It’s the weekend just before surgery. I needed to get away and I also recognized that my best friend needed kidnapping. My Mom really wanted to come visit my Aunt here in Philadelphia. So here we are.
My Aunt’s birthday was today and the anniversary of my Uncle’s death was just days ago. This is my Aunt by marriage. She was married to my Mom’s brother.
My Uncle that attempted suicide 4 years ago.
While he survived initially, the effect on his body was too great for him to survive. He passed a couple weeks later. It was a very difficult thing for our family and somewhere along the way, certain members of my mother’s family, arrived at the conclusion that my Aunt had somehow caused his death. Having been the first ones to arrive in the ICU and myself being the one who stayed that first night with her, my mother, father and I will NEVER believe that. Never.
And really, even if she had contributed in some way to his depression that’s not how depression works. Depression is a lying bastard. I also feel strongly in my heart that my Uncle would be seriously pissed off to know that any member of his family had an ill word to say about her, much less turn their backs on her two girls and his only granddaughter that he did a lot of raising. No, that’s a fact. Even though she has since remarried, it’s painfully obvious that she loves him still and I have no doubt that he would want nothing but happiness for all of them.
Given everything hanging over everyone right now it was quite relieving that our first night was spent shedding many tears, sharing memories, looking at old pictures and just generally being grateful for good company. Today was also the anniversary of my best friend’s son passing. Our ride here was spent reliving that nightmare. It’s heavy on our minds and heart. The one responsible for it being released a fee days ago brought back a rawness that wasn’t expected even if the release date was. That we were all together at such a time…it was impactful.
Today was my Aunt’s birthday so we forged ahead with making new memories and trying to have a good time. We all went out sightseeing and marking some items off our bucket lists, like the Mutter Museum, eating a real Philly cheesesteak. It all seemed very fitting. Like when I do most outings with friends and family, Im snapping pictures and sharing them to my Facebook and as we’re all making check-ins I update my newsfeed and see that another cousin, who isn’t here, has posted some words about people having no loyalty to family. She is disgusted. I realize that it is only minutes after my posting the first pictures and that while it is vague, because that’s how people on Facebook roll, it is about me.
At the time, Im standing in line at Geno’s getting a cheesesteak with my best friend while my cousins are across the street at Pat’s doing the same. I tell my best friend, who is dumbfounded, and ask her not to mention it to my cousins. That was in vain since within minutes one of them brings it up to me. Not wanting to get into family politics, I write it off and move on until it occurs to me and my best friend, while we’re alone getting coffee, that if Im disloyal, my parents are being labeled disloyal as well and that’s not cool with me.
My parents are the first ones people run to in our family in a crisis. They are the most loyal people I know and my best friend is kind enough to offer that I have done well by her and many others in the loyalty department, almost to a fault, and that the statement is so far from being true that it can only be more about my cousin herself and not us. She says people often see in others what they recognize in themselves but dont care to admit. I consider it and accept her own truth as my own. But this cousin was someone I always considered myself closest to. We grew up together as children and navigated adolescence together. My parents have done a lot for her, her brother and mother through the years. I just cant make sense of such an accusation.
I mean, what does loyalty look like exactly? What has she done? Post pictures and sad songs on Facebook about my Uncle on Facebook? Hit my Aunt up for money when the life insurance policy came through? Does she ever attempt to have a relationship with me? No. Who does? My Aunt and cousins here in Philadelphia. I consider that there are much greater things to concern myself with this weekend and unfortunately I’m not really losing anything.
I could make excuses for her and why she has this view. She has told me herself that her mother is the source of many of the ill feelings and ideas about my Aunt in my family. But my cousin has also complained about her mother’s irrational behavior, her words not mine, and out of loyalty Ive never shared that with anyone. So why this and why now?
I already know that if I attempt to talk to her about it she will hide. She will likely block me from contacting her because that what she does. She’ll probably prevent my kids from having contact with her kids because she’s always been vindictive to the wrong people when she’s angry.
But what can I do? ((sigh))
All I know is that love is always the answer for pain. Love outlives us all. I haven’t felt the love from her in a very long time despite reaching out. But in reaching out in love to my family here it’s not only be reciprocated, it’s been multiplied and it’s honored my Uncle’s life and love. Sure, I could hide, choose a side, not expose the wound or experience this pain but I choose love. I’ll always choose love.