Saturday, February 10, 2018
My great-aunt died tonight.
Or I guess, technically, not MY great-aunt.
She was my dad's aunt, and since my dad is technically my step-dad, and since I have chosen to limit my interaction with him because he's an abusive narcissist, his side of the family has been pretty scarce in my life for a while.
It's probably not a thing, because they were never super involved in our lives in the first place, but it's definitely been noticeable. Christmas cards, funerals and First Communions, basically - that's been our interaction in the last decade or so. I think it actually has more to do with the fact that they don't spend time with him anymore either, because he's a generally miserable human being, and the byproduct has been that they don't spend any time with any of us. Kind of sucks, but what are you going to do?
But back to the great-aunt: She was scarce, but not in a voluntary way. She was 96 years old, and ill, and infirm, and after a fall a few years ago, afraid to leave her house, basically. The house with stairs. So i don't think I've seen her in person in about five plus years.
Which is too bad, because she was a really sweet person.
Always kind to me, no matter what. She wouldn't have given two shits that I choose not to really communicate with her nephew, because her husband was the same kind of guy, and I think she'd have probably cheered, if she'd known that some of us had gotten sick enough of his bullshit not to interact with him anymore. (Of course, there was also the 'what he says goes' element of her personality, so it's probably more 50/50 on which way that could have gone.)
But I kept in touch the only way I really could... through letters and cards. Every new batch of pictures, I'd make a double or two and send them along to Auntie Lucy, with just a "Hey, thinking of you. Thought you might to see how un-little the littles are getting." Something held over from living with Grandmother and watching her wait for the mail, or the phone to ring, or somebody to just pop in. Even at her worst, when she wouldn't actually be so great during the visits, when there weren't any, she'd still be waiting for some.
It was certainly not difficult to drop Auntie Lucy a card every now and then and let her know she wasn't forgotten. I even sent a card to her daughter once, because she was caring for her at home. Because I've been in her position - or something close to it anyways - just saying "hey, I know this sucks. It's so hard, and you're doing great even if it feels like you're messing it all up. I'm around if you ever need to talk." She never called, but I hope it made her feel a little bit less alone. Because that's a lonely, rough road to walk.
So now, I have to figure out about wakes and a funeral. And rearranging any doctor's appointments and whatever else needs to happen this week. And try not to feel bad about not calling my dad to say I'm sorry she's gone.
I am sorry she's gone, and I'm sorry I heard about it on goddamn Facebook first, but I'm not putting myself in a situation where I need to try and comfort him. That's not my job, not anymore.
And that feels shitty, to be honest: To say, I know my dad will be grieving, and I know that I'm not even going to do more than barely acknowledge it. Because he'll be at the wakes and the funeral and everything else, and I'll have to see him and not make a scene, which means say "I'm so sorry," and not immediately run away when he tries to hug me or something.
Boundaries are hard, even at the easiest of times. They're definitely not going to be easy to hold right now, when everybody is hurting. But I'm not opening anything even a centimeter more than I have to.
Because I deserve to be treated like an adult human with feelings, and he is incapable of that, so: boundaries are there to protect us both, honestly. Because as much as I'd like to vent my spleen, it would just wind up hurting the people around us - my sisters and such - so that's just going to stay safely spleened up, and I'm going to nod along and keep the walls strictly in place.
But I'm sad, tonight, because ... she was a nice lady, and she was always kind to me, and I know her daughters must be hurting, and even that he's hurting. All of those things, and the fact that family is a mess, at all times, even the saddest.
Deep breaths and strong boundaries. Goals for the week.