it’s not pretty part 2

“Time is a lot of things people say that God is.  There’s the always preexisting, and having no end.  There’s the notion of being all powerful-because nothing can stand against time, can it?  Not mountains, not armies. 

And time is, of course, all-healing.  Give anything enough time, and everything is taken care of: all pain encompassed, all hardship erased, all loss subsumed.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  Remember, man, that thou art dust; and unto dust thou shalt return. 

And if Time is anything akin to God, I suppose that Memory must be the Devil.”

                                                                                                                                                                              -Diana Gabaldon   Breath of Snow and Ashes


This post has nothing to do with spanking.  I’m really just attempting to get all of this garbage out of my system.  I’ve been debating about whether I even wanted to publish this because it is such personal and sensitive subject.  It leaves me feeling very exposed, but I am trying to be open, stay open, so here it is…                                                       

I’ve been trying not to think about it, but it’s going to be in my face soon enough.  I have to just figure it out.  My relationship with my grandmother is complicated at best.  She apparently had a great time with me when I was very young, and I do have vague positive memories of those times.  However, as I grew up at about 8 years old I turned into somebody she didn’t like so much.  I was not so controllable, not so mailable anymore.  She never lived very close to me, so there were long spans of time between visits, so maybe my independence came as a shock to her.  Anyway, she has caused me an incredible amount of pain in my life.  She berates and belittles, criticizes and judges, she is just plain mean and selfish in my opinion.  At around 10 or 11 she and my mom left me at a mall for four hours and sent other family members back to get me, (it’s a long story) that was probably the last straw for me, though we continued to have a stilted speaking relationship.   She always pretended nothing happened that day, and I just wasn’t allowed to be angry.   A few years ago things finally came to a head at my last and final visit to my grandparents home.  We got into a shouting match and we both said a lot of things.  I’m an adult and she was in my face over something that was none of her business, I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I almost left that night with my two kids and was going to fly home early.  It was that bad.  My love for my grandpa kept me there.   After calming down I felt bad about the way I said things, but not what I actually said.  The next day I apologized for how I handled things, but she was not interested in any of it.  That was fine with me.  We haven’t spoken since and I do not expect to ever again.  At this time she is in the hospital with a lung disease, her condition is up and down.  I’d be surprised if she makes it three more months.  Up til now I’ve successfully kept her out of my thoughts.  It’s hard to escape the situation as my mom lives near, I see and talk to her frequently, and she is constantly upset.  It is very difficult to deal with her feelings because as you can imagine she and don’t have an ideal relationship either.   I’ve tried to keep both of them at arms length just to avoid further damage, though I can say since I’ve grown up, my mom has done some growing of her own.  Anyway, I’m not so much experiencing pain as I am emotional discomfort, a sort of cognitive dissonance.  Pain is easier (maybe), I can sit with it, it’s more final, I can move through it with time.  It’s a heavy feeling in my chest vs not being able to sit still.  This uncomfortable feeling I have just makes me anxious, jumpy, unsure.  What is the conflict?  I put this person out of my life for good, she’s already gone in my eyes, I cannot allow her back in my life, and even if I did I have been told she has no interest in talking to me.  Fine, that’s ok.  But I still feel sadness and loss knowing that she will be gone in a matter of time.  And then it is over.  I’ve wondered if subconsciously I expected her to contact me and at least say goodbye, because consciously I don’t expect that.  It’s just not who she is.  The reality is that it’s already over, it has been over, there should be no rush of feelings for me, but there is…  and it’s strange.  Feelings of anger, abandonment, grief and loss are invading me, asking me questions.  They affect every relationship I have.  Does my husband really care about me?  Will my friends desert me when I need them?  Should I allow my feelings out, they might scare people away, or worse, they will say they’re invalid? 

My conclusions at this moment are this; I have got to get over it.  I have to stop thinking this way. I cannot let what happened overshadow the rest of my life, the rest of my relationships.  There is a reason that I experience doubts, but it has nothing to do with everyone else.  I’ve got to remember that…


7 thoughts on “it’s not pretty part 2

  1. briseis says:

    perhaps a final goodbye would be enough closure for you…as i said recently in one of my blogs…pain eventually goes away but regret stays for a life time. So best to deal with the pain eventually it will resolve itself.


