Friday, April 16, 2021

An Ending

You know what they don’t write a lot of books on? Grief and broken families. 

Grief when there is estrangement. Discord. Deep hurts that happened long before the death.

They don’t talk about grief when there have been lines drawn in the sand. They don’t educate you on what that looks like or how that feels.

Grief is often spoken about in the context of deep love. When you can hardly imagine what life is supposed to look like without that person. 

But it’s not really talked about when the person is a distant memory. A broken piece of us.

They don’t write endless novels on how to process that, and how to move forward. 

There is not a step by step instruction manual for how to come to terms with what was and what wasn’t.

My grandmother died this week. She was my last living grandparent. 

She had Alzheimer’s, and I am truly glad she’s no longer suffering in her prison of a mind. I’m thankful she no longer has to be alone in the nursing home like she was when COVID-19 was at it’s worst. I’m glad her 3 beloved sons got to be with her in the end.

But, the truth is: my relationship with her was complicated, because my relationship with my dad is complicated. 

Broken family dynamics are hard. They destroy us in such a unique way. I am convinced that no one knows how to hurt you better than family. No one knows how to exploit your insecurities, your ugly places, or your shortcomings more than flesh and blood. 

Grief is always hard, but grief in the midst of a broken family dynamic is so much harder.

I’m struggling with how to be. How to act. How to overcome what is and what was for what is expected.

Over the last few days I have found myself sitting in the middle of waves of anger and grief. And the days just feel heavier than normal.

Grief always makes others uncomfortable, but grief when they don’t think you’re entitled to it makes them lose their minds. 

Because grief they don’t think is yours leaves them trying to dictate it. They write off the grief because you weren’t “close with her” and your relationship was “complicated”. They down play the facts of the night she died to minimize your reaction. 

Don’t start! Be quiet! Do not cause a scene. This is your role and you will play it. 

Isn’t it funny how when people hurt you they think they get to dictate how you feel about it too? They think they get to choose your reactions and how you carry the weight. They become the thief and the judge all at the same time. And they convince those around them that they have that right too. 

Grief is always messy business, but today it just feels messier.

We will bury my grandmother tomorrow. 

I will play my part as I am expected too. 

But something I’m learning about grief in this space is that it deeply changes you and it finalizes the shift. 

The step back. 

The closing of doors.

For me, her burial tomorrow symbolizes the end of many things. 

Because there is no going back. 

There is no way to re-write the story that has already played out. 

So, here’s to ugly endings.

To stories that don’t end as they should. 

Because they are the stories that build us. That make us better. And serve as reminders for how we want our story to end by showing us how we don’t. 

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