My grandfather died earlier this month. Well, my Papa’s father. That’s not the right title either… what do you call someone who denies your existence? The existence of your entire branch of the family?
I don’t know too terribly much about him. What I do know is mostly not flattering. I could do a public airing of grievances about him. Believe me. I want to. I’m just not sure that allowing all that anger and bitterness to publicly seep out is worth it.
The entire experience leaves me with the feeling of “it’s complicated.”
On the day that I heard of his passing, and subsequently of his obituary that denied my family’s existence. It felt clear. Cut. Dry. Final. Okay, I thought. That’s it. We’re cut off from that family. The one that it never felt like we were a part of anyway…except for glimpses here and there. The glimpses were always followed up by corrections so that we could never leave the interaction feeling that we were part of them.
I assumed that my “grandfather” had wanted us out of the obituary, and that one of his daughters (my father’s sisters) had done the dirty work. Apparently my assumptions were only partially true. As you can imagine, all of this has been hardest on Papa. Clearly.
Papa shielded us from the judgment of his birth parents as much as possible growing up. For me, the pain is all for him. To be shunned by a stranger has little effect on me personally.
How does it feel to have your existence publicly denied in front of every person you grew up with? The imagining leaves me with a sick feeling. Maybe that’s all I have to say for now.