  2. The feelings you are having are because you still love her. Many people believe hatred is the opposite of love but that isn’t true. The opposite of love is indifference.

    When you are indifferent to someone, they have little to no power to hurt you. Had a babysitter you barely knew left you at the mall your anger would have left you long ago. It wouldn’t have been so personal.

    The reason it hurt so deeply was because someone you loved did something that made you feel as if you didn’t matter to her. The worst thing someone you love can do to you is to be dismissive of you – to make you feel as if you don’t matter.

    If you believe you don’t matter to your grandmother, you believe she is indifferent to you. Without even knowing it consciously your subconscious realizes indifference is the complete opposite of love and that indifference from someone you love is arguably the most painful thing you can ever experience. It cuts deeply.

    Your anger and the choices you’ve made to freeze her out during the last moments of her life are defensive choices. Though they might seem to be coming from anger, they are really coming from your need to protect yourself from any more hurt.

    Unfortunately, your grandmother not wanting to see you or talk to you at this point still hurts badly. Worse, that hurt will continue after she dies because this will all remain unresolved.

    None of this would bother you if you didn’t still love your grandmother. If you didn’t love her you would be indifferent to her and anything she did or said. This all would mean as much to you as if I was dying and didn’t want to talk to you. You think, “who gives a rat’s ass?”

    The fact that your grandmother refuses to speak to you or see you proves she is as angry and hurt as you are. She is clearly not indifferent to you. She loves you.

    Perhaps we have here two stubborn people who see themselves always as the victim of the other and, as is typical in such cases, are unable to empathize with the other and see how the other might be justified sometimes in being angered by something “I” did.

    As hard as it is to accept sometimes, there is rarely a case like this where both people haven’t done lots to contribute to the problem. It’s easy to get ticked off and even easier to lash out at someone who hurts us. Pride is not our friend.

    Disputes like this usually become a contest – a battle of egos. To give in is to lose. To admit any fault at all is to lose. To apologize for any real or imagined slight is to lose.

    It’s not a contest, but if it was the moment your grandmother dies – you lose. Not her. She will no longer be bothered by any of this while you will pay a price every day of your life, whether you know it or not.

    She won’t see you so what can you do? You have two choices.

    1) Nothing.
    2) Write her a letter.

    If you write a letter you can take a couple of approaches depending upon what matters to you most.

    If you need to get everything off your chest – in other words, you need the LAST word (quite literally in this case), then blast her. Tell her how awful she is and all the pain she has caused you. Let her know how despicable she is.

    That way you won’t even have to come out and say “I’m glad you are dying and you are getting what you deserve” – that kind of letter will make it quite clear that’s how you feel.

    Or, you could take a completely different approach and tell her how bad you feel that you both wasted so many years fighting each other, time you will never be able to get back.

    Tell her how much her dying (or possibly dying) hurts you.

    Tell her how much you love her.

    Remind her of how much she once meant to you and tell her you aren’t even sure any longer what changed everything but you know you weren’t an innocent bystander and are sure you’ve done and said things that hurt her. Tell her you are very sorry for anything you might have done to hurt her.

    Tell her you wished you could have said all this in person, but what mattered most to you was being able to let her know while you still had the chance that you will always love her and you will miss her.

    If you want this resolved. If you want to avoid years of hurt, guilt, anger and more you have to make the choice to put away your pride and be the bigger person in this mess. (Just by writing that letter you will have become the bigger person.)

    Many people die in circumstances like this and many survivors are forever haunted by it. Refusing to speak to someone as a way to “get them” is … well, I’d better leave it at that. Let’s just say I have a very negative view of it, lol.

    The worst thing that could happen is she refuses to acknowledge you or your letter. If that happens, you are no worse off than you are right now.

    Yes, your grandmother might prove incapable of being a “big person.” She might continue to blow you off. If so, you will remove any doubt that you were just unfortunate to be born with a grandmother who was a despicable human being.

    Knowing that, at least, will eventually make all this much easier to deal with. It will cease being so deeply personal as you realize the grandmother you knew when you were young was more a figment of your imagination and the one who died was the real woman.

    You will also relieve yourself of all the guilt you are now destined for because you will never regret that you didn’t even try to make things right between you.

