Today would have been my Grandma’s birthday. She was born in 1903 in Madison Lake, Minnesota. I didn’t know my grandma very well at all. Growing up I’d see her once or twice a year. She wrote letters and I remember my mom reading them but I never felt close to my grandma.
When I was older in my teens I saw her a little more often but not a lot more. When visits did happen, things were always strained between my mom and her parents. For some reason my grandma did like me but there was just something about her that I always felt leery about. In my later teen years, I finally learned the secrets in the family that was the cause of the tension.
My mom and some of her brothers were abused…it’s strange to me. Some of the kids were”golden children” and were never touched others got the physical and verbal punishment. Much of this my mom told me. Part of me found what my mom said me hard to believe. Who could do that? It helped me understand why my mom let some of her younger brothers live with her and my dad during their teen years. Later in life after my mom passed away, a couple of my siblings met up with my mom’s siblings. We talked about the abuse and I heard many of the same stories from them.
As an adult I can look back at my mom and see that she carried that abuse with her her entire life. It affected her far passed the days when it happened.
For a long time, I hated my grandparents for doing that to my mom. I hated them for doing that to my mom’s siblings. I hated them for being that kind of people. Others in the family would collect genealogy and dig into the family past. Not me…I wanted them taken out of my family history. I wanted no part or place in being part of an abusive family even if I was only a grand daughter.
Then one day, part of me changed (isn’t it amazing how age can do that?). I accepted what my grandparents had done and instead turned it around. Now I celebrate my Mom. She stood up and said, “I will not raise my own children in abuse. The continuation of abuse in this family will not happen.” To me, she’s a hero. My mom was loving, compassionate and slow to anger. There was not even a thread of abuse to me from her my entire life. She rarely even raised her voice and I was far from a perfect child. She actually probably should have raised her voice to me.
I hope my mom’s brothers were able to do the same. It’s still something that’s not openly discussed in the family so I have no idea.
Anyway-fast forward to present day. Last week my sister contacted me. She had something that she wanted me to see….this.
She wanted to know if I wanted it. It’s my grandpa and grandma’s wedding picture. The frame is wonderful. I love the look of the people in the picture….I don’t love the people though.
I looked at the picture and debated.
My mom loved genealogy….I love antiques. Mom would have wanted someone in the family to keep it. Mom would want someone to display it..I have the house for it. I guess it will be me.
I can’t help but wonder how the people in the photo can be so beautiful on the outside but hateful on the inside.
It’s kind of sad. Others of my cousins had a chance to keep the photo…they didn’t. I’m guessing they harbor some unhappy feelings too.
The picture is going in the spare bedroom. When I look at it I am reminded of what a good person my mom was. I am reminded that even in bad situations, good can still come through. I am reminded that forgiveness is hard and although I might not have completely forgiven them, I can at least come to a peace.
…and so on this day, what would have been my Grandma’s 112th birthday I’m letting it all go to rest.
I can say…I had abusive grandparents but my mom stopped the cycle and abuse didn’t happen to me. It didn’t happen to my children either…for that I am truly thankful!
P.S. I am so sorry for any of you readers who suffered similarly to what my mom did. Abuse is wrong. My prayer is that you can overcome what happened to you and you too can be the hero that I see in my mom. Don’t let the cycle of abuse continue.