Friday, February 6, 2015

An Era of Threads Part 5

Grandma Edna married again. In a new house with a new husband she thrived. A wedding reception at her house contained everyone. All within a safe distance of each other. After she again voiced displeasure to Dad about the boundary that existed.
She wanted her family around her on her terms.
Months later she turned her plea to a Sister. During her usual brag about Aunt and Uncle’s accomplishments. Her pride in their kids overflowed. She turned to Sister3 and asked again:
“Why can’t you just get over it?”
Upon hearing that, my resolve was set. I would not go up to visit her. I could not trust myself if Grandma ever asked me that question. My response would not be an honoring one. Grandma taught me well of independence and fierceness.
Photo taken by clarita
After a few years on their own, it was time for Grandma Edna and her husband to move into an Assisted Living situation. It worked for them well. Game nights, dining halls, and constantly surrounded by people to talk to made her happy. Still the person in the middle of a party.
Dad helped in her process of downsizing. He asked if I would like to go. After much thought I went. It was time not only to forgive, but reclaim a bit of myself. To move beyond the fear and begin to bravely exist.
We spent the day with her. My mind ready for the uncomfortable topic. I prayed for grace in my answers. Grandma Edna gave me the usual updates about Uncle, Aunt, Cousins and their kids. Accomplishments and accolades liberally described. I, my usual quiet self, listened. The anxiety ever present about the situation, I felt at peace with her. My heart resolved that this would be our Goodbye. It was a good day.
The curve all came when Grandma Edna then suggested go to Uncle and Aunt’s house to collect things meant for my sisters and their kids. 
My heart braced.
I began to think about it.
Not only did I come to her town and know that I existed in peace. Not only did I need to have a day where our strength met dignity and respect.
 I needed to allow my brain to heal as well.
 I sat in Uncle’s house still on the outside while my PTSD rattled brain ran through scenarios.   My breath measured but shallow. The knot in the pit of stomach settled. I listened as Uncle and Aunt talked about life and their transitions. Dad shared a few stories and laughter happened. I talked about my kids a bit. While I carefully controlled my exterior, my interior continued its’ inventory.
Uncle wasn’t a very big man.
Aunt looked just like Grandma.
I was an adult just like them.
Then a blanket of security wrapped around my heart. He will never be able to hurt me again. I am safe. I can leave all of the memories, feelings and hurt right there on the couch. It didn’t need to come home with me. I had permission to be done with all.
My thoughts calmed. The ball in my stomach relaxed. I was able to breathe deep.
The drive home with Dad was pleasant. We discussed the miracles of the day. What our family was like before the Big Thing. How much we laughed then. I told him about my boundaries. I felt at peace with all of them. It would be my last trip there. My gratitude expressed, we spoke our goodnights as he dropped me off.

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