My maternal grandmother passed away today. She was in her nineties, missing her husband of 60+ years who died in 2007. Her health had been failing for the past year or two, so it came as no real surprise when my mother Facebooked me Tuesday to tell me she wasn’t going to make it much longer.
What has shocked me is the amount of pain I feel losing a woman I haven’t seen more than a handful of times in the last 30 years.
My parents split when I was 11 or 12. Up until that point, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents on both sides, as they were close friends even before their children married. Being the late 80’s, children were divvied up like property when a divorce occurred, so I was handed over to my father and his parents and my younger sister was given to my mother and hers. Some manipulation on the part of my father and paternal grandmother made it difficult for me to spend time with my mother and her family (another time, another post) and eventually she just gave up and moved on with her life. A life that didn’t include me. When I was 15, my paternal grandparents decided to move me three states away, and that truly sealed the deal on ever being close to that side of my family. There was an awkward visit around my high school graduation, and an even more awkward display of “new grandmother” when the first of my four children were born. To this day, an occasional phone call when one of us remembers that it has been months since the last one is all that we can seem to muster.
So, why such a negative reaction to Gram’s death?
I have decided that what I mourn is not the loss of the woman, but all the time that was lost that can never be regained. Time that belonged to not only her, but also my mother and sister and cousins and uncles that up until the divorce I was so very close to.
Things like Facebook have made it easier to propagate those psuedo-connections with family that live too far away to connect in person. But there is no real connection there.
So, I am here, blogging for the first time, because frankly I have no one else to explain these feelings to without having to take their own feelings of loss into account. And that is just too fragile right now.
In a quest to save them all more pain, My Digital Therapist was born. I am too broke to hire a live one, so I am hoping getting it all out somewhere will help me sort through the feelings of not only this situation, but the myriad of others that occur on a daily basis.