Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is everyone's family so full of drama?

Dad and I are talking again. I don't expect it's permanent. We weren't speaking to each other for about three months. So, what happened? Grandma Eveline died.

I got the call early in the morning to go to the hospital, although it was already too late for Grandma. Dwayne and Doug picked me up, leaving John and the kids at home so they could sleep. We went, hugged my mom - hugging my dad was awkward. He was in between me and my mom, so I felt annoyed by that. He suggested that we all head to my parents' place for tea, and we talked for a bit. Without discussing it, Dwayne and I divvied up the responsibilities and took on as much as we could to spare my mom from having to deal with it.

During that morning tea, my dad brought up our conflict for the last time. We were at the exact same place, as people tend to be after nothing has been discussed or resolved. It became heated, because the solution was obviously that my dad needed to stop criticizing and accept some limitations in our relationship. I almost had to leave, but I stayed, and my dad shut up, and things have been better ever since.

John is very skeptical of this peace, because he suspects that my dad will get comfortable with me again later, and start berating me again. I'm on guard for it, and I think I'll be able to handle it.

John is also skeptical because Grandma's death has raised a much more powerful conflict back to the fore in my dad's life. Grandma had two children, my mom and my uncle. From early in my uncle's marriage, there has been a rift between him and Grandma Eveline. My uncle refused to so much as visit Eveline, even when she traveled quite a distance as a tourist in their region.
It was so bad that when Eveline planned to move closer to my parents (and me) to be close to family during her last years, he called her and begged her not to do it. He was afraid that if she moved close to my parents, then my other Grandma, Anne, who currently lives with my parents, would be forced to move in with them. He would have preferred her to die alone at a great distance, where no one could have spent time with her, or helped or comforted her.

Grandma Eveline was a forgiving person, and she did love my uncle to the end. However, she recognized how much my parents had done for her in helping her relocate, buy a house, get medical care, and all the rest. She re-wrote her will making me executor, and making my mom sole beneficiary. My Uncle, who would never speak to my Grandmother, had no idea that this had happened - although I'm not sure how surprised or upset he could really have been.


  1. Wow. This is a heartbreaking situation, and I hope you can find some peace in it soon. For what it is worth, I think you are doing exactly what you need to do for you and your husband and kids. It sounds like your father has some level of narcissistic personality disorder, and I'm not sure you can get him to see what an ass he's being. Just keep nurturing your other relationships - it may be all you can do.

  2. Thank you Velma. I appreciate your support. It's really hard to deal with it in real life, because of course people are complex, but it helps to write about it here, to see things more objectively. I'm DEFINITELY focusing on my own nuclear family - all wonderful people in my life!