December 18th 08
I was just bending over the kitchen sink crying. Sobbing. I don’t want to turn on the radio and listen to cheery Christmas music, or go into stores and watch everybody spending money on gifts and stuff for the special foods they make every year. This year, the thought of opening the beautiful decorations I store in a box for 11 months, looking forward to hearing you say how much you like the bubble lights, and watch everyone say things like “Oooh! the surfer girl, Grandpa gave me that one when I was in college,” or “the crystal icicles are my favorite,” or “remember when Grandma Wilkin gave me the one of the graduate in cap and gown?” All of this makes me very very sad. And mad!
I was sad, really sad this morning, reading the newspaper today. I wanted to buy tickets for you for the dance performance of The Velveteen Rabbit, instead of the Nutcracker this year. “Thank you Grandma I can hear you say, I loved the sugar plum fairy and all the ballerinas last year, but that show was soooo long!” I want to be buying a tiny tree you could string popcorn for, and to have you help me cook the turkey dinner. It’s your voice I want to hear asking me to make a favorite recipe of mine, like the pink molded cranberry salad Uncle Ted loved and always helped whip the cream for.
But most of all I was crying because your mother (I want to curse her soul at the moment, but even in this ‘to be said and never sent’ letter, I find myself unable to be too ‘mean.’
But your fucking mother (there: that felt good! at least I got out a nasty word) had the audacity (meaning the balls! the not-good sense), to send me her ‘Family Sending You Holiday Hugs Card,’ with no return address on it! All that was inside the envelope was a picture of the five of you. Five, wow! I see you have a new baby brother or sister. Maybe that’s all your mom wanted to tell me, to show me, but Jesus! What a way to do it!
Your mother doesn’t have a clue what it feels like (!*x#?*!) to be blocked from having the kind of family that actually makes contact with one another, especially at holidays! There are many many traditions that can make special memories in ways only Christmas like no other can, right?
Forgive me, but that woman in all her hormonal breastfeeding miasma must have a really twisted and distorted sense of herself and me to do this! They say what goes around comes around; but I write this in hopes that you my dear Anne have the good sense never to do this to the mother of your children’s children. I don’t want you to even imagine what it would feel like, if someday you or your sister took your own children, her grandchildren, away from her. Took them far far away, leaving no address or way to contact them. And then to send a picture at Christmas time! A picture is supposed to equal a thousand words. Hmmm, I wonder sentences would come out after all this silence and distance! I doubt they would be pretty.
Oh, I do have some things to say about your visible Grandmother from New York. The one you do see a couple of times a year. I’d sure like to tell her and your biological father’s parents, my version of the truth about your mom. They are the grandparents you do see sometimes, who I’m sure have already sent you a bunch of cool presents to be opened under the tree. But I am going to spare you the negative energy by writing these words, but then burning them. Really. I will put them in a bowl outside and light the paper on fire, and watching the words disintegrate and turn into ash and blow away. To be forgotten, I wish!
Merry Christmas. Take a look at this picture of the way Larry and I put the lights on our houseplants. With no children around we’ve stopped decorating a tree.
Fuck! Shit! Piss! This hurts!
Please, please Anne, may you grow up with the good sense to communicate the truth clearly to everyone you deal with, and not get caught up in a bunch of distorted lies.
Your mother says she doesn’t like my intensity, but I think what she’s really afraid of is that I actually do work stuff out with people. When I’m troubled, I get help, and then try to communicate and resolve differences with people, so that hurts don’t remain. It takes time and I usually can forgive people and let go of the bad things they did, and not see them as bad people inside. Which is what I am doing mentally with your mother, but mea culpa it isn’t easy! And it hurts.
Christmases Hurts for me.
May yours be memorably merry!
I love you!
Your invisible grandma. PAT
P.S. Bah. Humbug! Enough of this. Being grateful for where I am and what I do have helps me to forget what I don’t. I’m going to drive to the gym in the 65 degree sunshine this 18th of December, and work out to some rock n’ roll.
I will not wallow in this.
I will not wallow in this.
5 responses to “Christmas Hurts!”
Thank you … I will try to locate this book, have read most all on forgiveness, and it’s a lifelong inside job. Even as a grand-ma to be you might enjoy the workshop I’m giving on Invisible Grandparenting in PG on Sept 15th.
WHAT: INVISIBLE GRANDPARENTING:
Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be there or Not
WHEN: 1:00-4:00 p.m
WHERE: Little House in the Park – Central @ Forest – Pacific Grove
WHY: Grandparenting is about expressing love and passing on values, family history and support between the generations. In our global culture with its rising divorce Writing letters, even if you have to imagine a child to contact, some to be Shared and Saved (SS), and others to be ‘Said but Never Sent’ (SNS) can be therapeutic. Brainstorming rates, an uncountable number of us are “Invisible Grandparents”. Some of us once may have played a role in a child’s life but don’t now, or we may not get to see grandchildren as often as we’d like. Many of us may not even know the whereabouts or the name of a grandchild.
Whether we realize it or not, we are all invisible grandparents. Let’s face it, most of us will outlive the age and stage our grandchildren might want to delve into who their ancestors were, what they were like, or the gifts their elders left for them by genetic heritage, actual contributions to the world, or actions they might have taken.
HOW: Using tools aimed at setting positive intention for young ones, releasing negative energy and transforming it to forgiveness, we will create a safe space where we will learn healthy ways to deal with separation and support the futures of all grandchildren. Discover the many ways we can pass on to young ones what as elders “we’ve come to know” and set in motion our intentions for them.
WHO: Pat Hanson, Ph.D. 67, has two grandchildren that she has been kept from seeing. She is a veteran health educator, public speaker, workshop leader and writer who has been on the faculty at CSUMB and MPC. She is a columnist for a new magazine: Crone: Women Coming of Age.
Information: Pat Hanson: 831-601-9195 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Fee: $20 (or barter, no one will be turned away)
Forgiveness is a lifelong task … take little steps and turn your mind to the next best positive thing, the color of the plants nearby, and distract yourself when anger and vengence come up, cause the world doesn’t need any more vibrations of negativity. That’s why I don’t read the newspapers cover to cover, tho’ they did handle this story about me pretty well. See you in my Sept 15th workshop in PG?
Hi Pat! We are in CCW together but I have yet to find you at a meeting. (I don’t go to many of them, however). I truly enjoy your blog which is written with such honesty and courage. As a grandparent-to-be (around this upcoming Xmas), I found this particular post very touching. I do hope you can reconcile with your daughter before this Xmas comes along. Just came across a book by Janis Abrams Spring entitled “How Can I Forgive You?” and hope to read it before long. If you read it, please let me know your opinion!
Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for your honesty!
I should probably learn from you.. ’cause I usually end up sending the f**king letter!
I write the pissy one first, in hopes it will do the trick? But, for some reason,
In my world unless I actually confront the person, it does nothing.. it doesn’t release it.
Again, I applaud your honesty.. and especially appreciate how well it’s written. ox C.
Fuck, piss shit! I feel your pain. I think I am learning some coping skills from you, which I sorely need. I hope your granddaughter gets to read your letters someday.