I haven’t blogged in a while, just really haven’t had a whole lot to share lately. Some recent events in my life, however, have made me realize a few things about people in general and about myself as well, so I’d like to get a few things off my chest. This IS, after all, the “Rantings and Ravings” blog!
I’ll start in order of importance, and anyone who reads it can just move along to whichever he/she cares to read (if they do care at all). First up will be family – but I think I’ll post this one as its own blog since it will be a lengthy one:
I’ll start with my Granny’s life and death, which has been the most recent family-related issue that has changed some of the way I think and handle things. A little back-history on why I feel the way I feel about her: Granny Hurlbert was my father’s mother. She was not a very “loving” grandmother to me or my two sisters. As a matter of fact, she said when my sister Rosie was born and named, that she would call her “shit” before she called her Roseanne. What kind of grandmother says something like that about her granddaughter? She was never very nice to my mother, never very nice to me or my sisters, yet was very giving to the other grandchildren. Sure, she did a lot for my mother and us when we were still toddlers, mainly because my father had a spell during which he was not exactly Mr. Wonderful, but she raised the man, so I think she felt maybe a little responsible for his poor choices. As we were growing up, the only vibes I ever got from her were dislike or indifference. We never liked to go down to her house, and the sad thing is that she lived two houses down the street from us. Being a small child, and not feeling welcome down there, I was always somewhat afraid of her. It was quite a stretch from how my mother’s mother was toward us (and still is).
Grandma King is and has always been the most loving woman I’ve ever met in my life. She has treated all of us grandkids the same, always made us feel loved and cared for. There are no favorites, we’re all equal, the way it SHOULD be.
Granny, on the other hand, made it very clear who the favorites were on that side of the family, all of whom are boys. I grew up thinking there was something wrong with me, for her to not love me. My feelings were hurt so many times by that woman that as soon as I was old enough to decide I didn’t want to step foot in that house, I stayed away. I loved my grandfather though; he was a truly wonderful man. He was kind and loving. I thought it odd that he was paired with her. His funeral was huge, with so many people that some had to wait outside the funeral home. He was loved and respected.
Granny died a couple of weeks ago. Her funeral was small, with not very many people there. I thought it was quite ironic that she was so heavily eulogized as a giving, loving and kind woman who loved God, when I never saw that side of her. The only times I saw her in a church were for funerals and weddings, she never mentioned God or religion in any way in front of any of us. I only asked her ONCE for ANYTHING ever… to borrow a belt sander for a couple of days. I think I was 20 at the time. She replied that people have a tendency to not bring things back, so I said forget it and went and bought one of my own. Yet she loaned out her stuff all the time to other people. What kind of person does that to someone who’s never wronged her?
It’s true that she baked the cake for my wedding back in 1990, and that she and some other family members from that side of the family did a lot for the food and stuff for the reception… but I don’t believe she did that for me. She did it for Lee, my ex-husband. It’s no secret that he was a favorite among the family that didn’t know him as well as my parents, my sisters and I did. I was thankful, yes, but I’d have preferred she not do anything for us at all. I could be wrong about some things, but this is how I felt at the time and still feel now. I never asked her for any of it. Her inclusion beyond being a guest was not my idea.
It’s true that she was a giving person to EVERYONE ELSE but us. She did stuff for other people all the time. She was always busy, cooking for everyone, taking care of people who didn’t deserve it, and being a “servant”, as she was described as being. She was the type to jump in and learn something new, she was a hard worker and brutally honest. Listening to the eulogy, I found myself thinking, “Wow, Deanna, you take after her in some ways.” She has never been much of a role model for me, and it’s crazy that I am like her, when I so do NOT want to be.
So after the funeral and the wake, I found myself alone in my room, thinking about her. Many negative comments were made at and after the funeral about her. All were true. She seemed like such a bitter woman to me, and a lot of the family felt the same way. She was described as brutally honest. Well, this is my way of paying homage to the woman I grew up fearing. I’m being brutally honest about how I feel about her. I have NO good memories of her. The memories I have are of her looking at us with that COLD STARE that she always did. She’d just stare at us, not saying anything… kinda leaves you with that “don’t know what to say or do” feeling. It’s not a good feeling to get from a grandparent. I remember her being angry with me over a family secret that was absolutely RIDICULOUS and that EVERYONE knew about, but *I* got the blame for outing to a close friend of mine who was seeing the family member the secret was kept from AFTER he was told. Thanks, cousin Theresa, for being a snitching bitch. I’ll never forget that one.
The last time I spoke to her was last year, when I went out to the Garage so that my dad could teach me to weld. I stopped in before leaving the old ‘hood to see her (she was in bad shape, the cancer was well on its way to taking her) and had to endure the cold stare once more. As I was leaving, I went over to her to hug her, and I said to her “I love you”. Came out of the one-sided hug, and she just looked at me, with that stare, and said nothing. I gave her that one last chance to give me SOMETHING, some sign that she did indeed love me as a grandmother should. She gave me NOTHING. No waver in her glare. No twitch of the mouth. Nothing. I said it loud enough for her to hear me, right in her ear. She was not hard of hearing - that much I know. She heard me, chose not to respond. I won’t lie, it hurt. It was at that point that I vowed to NEVER set foot in that house again.
Think of me as you will, but I stuck to my vow. She’s dead now, and with her dies the pain of feeling like a thorn, unloved, and inadequate. I am a forgiving person. There’s a point where you just have to let go of some things. I’m letting go of it. Unfortunately, I will never forget any of it, but there’s no point in carrying around the resentment from that part of my life, when there was so much good to think of instead.
Rest in Peace, Granny.