Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not Sure How to Feel

Have you ever experienced that?

Yesterday an elderly family member passed away.  She was a child of the Depression and had some very tough experiences as a little girl due to that, and it affected her whole life.

Someone summed it up like this, "she lived exactly as she wanted to and died the way we'd all like to."  Still in her home, in her bed, in her sleep.

Her living exactly as she wanted had the unfortunate effect of making some of her grandchildren feel judged and lesser in the judging.  In other words, she had favorites, and if you weren't the favorites, you knew it.  She could be very generous, but there was always a price, which was to go along with her way.

As she aged, and became more fearful, she was less and less pleasant to be around.  So the less-favored grandchildren stopped wanting to be around her.

Fortunately, we had a family dinner last week to celebrate September birthdays and it was one of her good days.  She was pleasant and kind, and the birthday presents she gave showed real thoughtfulness. Maybe she knew, maybe not.  But those who had experienced her bad days were given one last memory that was positive -- so I think that was God being kind to them.

Still, those grandchildren are struggling with how to feel.  The favored ones are truly grieving.  They had a close, loving relationship with her, and are very sad that she's gone. The others say things like, "I'm supposed to be sad because it's my grandmother, but I'm not really."   They're a little bit sad that the situation never changed, and they're sad for their dad -- who even though he was often on the end of the same type of treatment, is still sad because it was his mother.

Families are so complex, aren't they?  I look upon this as yet again, an opportunity to ask myself, "when it's my time, will anyone be sad?  And if not, don't I need to do something about that now?"

I've been a bad blogger lately -- too busy and, as I approach the big 50 next week, doing some evaluating of priorities.  This death is just sharpening my need to ensure that I choose a different path.  Daily, hourly, consistently.


sara said...

wow, I could relate to this post..that was my grandmother and i was not on the favored end. only hers was not related to the environment she was raised in but because she lost her one and only baby girl....I was named for that baby. Something my father thought would help bridge a gap between them....only it did the opposite. I really struggled with my feelings when she died. But was so grateful for my relationship with Christ that allowed me in my adult years to see past her hurtful words and love her thru Him.

Robin said...

Sometimes all you can do is try to dredge up compassion for the circumstances that made someone that way, and then try not to let it cause you hurt. I wish all your family peace as they all come to terms with this loss in their own way.

And yes, it's always good to take a moment to reflect on how your own live affects others - in your case in a lovely, happy, celebratory way, especially with that birthday coming up!

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The Bug said...

It really is tought when society says that you should feel one way & you just don't. I think in that case it's good to step back, look at the whole picture, and find the nuggets of good there. At least that works for me - helps me to feel less guilty.

I've been thinking about you a lot lately - hope you are doing well.