My curser turned to your page as my day began to start
like a slap, you shared words with me that tore my heart apart
let me tell you now that they were words I didn’t need
You sent them anyway – knowing just where it was, I’d read…
You wanted to bring me into your own little world of pain.
My world is far from perfect, you just added to it’s stains.
I wonder what you wanted for me to do or to say?
Was it your intention to just blow my day away?
I know that misery loves company so you invited me
without ever considering the place that I might also – be.
Your feeling angry now, so you wanted me to feel it too
Funny, but what you just did to me… I’d never do to you!
Diane Reed ’13
Several years ago, I went to visit my cousin. She’d needed to work the first couple of days of my visit so I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle until she came to get me. It was a fun time to catch up with my Aunt. She was such a wonderful woman! She loved to laugh and I loved to make her laugh and we did that a lot during that last visit. She was a wonderful artist and could make patterns up out of her head! She painted and sewed and made apple dolls and hand carved their faces with expressions that brought them alive! She loved her pets and little kids and elderly people and I loved her with an admiration that I don’t give out freely.
It was a great visit except that my Aunt had built up a lot of resentments over the years which I think ultimately, made her physically sick and in the end part of her demise. I am pretty sure that she died too young and with that resentment still in her heart. Though she was amazing, she just could not let go of things she felt had been wrongly done to her and she shared some of those things with me. She shared some mistakes she feels that my grandma made and I have to admit that they were rather shocking. Though I am not sure how much was amplified in her mind as the years went by, I do believe my Aunt for the most part. Finally when my cousin came to pick me up, she asked me how my visit with her mom had been and I asked her if she knew the stuff her mom had told me about grandma.
I think it was in that moment, I saw my cousin as not only an adult but one of the wisest people I know, and still feel that today. She held up her hand and said to me “Diane my mom tried to tell me bad stuff about grandma for years and I never let her because grandma was an amazing grandma to me, and I’ve told her that I am sorry if she had a different experience but I refuse to let her ruin my memory of her.” And then she said, “I am sorry you let her tell you.” Well, I am too. But I was kind of caught of guard. My Aunt did not ask me if I wanted to hear any of it, she just told me. And I am not sure if I would have known how to tell my Aunt I didn’t want to hear something I didn’t know she was going to say but it made me really respect my cousin. Because after all, my grandma took my Aunt and her kids in when they had no place to go and took care of and loved my cousin and her brother and my cousin recognized and remembered that.
I am sure that my Aunt was never really in a place where she ever recognized all that her mom did for her. She was already filled with such resentment by then but my grandma loved her kids with all her heart and so in turn her theory of my grandma hating her seemed ridiculous to me because I don’t think she would just love some stranger’s kids in the same way. She could have just sent my Aunt and her kids away but she didn’t.
I am sure my Aunt had a different experience with her mom than we did as a grandma because we treated our grandma like our hero. She was my soft place to fall until the day she died. I loved her and the wonderful memories she made for all of us. When I’d come to visit, I’d remember waking up to hearing my Aunt yelling at my grandma and my grandma probably yelling back at my Aunt. It’s not that hard to see that you reap what you sow in that situation but I am still sorry that my Aunt missed all the great stuff we loved in her mom.
I guess the point of my story is… I could have written about the things I learned about on that visit… The stories my aunt told me about my grandma…etc… But at the chance of my cousin reading this, I never will. I will protect my cousin from the stories she does not want to know or ever need to know. Recently, I’ve been given unsolicited information that I never wanted to know. In the past, I’d made it crystal clear that I didn’t want to hear about it. I’m not really sure what part of “Please don’t talk about this to me” was not clear enough but it was SENT to me in way of text without warning…. how shady is that? The highest form of manipulation is still going ahead and sharing something that was uninvited with an innocent bystander because you are angry with someone else and need to vent. And they wonder why we aren’t that close anymore.
I guess the operative word here would be…. Duuuuhhh!