I live in a land far, far away from my family. I have to admit that I have chosen to do so for various reasons and most of the time I feel it was the right choice. I have never felt like I was truly part of my own family.
I'm talking about the close family, my parents and my older brother, and not the extended family. Two of my grandparents were great people.
My paternal grandfather was a giant of a man who used to let me sit on his lap while he told me stories of his childhood and times past. He took the time and he had such patience.
My maternal grandmother was an awesome woman who had a heart the size of Australia. Of that I'm convinced. She had so much love to give and she had so much compassion.
My mother was born out of wedlock.
One day in my mid teens we received a phone call, which I answered, and we were told that my mother had three half brothers. They shared the same father. Suddenly I had a lot more cousins and there was this other part of the family that we had never known existed. Correspondence and meetings ensued and inevitably I guess the time came for when the opportunity for my mother to meet her father was arranged by her brothers. He had agreed. My parents were in that neck of the woods and when my mum was told she wanted to go immediately.
My father put my mother in the car and they drove back to their caravan, went for a long walk in the woods and they returned to my uncles with my father telling them that my mother was in a too fragile emotional state to meet her father. The whole plan failed spectacularly and my mother and her father never met.
One of my uncles sent a letter to my grandmother, they were in contact and my grandmother had welcomed my new uncles into the family as though they were long lost children, asking her if she could explain what was going on. My grandmother must have told my mother, I think in an attempt to make my mother see that it would be a good thing for her to meet her father, and my mother told my father and all hell broke lose. My grandmother was forbidden to speak with any of my uncles ever again and they with her.
I think I posted about how my parents wouldn't do our traditional Christmas phone call this year and how much it disappointed me. I think I also posted about how I commented on an article in a Swedish newspaper and suddenly got inundated with Facebook requests from cousins from "that side". I also got an e-mail from one of my uncles.
Now I remember all that stuff with the planned meeting and the banning my grandmother from talking to "them" even though it's decades ago now. For decades these people have kept separate. For decades I have wondered what my grandfather looks like, if he's still alive and how they are, what they do and if they ever wonder about us.
Apparently they do.
I'm now the only one who's in contact with these people and I'm only in contact with one third plus on of the family. They are warm and friendly and they are keen to know what happened to us. The cousins are sweet and although we're only on Facebook they seem to keep track of me with some sort of genuine extended family love.
I'm the traitor. I'm the one who is striking up conversation with these people against my parents' will and I don't know if it's just this uncle in particular or all of them that were cut out of my mother's life suddenly. I have a faint memory of there being contact with one of the other uncles and me being on contact with the third one after I moved to Australia.
This is a mess.
My instinct tells me to get all this is to find out as much as I can from all parties involved and get it all out in the open for all to see. This is a wound that's festering and there's hurt all around. People have done the wrong thing perhaps not because they are evil or mean but because they thought they were protecting theirs or others' interests. I, as a person, would like to know more because I'm no longer a teenager who can be told to stop asking questions because I wouldn't understand. I'm adult and I know a thing or two now.
I think I have rights here. The man who fathered my mother is the reason I have such high cheekbones. There are people out there who genuinely want to know what happened to the rest their family because they're still family focused. There's a man who would like nothing more than to have the sister he's known about for decades in his life because he misses her and he's hurt because he never really got the chance to get to know her.
I have no plan except maybe that I need to hatch one and to hatch one I need to know more, so much more. I don't want to hide away anymore and pretend all this didn't happened.
Maybe most of all I don't want to hide away and pretend that my father, who is now a lot more supportive of me than my mother, was not a controlling and demanding man. He is the reason I married the kind of men I did. I hold no malice towards him. I just understand now why I am the why I am.
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