Friday, March 07, 2008

A Family Affair

I feel good today! 10 hours of sleep, a homemade breakfast and it being Friday will do that to you.

I think that I am in a state of grief over my family. Not just my immediate family - though they are included - but grandparents I don't talk to, ancestors who did horrible things. It has been hard for me to face my family history. I know that people aren't perfect but the darkness in our collective past would horrify most normal people.

I have been addressing this through my writing, which has helped. I have reforged a relationship with Cool Aunt, whom I idolized as a child, which helps me cope with the superficiality of my relationship with Mother. I have researched genealogy to try and understand these people I come from, and why they did the things they did.

I know I wrote once about trying to contact my maternal grandfather. Since there was no answer to my email, I could assume he never received it, until I received a voice mail message from another Aunt, the only one in the family in touch with him. "Your grandfather told me you wrote to him," she said. "Don't take it personally, he has his moods."

My former therapist, who admittedly was not the right person for me, did say something once that has remained with me. She said that these relatives are broken people and they simply cannot forge relationships because of all that they have been through. This makes sense. It still hurts sometimes, so that's why I write.

The other night I had a dream that Cool Aunt and I went to visit my grandfather. He was standoffish at first, as expected, but he warmed to us. In the dream, he was younger-looking and very handsome. He would let me hang around with him and sneak smiles and conspiratorial winks at me.

I told Cool Aunt about the dream and she said, "I don't want to know my father. He is a horrible man."

I don't know why I am writing all this, except to continue the healing process. That dream was so real and so meaningful for me, and I would venture a guess that my grandfather represents every relative who is too broken to be mine. They are mine only in my dreams.

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