Split Family Gatherings


A couple of weeks ago my oldest granddaughter was baptized and my youngest granddaughter was blessed.  Both were done by their Granddad.  My ex-husband.  For me it was bitter-sweet.  This is the first function we were able to attend at the same time.

The Memories

When were married and our children were young we talked about our children growing up.  What would they be like as adults?  What kind of people would they marry?  What fun things we would love to do as grandparents and as a family?  We looked forward to this time in our lives.  Then, one day, we were no longer together.  It no longer matters why, but the hurt has not gone away.

When you love someone with your whole being you cannot just stop loving them.  That doesn’t mean that you like them or even want them around.  It has become a deep, hollow ache that I wish would go away.  It doesn’t.  I tried being angry, it didn’t work.  I tried hate, it didn’t work.  I tried sarcasm, it didn’t work.  I tried self-deception, it didn’t work.  No matter what I tried, it hasn’t changed my heart.

The Reality

It doesn’t help that his presence is the one emotional trigger that I have not been able to get a handle on.  Even after two decades I just don’t feel safe around him. The emotional and psychological backlash puts me in a tailspin every time.  Pots and the twins get away from me and run rampant.

Even though we didn’t talk or even occupy the same part of the room by the end of the event I was having the 1st panic attack I’ve had in almost two years.  It took two pieces of chocolate, chocolate cake just to make it home.  There would have been more, but that was the last of what was cut.  I was just glad that I didn’t have to try to drive.  I was pretty much nonfunctional for the next two days.

Calvin Horror FacesThere is one thing that really makes me giggle.  We did stand in the same picture, though on opposite sides of the group.  The comments of my out-of-state children were most delightful.  Something about the end of the world, the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and some words that I don’t use.

The Result

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been really struggling.  I am dealing with constant anxiety attacks and headaches.  I had another panic attack last weekend.  I have a deep desire to just run away from home and not tell anyone where I’m going.  Unfortunately, just leaving the house causes me more anxiety.

The Future

I know that this is going to become a regular occurrence.  Us being in the same place.  We do have five children together and seven grandchildren.  I also know that my reaction may not change no matter how many times we attend the same events.  Some hurts, while forgiven, don’t always heal completely.  It makes me sad and angry at the same time.

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