Friday, December 19, 2008

Unearthing the postmortem scuttlebutt

This amazing painting can be found here.

Not to bum everyone out here, but there was a recent death in the family. It was not a shock really, the guy was 82. Let's call him Kermit. He and his wife lived very far away from the centralized clan. Thus, no one was really close to him and hadn't seen him for a long time. I really have no emotional connection to him. Honestly, I wasn't sure who he was at first.

My family is catholic. And so was Kermit. Typically, religion provides kindling for igniting passions and family fighting. So, when Kermit, at the tender age of 16, started dating a Lutheran girl, well . . . It was not a welcomed relationship. She did not help things by being bossy and kind of nuts. She rubbed people the wrong way.

This weekend, I listened as my mom described her behavior from FIFTY years ago, when they started dating. How she would go to the car on Christmas eve, lest she hear the radio broadcast of the Catholic Pope's Prayer. Her family was just as uppity about her Lutheran status as we were about being Catholic. Again, this did not help things.

There is another layer here though. And Lord help me for airing my family's dirty laundry, but here goes. This woman, who I have met and I like, is genuinely messed up in significant ways. Outwardly, she is tight and controlling. She use to carry a tiny poddle around but never let the kids pet it at Christmas gatherings. I never got to pet the tiny dog. The dog was skinny and shook a lot. All teacup size with big eyes. There is a metaphor in that dog. You see it right?

She was very dominating to Kermit. And to their son. He still lives with her. He is about 45 years old. It is creepy, this arrangement. The son is in a state of arrested development. Most likely, he will never move out. He will stay a skinny kid. Complete with short sleeve dress shirt and tie. Going on vacations with his Mom to Las Vegas. Creepy . . .

But again, on the outside, she was very dominating and kind of nuts. I got a big peak into her insides as the funeral was being planned. Holy Good Lord, she is the most bitter person I have every heard speaking. She has catalogued all the things our family has all done wrong to her. All of our trespasses. She has gigantic lists of wrongs, of ugly acts committed onto her. It is all very detailed, all spoken with frothy venom. She must have pie charts.

The version of events, her version, is partly based in reality. At least somewhat. The years have added spiteful detail. But, she has some personal responsibility in this too. Either way, this death has unearthed a lot of postmortem scuttlebutt.
Which brings me to me.

Wait for it . . . .

Keep waiting . . .

Ok, almost there?

And go!

I came into my marriage, into my husband's life, encountering his closed family system. I separated him from that system and was not welcomed. I did not help myself by being especially gracious. I was simply being myself. And I wonder now, now that things are 65% healed, if it would have made any difference. If I would have been golden, gracious and warm 100% of the time, would we have had more of his family at the wedding?

If I would have put my pride below the needs of him and his family, would it still be so strained? Because, when I think it over, my pride, and perhaps my nutz and demanding tendencies was just me, learning how to be a real girlfriend. Learning how to be stable in a relationship. Learning how to give and recieve proper, warm and stable love.

Love that acts as a greenhouse from which our rainforest still grows.

I face this though. These bits of bitterness when I see them at gatherings. I still feel bitter about how I wasn't welcomed and squished with love by his family. And here it is. Just the bits. And with this death in the family, with hearing that wife's words, I hear a warning. I am letting go of the bits.

And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
Lord Hear my prayer.

3 Left a message at the beep:

James said...

I sympathise. That's good if you can let go, forgive and forget. Especially if they have now grown to be fond of you and probably regret the way they acted.
Laundry Fairy was also not welcomed straight away into my family. We were not quite disfunctional just very British and reserved and never spoke about feelings and stuff. They had never met anybody Indian before and were full of preconceptions.
It would have been nice if they could have just accepted her right off for my sake.

Antler said...

There have been really extreme energies happening this week...emotional baggage been laundered left right and centre.....tears flowing from all kinds of long gone waters...
Hmm - must be something in the stars.
I wonder.....

Holly Hall said...

James: It looks like the British haven't cornered the market on being closed off emotionally. Well, I hope things have healed a little. :)

Antler: It must be the season for emotional flowage. Well, that's what makes the blog reading fun right?


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