decisions on a daily basis, not them. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about decisions you made for your own well being.

    I can empathize with so much of this and I know how brave you are to share thins. Thank you. I'm so glad you stopped so that you can get rid of any guilt you were feeling. Hugs dear friend!

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    1. Yep, all of that is true. I did this with them once before about 8-10 years ago and the result was similar. Happiness in the moment from them but nothing changed. This time I felt it was important she know I still held those memories dear because I feel like they don't have a whole lot of time left. I did what I had to do for me and I welcome more but don't expect it. I think with some people you have to throw normal expectations out the door.

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  10. It was a cliff hanger!! Thank you as always for sharing. It is hard to put yourself out there, but you gotta get it out. So much of what you said resonated with me. Isn't weird how grown ass adults blame children for things. That was my dad, a very disconnected and sad relationship we had, everything was my fault, even though he left my mom, was an alcoholic, and general asshole. We lived in the same town after the divorce, just a few minutes a part but rarely spoke. He added nothing to my life and I had to face it. Yes, I spent many years believing that is I was more successful, or skinnier or whatever I thought, he would love me, but after some therapy, I know it isn't true He is dead now and though I don't miss him, because he was not a part of my life, I am glad that when I found out he was sick I told him I loved him, because I did not matter what. I am glad you saw your grandparents, and now you can decide what kind of relationship if any you want to have but if they leave this earth tomorrow, then you know you did the good thing!!!

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    1. Yes, it is hard but it seems other can relate or be helped by the situation so I felt it was important to share it. I don't understand when adults blame children for things, it's the most juvenile thing THEY can do. I went through the same thing with my dad about if I was just X, he'd love me more. If I was a boy (he was a big outdoorsman) he'd love me more. Well no, because he had a stepson and he screwed that up ROYAL. If this, if that. One day I was just like "you know what, it's not me, it's HIM and I think I can actually be okay with that and forgive him and stop putting this burden on my shoulders." I'm glad you were able to tell him you loved him when he was sick. That can do so much to help you heal as you go forward. I feel the same way that if they died tomorrow, I would feel better having visited them.

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  11. I'm firm believer that it's not necessary to have a relationship with family members just because you are related. I haven't spoken to my sister in 14 years and I'm very comfortable with that. I don't wish her any ill will, but I also know any relationship would be unhealthy and toxic, so I choose not to have one. Same goes for most members of my family as they shunned me a long time ago. The anger is gone, and for the most part the hurt is too. These aren't people that I would choose to be in relationship with if they weren't family, so I don't feel that I should just because we share some DNA. So many people think I'm the biggest weirdo and think I'm cold because of my feelings on this, and I'm ok with that because in a way I can understand their perspective. But I also know that they don't know the details of what life was like, and even if they did the 'blood is thicker than water' concept is alive and well. I don't hold any resentment towards those sentiments because I'm in a healthy place with how I feel and feel free more than anything. For me, forgiveness means letting go of the hope that the past could have been different (it stops the mental hamster wheel from going and going). They are who they are, and I have no desire to try to change them. I just choose to focus on healthy relationships and they don't fit that bill.

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    1. I believe the same. Obviously in a perfect world, we'd all get along, respect each others feelings and be supportive whether we agreed or not but that's not the case for everyone. I think if a relationship with your sister is toxic then it's got no place in your life. I don't think you're a weirdo at all. I love my dad but I realized that I talk about him in the past tense and he's still alive. He just doesn't have it in him to be a dad and hasn't really been in that role since my wedding day where he walked me down the aisle but I refused to let him "give me away" because I didn't feel I was his to give. I'm glad you're in a healthy place and can not be held down by the dead weight your family became. You deserve it.

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  12. Wow, this is some story. Maybe putting it all out there in black and white for us to read is somewhat helpful to you? You've certainly got the right perspective, and reading all of this gave me many good reminders of how and how not to react to my own family "stuff". Thank you for sharing what I am sure was a difficult story to share. Box it up now if you can, and go forward toward all the happiness and peace you and your husband deserve.

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  13. Thank you for sharing this post. For years, I have grappled with a similar issue with certain parts of my family. I have worried that I am not a good person because I am not willing to put myself into situations where I will be treated like crap. Reading your reflection on your visit with your grandparents helped me to reframe how I feel about my relationships with some members of my family. You are right - "Most importantly, make peace with the situation in a way that makes you comfortable." Thank you for helping me (again) through your honesty and willingness to share with us.

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    1. I'm so glad something I was able to share was able to help you. I had to do the same with the Mr's family in the earlier days. I would spend weeks before an event physically ill, be miserable while there then take 3-5 days to recover/analyze the whole thing. Finally I had to say no more when we got scammed by the immediate family on getting us to an event. Now we see them on our own terms and it seems to work. We get slammed behind our backs but that happens regardless of what we do so might as well do things our way if we're going to get talked about anyway, right? ;-)

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