    So what are you risking by doing that? The only thing you risk is having your pride hurt again. If your pride (which is no more than your ego) means that much to you then do nothing. You’ll suffer for many years but at least you’ll be able to think you “won” something that can’t be won – it can only be lost.

    What could you gain by doing that? Much, much more than you could possibly imagine. You will eventually come to realize what you’ve lost by not writing that letter when it’s beyond your ability to change anything.

    If you don’t want to write it because you think she won’t read it, then give it to someone close to her and ask them to give it to her. You might even want to tell them to read it first so they will convince her she needs to read it. At the very least, if she is too stubborn to read it or thinks you will be blaming her as well, they can tell her everything you tried to in the letter.

    If want to blame her for things or tell her why certain things she did hurt you, etc., don’t bother writing. You don’t need to make it seem as if the blame is all yours (not even close) or absolve her of anything. You just need to say you are sorry for your part in this and most of all tell her you love her and will miss her.

    Tell her most of all that you are tired of the fighting and that nothing from the past matters any more and you wouldn’t talk about any of it even if you ever had the chance to talk to her again. It just doesn’t matter because her sickness has shown you what really matters.

    That will give her the chance to respond likewise without feeling as if she has to defend herself or attack you for anything you wrote. perhaps you will be able to exchange a few letters after that. Perhaps she will ask you to come see her. if so, refuse to talk about the past. Even if you just talk about the weather, keep it positive and cheerful.

    If you like the current state of affairs, just do nothing. You’ll get to enjoy it the rest of your life.

    If you don’t like it, then swallow your pride and approach it from the high ground. It’s surely pretty lonely up there but you’ll be able to see things a lot more clearly from such a vantage point, lol.

    Whatever you decide, I hope it all works out for you!


  3. PS: Sorry about the above novel, lol. I just hate to see anyone hurting the way you are and on those rare occasions when I think I might be able to help, I tend to go overboard in my attempt to not to leave out anything important. 🙂


  4. Ally says:

    Dante, I’m honored that you would take the time to write me a novel 🙂 . I do appreciate it and you have given me a lot to think about. Over the past few months I have given thought, thought, and more thought about regrets. Trying to figure out will I have them…or not. Of course I want to protect myself from her, but I also want to protect myself from any pain of regret, and certainly a lifetime of it. I thought I had the answer, but you may have changed my mind. I don’t really have the luxery of a lot more time to think at this point. Thanks for your insight.

  5. Sara says:

    Ally, life and relationships can be so complicated. I think you DO have to protect yourself. Your grandma has taught you that, and you pulled back for good reason. It was a healthy reaction, imo. On the other hand, I do like Dante’s suggestion of writing a letter. I am not so sure it even matters if she reads it. If she reads it, if she opens herself, that is her choice. You will have written it and said things that might help you to bring closure for yourself. I am not sure what your grandma’s issues are, whether there is a personality disorder, another psychiatric disturbance, or maybe she was herself abused as a child. Whatever might be behind her aggression and bitterness, you must resolve for yourself that this was never about you per se. You were a child! However, expressing your feelings and saying what needs to be said for you might be very helpful. I will be thinking of you!

  6. Mick says:

    Ally, I think you’ve been given some good advice above. Sara is correct that you do need to continue to protect yourself. And Dante is correct that it would be good to offer some conciliatory words.

    Grief makes us feel like we’re crazy and sometimes the worst grief is when we lose someone with whom we were in conflict. If you can give your grandmother at least the opportunity of reconciliation, it would probably make your grief be easier.

    If she refuses you can find some comfort that you tried. Maybe the letter is the best way to approach her–less risk.

    It might be good to try for the sake of your relationship with your mother and grandfather, who have their own grief issues.

    If she’s not interested in reconciliation

    May you find peace in the midst of the stormn

  7. Ally says:

    Sara and Mick and briseis, I am so glad I decided to post this, everyone’s words have givin me some new perspective on the situation. Dante’s letter idea was great and not more than 30 minutes later I decided to write out a note. It is short and sweet and to the point. It is enough for me, and if she reads it I hope it will bring her some peace. I’m not out to “get her”, I just didn’t want to have more of the same. (Sara, she was abused as a child. Mick, it probably will help my grandpa and mom, that is a good point). Thank you so much everyone for all your imput.

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