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.