I went to a gathering in honor of my maternal grandmother who recently passed away. I listened to her other grandchildren speak about their loving relationships with her. I felt genuinely happy for them that they had basked in her love, and glad for her that she had people to love, and who loved her back, even after the the alienation that occurred between us when I was a child.
I was so grateful I had reconnected with her in recent years, and also happy to spend some time on this day with other family members who had been torn from my life. They each have their own story of pain and loss and I have the desire to know their stories more deeply. I don’t know if I will get that chance, but my heart is open to it.
And on the way home I was stung by pangs of grief; the loss of a loving grandmother (and grandfather, and mother and aunts and an uncle…); an inexcusable, senseless loss that changed the trajectory of so many lives, mine included.
Back in my day to day life, I continue editing my memoir, and although I had been struggling to keep thoughts of more loss at bay, I’ve finally decided it is time to face them head on. The reality is, my book, my essays, the writing of my story will surely lead to more loss.
It is only a matter of time now that my father, the alienating parent, as well as my stepmother and sisters, will likely reject me for exposing my truth. I am fully and painfully aware that my memoir is my father’s worst nightmare, and by extension, theirs too.
But I keep coming back to this: a love and acceptance that is contingent upon silence, pretending, or denial, in order to keep the status quo, to cloak the dysfunction in its warm, cozy blanket of distorted reality and calculated excuses, is a love and acceptance I am willing to lose.
I cannot choose based upon fear of loss, or fear of wrath. I’ve played that gig already, thank you. The cost is too great.