I just got extremely triggered reading a post about the prospect of someone loosing their husband. It opened up a well of grief that is always inside me, just covered over at times. I had a vision too, as I contemplated how alone I have been for the past 5 years with no special man in my life, of a photograph taken at my brother’s wedding where I was flower girl with my hand in my father’s hand, I look so uncomfortable, out of place, scared and lost. I showed it to my therapist a year or so ago and she often mentions it. Although my father was a distant presence and not that emotionally available, there was some kind of connection and reading that post just made me cry. I don’t know if I will ever be loved again like that by any man and I feel such a lot of sadness that connection with my nephews is often so rare. The last time I called the nephew I feel closest to he didn’t even bother to return my call. I could brush it off, but it hurt never the less.
Whenever I mention it to my Mum she tells me not to have hard feelings, that he is busy and struggles. I don’t dislike him for not calling back, I just feel sad about it. All kinds of things run through my mind as to why he may not want to have contact. Add to all of this that his older brother is visiting in two days with his three boys and wife, this is the nephew who has more to do with my mother and my sister than with me. The last time we spoke he told me he had been listening to a programme on childhood trauma and he said “I don’t have any memories of when I was young, and that is apparently a sign of trauma”, he was about 10 when his Mum had the cerebral bleed and then got very damaged not only by that but by her husband’s eventual abandonment. I sent him some photos and he never acknowledged them. This nephew was the one who stayed close to his Dad and was quite angry and aggressive to my sister at times. I can never really know what went on in those dark days before my sister was sent back with a one way ticket by his father, but I ache over it for her, for our family and for her sons.
I wondered yesterday if some of my anxiety this week is about this visit. Part of me doesn’t want to have to see my nephew and his family and have old wounds retriggered. He is the most defensive, at my sister’s funeral I hugged him as the hearse pulled away from the church and a single tear fell from his eye to the pavement below. I watched it fall, but his body was armoured, it reminded me of how my ex partner would also cry but in a very held back, armoured way. I know the pain both went through, (no, Deb that is not right, I can only imagine) but its hard to connect from a place of vulnerability for him.
At the same time I have a longing to see his family, but I said to Kat in therapy yesterday I have to be aware I wont get what I hope for. When my sister died his wife told me I shouldn’t grieve or be sad as my sister would not want me to be. It was another slap or door shut in my face on the back of other griefs. I stood up for my pain but I didn’t get comfort, come to think of it most of the tears I have shed I shed alone with no one to hold me. Reading this back I am aware that how they treat me is just a reflection of how they treat their own vulnerability and feelings, by dismissing them!
Anyway I just let the tears fall again this morning. It was a comfort to acknowledge the well of grief that I know will never leave me, not so much for what I lost, but more for what I never could have. It reminds me of the painful emotional reality that so often many of us in our family left behind by partners have had to live in the absence of connection and care. Its acknowledging a deep reality and feeling it,, knowing its a karma or circumstance I cannot change (or at least not before now). I share about it here because here I know others will understand. Its all I have at present this computer page and my therapy. That and the brief times that sadness opens up with Mum before it is shut down again with things she says to push the pain and grief to the sidelines.
And as I write this I am aware how much harder it is to let go or get over something we cannot or are not allowed to fully feel or acknowledge the emotional truth of. There is not one single platitude that can full the vacancy left by honest empathy, acknowledgement and presence.