Being estranged from a side of your family means you sometimes don’t hear about events until after they’ve happened. For instance, I woke up Friday morning to read in the paper that my step-grandmother passed away. She was 96. The truth of the matter is that I grieved this loss years ago. When I cut my stepfather out of my life, I knew I was going to have to make some tough choices, and unfortunately I wound up cutting some people out of my life that I didn’t exactly want to be cut. Grammy was a casualty of that, sadly. She was without a doubt the nicest person on any side of my family. In better times, my step-side of the family was more welcoming than my blood-family. But in the end, it became obvious that I was an outsider, and always had been. Frankly, it’s not that shocking to me anymore that nobody approached me to hear me out, even after I did reach out to a family member about the circumstances. 7 years on and I still firmly believe I did the right thing, and so does my wife, who is very pragmatic when it comes to family issues. It’s interesting to me that it appears that nobody else thought so. I’ve never really been close to any family members except my mother, and ironically, my stepfather. Those days are gone and I accept that. I’m ready to move on. It’s hard not to when you’re even erased from the list of survivors.
My Grammy used to have this amazingly soft stuffed cat (not a real one.) Its body was really flat, and it was all white. I keep going back to that cat. It would sit on their bed (my Pappy was still alive at that time) amongst all the pillows. The bedroom was always immaculate, and I wasn’t allowed in it. They would leave the door open, so when we’d visit I would sometimes just stand in the doorway for a few seconds, staring at that cat. Sometimes she would bring it out and let me hold it, but never for very long. I wonder what happened to it.