My maternal grandmother took a stroke on the weekend and can’t swallow so is waiting to die from lack of food/drink. She’s got dementia and is in her mid 80s so she has had a long life. She was a terrible mother to her children because she shouldn’t have had kids in the first place as she didn’t like them. But her pedophile husband wanted kids and things went downhill from there. Anyhow, my grandmother brutalized my mother and never supported her when she told her about her father sexually abusing her. Instead the grandmother told my mother to leave home (mom was 17 or 18 then). Mom always told me when I was growing up about how horrible her mother was to her so I never developed loving feelings toward my maternal grandmother. Now grandmother is dying and I feel completely indifferent.
When I found out on Sunday that my grandmother was dying I felt the same indifference. No emotion. Just an acceptance of the fact. Does this mean I am a bad person for having no emotional reaction to the news my grandmother is going to die shortly? If I am totally honest then I must admit I felt relief then worry should there be a funeral where I’ll have to see other family there I never have contact with-or very little anyway. This concern about the funeral possibility ruined my relief over my grandmother dying. Yes, I know that sounds dreadful but it’s a complicated situation.
So what is the proper response to a relative dying you’ve never felt love for? Should I try to “act” a certain way? Or, is it better to simply be honest and not fake what I don’t feel? Either way you see it I can be nothing else but honest because I am sick of false pretenses and facades. My mother’s side of the family is the master of facades and false pretenses which is why I want to deviate from that and be honest! To hell with what they think of me. If they want to see me cry sad tears over my grandmother they’ll be waiting a long time. I cried when my mom died but they weren’t tears of sadness; they were tears of anger, grief and regret. But they never knew that. They still think I miss my mother but it’s been 5 years this month since her death and I never missed her. I only ever felt grief because our relationship had been such a disaster.
Now my grandmother’s lying in a nursing home dying and all I can think about is the phony shit I’ll have to deal with on my mom’s side of the family. They’ll likely not mention the abuse any of us suffered or the negative times that outnumbered the positive. No, that would be too much like authenticity and my mother’s family doesn’t do that. The most authenticity you get is from the ones who won’t come to the funeral (if there’s one) because they still feel bitter from the abuse they suffered as children. The rest act like nothing happened or if something did happen it’s in the past so don’t bring it up.
I’m not able to forget my childhood or whitewash it like my aunts have. Their father was a pedophile but they never talk about it. Maybe that’s normal but I figure it just adds to the shame if you keep it secret or talk only in hushed tones about it.None of that feels very validating to me and I’m not even the one who grew up with the pedophile father and physically/emotionally abusive mother. My own mother sexually abused me but I don’t think she was a pedophile but that is not an argument I want to have today.
Guess I’ll have to wait ’til she dies so I can find out how the rest of the family reacts.