Family, chosen and otherwise

My grandfather passed in his sleep the night before last.  As complicated as our relationship was, I still felt close to him.  Even when I couldn’t share 85% of my life and the things and people I cared about with him, he was still someone I loved very much.

When I was a kid, I was always the favorite.  I was the first blood grandchild that they had.  I was the one that they took on vacation every summer, the one they fawned over, etc.  And when I became a teenager and started thinking for myself, that’s when the trouble began. 

I’ve always been independent.  I’ve always followed my own path instead of walking one that someone would set before me.  I’ve never needed anyone’s advice on how to handle things, I’ve made my own decisions and accepted my own consequences.  For my control-freak family, that’s always been a problem.  Through it all, I’ve never asked anyone to help me out of my own messes.  I’ve learned from them, become stronger (and stronger and stronger), and moved on.

I’ve also had various hair colors, tattoos, non-traditional relationships, non-traditional spirituality, and very little in the way of financial success.  But I’ve always, ALWAYS, been true to myself.  My life path sometimes seems like a sucking, treacherous rut in deep mud, but it’s MINE, and I do the best that I can with it.

****************************

One of the things that I’ve learned is very important to me, is the concept of ‘chosen family’.  I’m very, very particular about the people I surround myself with, especially with all the death and upheaval over the past 3 years.  (Bear with me, I know I harp on this a lot, but it really is a major influence in my life, and something I’m trying really hard to work through.  8 deaths of people close to me in 3 years really DOES mean that I get to whine about it a little.) 

So yesterday, I got the call about Papa at about 8:30.  I was at work, and was already hurting quite a bit because I’d only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night before.  I was tearing tags, prepared to be miserable and hurty for the next 5 days that I was on.  When Mom called, she lost it on the phone.  I tried to be supportive and calm, while processing the news myself.  I was at work, after all, and customers were coming in throughout the entire conversation.

So when I hung up with Mom, I stared at the phone for a full 5 minutes, trying to make sure I was calm enough to call my manager to let him know what was going on.  I wasn’t.  Of course I wasn’t.  Even after 5 minutes, I ended up crying on the phone with him, at which point he came out of the office and took over for me while I went back to the bathroom and lost my shit.

I began trying to call Bear and J, and they were both dead asleep.  I texted, called, etc.  Eventually, J called me back and rushed to come take over the last 3 hours of my shift so I could go be with my family.  He was exhausted from the previous 2 days, and I felt terrible asking, but I needed to leave, and he was there in a snap. 

I’d been holding it (mostly) together all morning, until he showed up, and I lost it.  I cried all the way home, called Mom, cried some more, etc.

 

******************  This is where I dropped off.  I was just too tired to write anymore.  The gist is that when I finally went over to my grandmother’s house, she LAYED INTO ME.  She gave me a stream of shit about my tattoos, how much had I spent on them, when was I going to cut down the trees in my backyard, when was I going to pay my property taxes, when was I going to sell all of the things I kept when my other grandmother died, etc. 

Bear started getting pissed, my aunt and uncle looked embarassed for me, and I just wanted to leave.  Those people are toxic to me.  I know that she and my mother and my sister sit around and talk about me, and figure out all the little nuances of my life and how much of a failure I am.  They want to know why I don’t spend time with them?  That’s why.

I need distance from my family.  Family is supposed to love you unconditionally, but that’s not the kind of family I have.  Bear and J love me unconditionally.  My blood family mostly think that I’m worthless.  Fine.  Who needs ’em?

So I’m stuck with this urge to just move.  Out of state.  And maybe not even leave a forwarding number. 

 

*************************  The funeral was last night, and it was short and sweet.  It was actually more of a visitation, and Mom was happy to see that Grandma cried for the first time since Papa passed.  It was nice to see Mom’s cousins that traveled from Md and Fl, and one that lives here but that we never see.  After the visitation, we went back to Grandma’s and had drinks.  Everyone needed that. 

I think everyone behaved towards me because of the out-of-towners.  😀

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