This past week has been crazy. The most significant event was a Funeral that I attended on Monday. Who's funeral, you ask? Well... that is a long story. You see, the woman who was laid to rest was technically my Grandmother, Alice. I say technically because I didn't really know her. We actually met for the first time when I was 18. That was literally 1/2 a lifetime ago.
I maybe saw her one other time in these last 18 years. I think the only reason I wanted to meet her to begin with was that I had lost my Grandfather the year before. I felt like I had this other set of grandparents out there and I was missing out. The only problem with meeting her was that she wanted me to meet my "father" as well.
My "father" walked away from my mom before I was even born. I didn't know about him till I was in my early teens. My mom did meet a man right after I was born and she married him 4 months later. They've been married ever since and that is who I consider my dad. In some ways I am closer to my dad than my mom. Don't get me wrong, we've had our differences and the teen years were a nightmare. Today I consider him a friend.
I did stay in contact with my biological father for a while after meeting him back then. I don't remember a lot about it now. Their family was always excited about finding me, the long lost daughter/granddaughter/niece. It never felt right. It just didn't fit. The end came when I became pregnant with my oldest DS. My "father" was thrilled that he was going to be a "grandfather." That was the end for me. I just couldn't live with it. How could a man that was never a father become a grandfather to my child? It didn't seem fair to the man that had raised me as if I were his very own.
So fast forward to Monday. I've not really seen or heard from anyone in the family for 15 years. I'm debating whether I should even go to the funeral. I'm scared and nervous and literally sick to my stomach trying to make this decision. My dad was going to go with me but at the last minute decided not to. He didn't feel it was his place and I understand that. He thought I should go but if I didn't that was okay too. He would stand by my decision and support me. I'm not sure what I did to deserve him but I know that I am truly blessed!
I went, of course. There are some funerals that you just know you will someday regret not attending and this would most likely be one of them. I arrived at the very last minute and went straight to the back of the room. Just from the funeral standpoint it was hard. I have been through so many funerals lately and still struggle with depression because of it. Not to mention that in the last 20 years, the funeral home that I went to has not changed one iota. They still have the exact same furniture, the same everything. Then there's that smell. Anyway, I digress.
I received a lot of comfort from the funeral. Not only comfort from the pain I felt that day but comfort from the extreme pain that I still carried from the last funeral I attended. I think I was in a better place that day and more open to receive the message. When Alice's son spoke, I learned more about her in 10 minutes than I had ever known. It was a good thing.
After the funeral there would be a graveside service. I had not intended to go but decided at the last minute to. At this point no one knew who I was. I also didn't think that my "father" was there. It felt safe. I went to the cemetery and probably would have just walked away but my "uncle" came up to me and asked who I was. Now I know I could have lied or maybe not really answered but I did. The response was overwhelming. The phrase, "out of the frying pan and into the fire" comes to mind. There was no turning back now.
I was probably okay until my "aunt" came up and asked if my "father" had spoken to me. I said, "No, but that's okay, he doesn't have to." I got the feeling that she is the type of person that you don't say "NO" to. Now, just her asking that question was enough to make me burst into tears.
My emotions drive me crazy some times. I'm happy... I cry, I'm sad... I cry, I'm angry... I cry, I hate crying but it's my blanket response to just about anything. The only thing I have ever found that helped with that was Prozac, but that's another post for another day.
Seeing my "father" like that was so awkward. It was like meeting a stranger but being expected to love that stranger. Neither of us were comfortable. What do you say? You say those polite generalities that you would say to a stranger. You ask, " So, how have you been?" Obviously he isn't great... he just buried his mother who had had a massive stroke a couple of weeks before. The only thing that saved us was getting to his car. His wife was there, a very sweet woman, and his sons... my brothers. That was the best part of this entire day. Seeing my brothers.
What you may not be able to pick up on as I'm writing out this ridiculously long story is that I feel guilty. I have massive guilt over this whole situation. Back in '89 I let this family into my life and then one day decided that it didn't work for me. My brothers were 10 & 5 when I met them and I shut them out too. I've lived all these years with this in the back of my mind, always haunting me. I feel like I did this terrible thing that I can never change. The biggest question today is... now what?
I ended up spending 1 to 2 hours with this family. It was overwhelming, still awkward at times but comfortable all at the same time. My brothers were great. I saw my boys in them and even myself. They did some family pictures and wanted me to join in but I just couldn't do it. It wasn't right. It would have felt like a lie. I think I was afraid that by joining in I would be saying that I wanted to be a part of that family. Honestly, I don't know what I want.
These last couple of days all I can think about is what I want to do. I have kids that don't know anything about this. As far as they are concerned, my dad is there grandfather. Can you even begin to explain something like this to 6 year olds. My husband is struggling with it as well. I feel like this is my decision but it's not. This is a decision that I need to work through with my husband. I know that I don't need another dad. How do you tell someone they can be in your life but only "this much?" Do I even have control of this?
I know that writing this out on my blog seems crazy but it does help. I feel like I'm talking with an old friend. I don't know that anyone actually reads this other than Kimberly so it also feels safe to share. Judge me if you want. There is nothing that you can think of me that I haven't already thought of myself. Thanks for listening.