Death And Other Quandaries

05/26/2015

I wanted to share something because quite frankly, I don't know what else to do with it except throw it out into the ether to see if anyone can relate. 

I kinda don't know how to feel right now. 

My family history is...complicated. Suffice to say we did NOT put the fun in dysfunctional. The basic setting: I was adopted by my widowed, maternal G'ma before I was one. My birth mom, Carol (G'ma's daughter, and legally my sister), never wanted children and my G'ma insisted I stay in the family rather than getting adopted out. If a family is only as sick as it's secrets, ours was at deaths door constantly. All of my families history is shrouded in mystery. Nobody ever would answer any questions I had. Heck, I didn't even know that Carol was my birth mom until a kid who lived down the street told me when I was 13. Seemed everyone knew but me. Why I wasn't told in the first place was, you guessed it, never explained to me.

Carol had moved away when I was three to Florida. I've seen her once since then, and she would call every year on my birthday and Christmas. After my G'ma passed away, I asked Carol why she gave me up to her, since their relationship was strained and she probably knew I'd be neglected. She said she figured I was better off with her since she herself was not "maternal."

Runs in the family I guess. I am certainly not unscathed. Vulnerability and trust will always be hard for me. But I pour love and attention on my kids copiously. Maybe they would say too much? :) I've always wondered: How come some people are able to break the chain of abuse and some just follow suit?

Anyway, what I am getting at is this: My Great G'ma died in 1980, my G'ma who raised me died in 2002, and now over the weekend I found out that Carol died of natural causes in her home, alone, July 2014. There are many questions that need answering. The obvious one being how come I am only finding out about this now. But that stuff will work itself out. Mostly, I am just kinda numb and wondering how I should be feeling. Thinking that although it's to be expected, it's still weird that there is this disconnect when someone dies in our family because nobody was ever close. Cordial, but distant. No weeping...nothing you'd usually expect when someone dies I guess. Three generations of family women gone in my lifetime, and I never knew them well. Each relationship strained and complicated. Each woman in the periphery of my existence. Each not capable of giving me the care and love I needed. But how could they give it to me, when they could not even give it to themselves?

I said I didn't know how to feel but I think I've figured it out in the process of writing this. I'm sad. Sad for them, for me, for what never was. For family secrets and the unnecessary burden of shame. Isolation and loneliness. Hardship, fear, and for lives half-lived.

Rest well fiery, talented, independent, stubborn women. I wish you had not all met tragic ends. I wish that wherever you are, you have found peace. Be free and at ease.

So take this moment...and be selfish
Worry not about the clouds that go by
'Cause all that matters...is your freedom
So keep warm my dear...Keep dry
~Alanis Morissette, Mary Jane  

xo