it's what i'm left with after a brief e-mail exchange with my mother, who'd just returned from a lovely vacation to a mailbox that, among the junk mail and monthly statements, contained a seemingly innocent envelope. inside was an invitation to a party, a celebration of a marriage that had managed to withstand the test of time - fifty years' worth. and the guests of honor?
her aunt and chester. yup. him.
i felt a ridiculously irrational pang as i questioned the timing of the mailing, looked at the calendar, and realized that i had received no such invitation. unreasonable because, well, what on earth would make me believe that i would be included in such a gathering? despite the fact that i'd been the victim, i felt shunned, an outsider, someone of no consequence. mom was just as shocked and disgusted as i was. and still am. and for both of us, that envelope reopened an awful wound that we'd both hoped had scabbed over months ago.
i've run into this aunt once or twice in the year-plus since dropping the [apparently insignificant] bombshell on her (and the rest of the family). and you've read about the couple of run-ins i've had with other folks who were a part of the ugliness that went down. the betrayal i feel stems from the fact that my family - the ones who were so supportive and seemingly shocked and disgusted by what they'd learned - continues to include these people in their lives and seems to have simply forgotten all of what happened.
now, i know you're thinking, "well, what, does she expect them to just cut family out of their lives?" and i guess maybe that does sound pretty crazy and absurd on my part. but i can't forget how it felt to endure their questions, stammering out responses, forced to recall memories i'd tried so hard to forget of that summer so long ago. i think of how sympathetic and shocked and outraged they all were, and how i'd felt so close to them for the first time in a very long time. the same folks who were at the bean's birthday bash only two weeks ago, a few of them present at FSIL's bridal shower just last week. i have such a knot in my stomach at this moment as i think about it.
i've felt this way for a while now, knowing that they all (well, nearly all - at least one member is still sticking to her guns and avoiding them at all costs) still welcome each other into their homes. seeing or hearing of their presence at various family gatherings. i just feel like coming out and laying my long-buried shame and pain out for all to see and pick apart and question and cast doubt upon was for nothing. nothing!
then i hear that they're not only attending this farce of a blowout, but getting together to honor the couple with some sort of surprise. as if nothing had happened. granted, i don't actually know the specifics - maybe they felt trapped and felt that they couldn't decline, or perhaps they really just feel that enough time has passed and support for those other folks is warranted. who knows? it's obviously much easier to forgive and forget when one is not directly affected by something that [my mother and] i felt was such a huge revelation.
either way, it hurts.
dammit all to hell.
I'm so sorry, Wan. I can't believe that they'd want to honor him after learning what he'd done. I'm fuming along with you.ReplyDelete
I hate Chester.ReplyDelete
This is just horrible. I'm truly sorry you're going through this.ReplyDelete
Hugs and a High Five to you for being the better person through all this.ReplyDelete
i am so sorry you are going through this. i too have a large family and wonder if it were me in your situation things would be different... i think not.ReplyDelete
i have no words other than that, i wish i can give you a great big HUG!ReplyDelete
all i can say is, if someone in my own family confided in me that they were abused by another member of the family, they wouldn't have to ask me to avoid the abuser because i'd cut them out on my own merit.ReplyDelete
I am so sorry you're going through this. I feel angry and sad for you.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry to hear this. Family. You can't live with them and you can't punch them all in the face repeatedly. Big hugs.ReplyDelete
Let's lock your family and my parents in a room together just to see what happens!?! We could take bets!!ReplyDelete
I hate the way some families will sweep shit like this under the rug. This is another example of why I wish we could choose our family the way we choose our friends. Imagine that? Big hugs.ReplyDelete
The problem with what happened between you and Chester is that it affects everyone in your family - not just you. It forces people out of their "bubble worlds" and no two people handle that the same way. It's something you get to live with every day of your life, because you don't have a choice. For others there is a choice. They can choose to live with it on a daily basis. Some people deal with things in that way, by making it a part of who they are. For others, it's easier to deal with ugliness by choosing not to make it a part of them. It's another form of coping. Try to remember that each and everyone of those people loves and supports you - but they may do so in a way that you don't agree with or like.ReplyDelete
I am FIERCLY loyal. Beyond belief, if anyone hurts or upsets my friends I am completely done with them. However, because I'm so loyal I've also noticed that is not the way of the world. Most people hurt others or remain close with people they see hurting others, because it doesn't affect them. I've also learned that all those supporters sometimes take a little longer to come round, but will inevitably be hurt in the same way because people don't change. A bad apple is always going to be a bad apple.
I don't know what to say other than I am completely rage-filled on your behalf. People are pathetic. Why anyone wants to honor someone who not just inflicted harm on a child, but a child within their own family, is completely beyond my understanding.ReplyDelete
Usually lurk, but this issue is close to my heart.ReplyDelete
I'm sure it doesn't help, but I have experienced your EXACT situation, as I had a "chester" myself and when I finally came out with what had happened, my extended family was all up in arms about it, but then continued on with their lives as though nothing was different. Anger both the anger and the betrayal are good emotions. I sometimes feel that I should feel them more, rather than accepting that people are weak and often take the easy route. I want to be angry at them, but I've reached a point where I know he and they are not worth my time.
You are not alone. Hugs.
I am angry and sad along with you. [hugs]ReplyDelete
So sorry Wan..with every family gathering that I put together I always feel torn because of a similar incident. I am one of many others and yet when the crap hit the fan I was alone...I understand...*hugs*ReplyDelete