"So when are you planning on talking to Gramma?" A question that was asked with some urgency and continually pressed with more urgency by both my mother and my godfather. My answers range from "I know I need to do this" to "Soon." But the truth is always a lot more complicated than that. Just as most truths are.
Five years ago, when I made the decision to cease contact with my family as we were barreling towards our first round of IVF, I found myself having to make peace with a lot of different situations. I mourned the loss of my beloved godfather (my mother's youngest brother), of my father and my brother. My dad's younger brother too. But the women in my family, I was done with. My mom and sister, my aunts. But also with my grandmothers. My dad's parents were easy as my parents were still estranged. But my mom's mother was harder. Though it was clear she didn't understand, her continual refusal to act as matriarch and rein-in all the misbehavior of her children was the root cause for the ongoing issues. Even when confronted, it was clear she wasn't capable of making needed changes. And I was tired of it.
The problem comes in that my Gramma is now 80 yrs old and her health is rapidly declining. Add in the continual explanation that she doesn't understand why I would cut off contact and one gets a lovely stew: guilt and a sense of obligation stirred in with frustration and a feeling that empathy isn't part of the game.
Over the past couple of days, I've been thinking about all of this while also tackling the mountain of work around my new position. Classes start in under 2 weeks, so finalizing quizzes, section manuals and problem sets have been at the top of the list. Today, though, we talked about exams. And that's when I sat down to review the university's honor code. As I've been reviewing academic standards and a call uphold those by avoiding dishonest practices, I've found myself struggling emotionally. The familiar feelings of abandonment and pain surfacing when reflecting on why I haven't been able to call Gramma.
The problem comes in on two fronts. The first being that I don't feel I can be honest with my Gramma about why I made the decision to cut contact years ago. I big issue as that wall means that actual healing of our relationship really won't happen. The second is that I feel the big push for reconciliation really doesn't involve me at all, but instead is about the feelings and viewpoints of others. In short, I'm being held to an Honor Code that is enforced only for a few. An ancient code that family connection trumps everything, especially during moments of life transition. Even if upholding that Code ultimately is unhealthy for all involved.
Honestly, I don't know exactly how to resolve these feelings. My gut is telling me to bite the bullet, call and lie through my teeth. Being very careful to admit nothing as I know it will ignite my mother and her siblings. The problem doing so also feels like it will further the divide. It gives me more leverage for why I don't want to expose the Beats to any of this. I never want them to feel this used.
Listen Up and then BE HEARD!
3 hours ago