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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Part 4: BULLY!

Part 4: BULLY!

When we had finally made it back inside the venue, the decision was made that it would be best if we all left so my dad, mom, sisters, Brandon and I got back in the car and drove home. 
The ride was silent. 

What do you say after something like that happens?
Ironically though, when we got back to my parent's house, my memory is mostly in phrases...

My dad
"I am so sorry."
"I hope you don't think this is a reflection on me."

My sister Karlee,
the one who had been crying,
who has Down Syndrome
and loved when her grandparents came
to watch her compete for Special Olympics,
at the top of her lungs,

We drove back to my apartment at school that night. I remember walking in to find my roommates and friends laying around watching a movie.
"How was the wedding?"
They asked enthusiastically.
I shook my head.
"I'll tell you about it later."
-     -     -

The days, weeks, and months that followed were by far the most emotional and trying of my life. 

Brandon and I fought, really fought, for the first time in our relationship. Every time the argument kept coming back to the same thing...

"But it was just my crazy grandma!"
"Yes, but that's the thing, its your grandma!
How can we be together if someone so important in your family hates me?"
I watched him slip into an intense period of self-doubt. I caught him in moments questioning not only our relationship, but his own self-worth. He spent most of his time in worry and I spent most of mine trying to assure him what had happened wouldn't define him or us.

To top it all off, I received daily emails from my family. I don't remember everything in them, but like I said before, my memory consists of mostly phrases...

From my lesbian aunt, who had been sitting with us that night:
When I came out to grandma she reacted the same way. When I was pregnant and then had a miscarriage she told me I deserved it for the lifestyle I chose, but now she supports me. She even tells the other seniors she swims with in the pool that she has a lesbian daughter.

From that same aunt in a different email:
Don't you dare come to my mother's funeral. I will personally escort you out.

From my aunt, whose daughter's wedding it had been: I can still remember the image of great-grandma throwing herself on great-grandpa's coffin, but by then it was too late. Please don't let it get to that point.
From that same aunt:
"For if you forgive me when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." -Colossians 3:13

From the lesbian aunt who shared her horrifying experience with my grandmother and promised to escort me out of her funeral if I showed up:
How can you call yourself a Christian?

My mother also received messages...

From my other aunt, who had for the most part stayed out of it:
Your kids were always the favorite. They loved them more than they ever loved my kids. How dare they choose to not speak with them. 

From the same aunt:
Why doesn't she just go and write another poem about it?

The sharing of these thoughts sent my brain into a frenzy. 

Why would sharing your similarly horrifying experiences make me want to welcome my grandmother back in my life? That just proves that she has done it before and will most certainly do it again.

What makes you think I would show up to her funeral? I plan to only attend funerals of people who I respected when they were alive. (I know that sounds horrible. I have felt guilty about this thought since the day I had it, but can't dispute it's truth.)

So are you saying I am like great grandma and will eventually be throwing myself over grandma's coffin, begging for forgiveness? I guess I just don't understand what I should be asking forgiveness for? 

How dare you bring my faith into this? I refuse to feel guilty for not welcoming her back into my life with open arms. Who are you to tell me that I am a bad Christian and how could you possibly know that I haven't forgiven her? 

I asked for them to leave me alone continuously. Some days, I avoided opening email because I was so afraid of the hurtful things that could be there. Eventually, though, I sent one response that stopped it all:

There is a big different between forgiving and forgetting. 
I forgave her a long time ago, but I will never forget what she did.
Whether I marry Brandon, or someone else, 
I would never willingly subject them, let alone my future children, to such hatred.
We have faced too many hateful situations from outsiders
there is no way we need to also hear it from family.
so I am making the conscious choice to forgive, but never to forget
and surround myself with people who love and support me.

I have not seen or heard from anyone on that side of the family since I sent that message.

1 comment:

  1. You are so strong. As we haven't been in contact since STV for the most part, I'm not entirely sure what to say. But know that you are admired and I am so proud to have known you. God bless and I pray that your family learns to love as our Father does.