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Raw Wounds

I’ve talked a little bit about my childhood here before, in my real life I don’t as much.  I stay quiet when people are sharing their sad memories.  I don’t like to talk about the hurts.  I stick mostly to the easy stuff.  But sometimes I just can’t and it comes pouring out of me in waves and waves of sobbing and tears and gagging.

I haven’t written here in a long time.  Blogging used to be my THING.  Once upon a time I had lots of hits and comments and that MATTERED SO MUCH.  I wrote because I have had a burning need to CREATE for my whole life, and my artwork was wrapped up in all sorts of pent up feelings I couldn’t deal with.  But writing?  Writing was cathartic.  I could write out the thoughts I could never let past my lips.  And when I finally felt brave enough to draw and paint that urge fell away and this space went dark.

This week though…

This week has been bad.  Probably the worst week I’ve had in years.  I am overworked and overwrought.  My grandfather was sick.  It didn’t look good.  I am not on speaking terms with that part of my family, and I felt torn between what I knew was expected of me (to always be the good girl) and my absolute conviction that I couldn’t put myself into that again.  I’ve been having memories and dreams and all sorts of things have been stirred up that I’ve had to struggle with while I’ve been working non stop all month on a huge project. And while I loved the work- I of course looked forward to the end- when I would wave my thick stack of illustrations triumphantly in the air and shout LET’S HAVE A PARTY!  And there would be cake.  And probably wine.  But instead, I had a fight with my husband.  So the end of my project was weighted down in not talking.  It was a major bummer.  Before I could recover from that…  My brother called to tell me that my grandfather had died.

I cried.  All afternoon.  I talked to my aunt that I haven’t spoken to in a year.  I was so anxious but I couldn’t disrespect her on the day her father died…  so instead of her going to voicemail I answered the phone.  Our conversation was short and sad and after it was over I cried my eyes out and went home to bed to curl in a ball and remember.

I did not have a good relationship with my grandfather.  I won’t go into details here because my family is in mourning and hurting and I’m not going to drag all that out into the light.

I have many bad memories, and all of those have been running through my mind over and over.  But mixed in there are bright spots.  Riding in the car between my grandparents to the cider mill and him buying me maple sugar candy.  Helping him in the garden and painting the deck.  He showed me how to make compost.  He showed me what spearmint leaves look like, how to shoot, and how to find periwinkles in the cove.  We’d boil them and pick them out of the shell with pins.  He taught me how to fish and let me have free reign over his old tackle box and once gently removed a fishhook from my thumb.  He would sneak me sips of beer and he taught me to drive and he taught me how to draw.  He used to draw me little outlines of women and I would carefully trace them and dress them in clothes I invented.  My first paper dolls.

So I’m this big ball of conflicting emotions.  I HURT.

And every time someone texts me and tells me that I’m the only one not there, or to call my grandma who I haven’t spoken to since the day Henry was born, (Henry is named after my grandfather….  see how conflicted I feel about him?) or to tell me when the wake and the funeral is (that I will never be able to afford to attend) I hurt more.  I am so overwhelmed with emotion I can’t stand it.

And then….  today…

I have been asking my mother for six months if she could please find me SOMETHING with my father’s name in his own hand.  I want to get a tattoo with his name and hers.  This is a big request.  My father died when I was two.  In the vast stretch of years since his death (34 this year) there is hardly anything tangible left of his existence, beyond my brother and me and a few pieces of jewelry.  He was an artist, but his art doesn’t exist.  He destroyed it all before his death.  He was a poet. I have seen one poem, that was part of his funeral.  There is almost nothing I can hold and say…. this was my father’s.

Today was a snow day where my mother lives.  She went through the boxes in her basement.

I was driving when she texted me…  she found both a poem with his name signed at the bottom……….  and a drawing he did of me.

I started sobbing.  Right there in the car, with my kids in the backseat.  It hurt so bad I felt as if my skin had been flayed from my bones.  A drawing.  Something I always wanted to see.  And it was of ME.  Proof that my dad had loved me enough to capture me on a scrap of notebook.  A time capsule.   Those are my eyebrows and my lips.  I recognize myself.  This little throwaway doodle has me sobbing like a baby.  It’s a huge deal to me.

I can’t handle anything right now.  I’m trying to mourn and feeling guilty for mourning because how can I feel sad when I never had a close relationship with my grandfather like the rest of the family?  And I feel guilty for feeling happy about my mother’s find during such a sad time.  And I keep having tiny and terrible realizations like that while my cousins post pictures with my grandpa there are none of me with him past childhood.  And that my dad would be so sad to know I don’t talk to most of his family.  That is one tight knit group and I’m the odd one out.  I’m the weirdo who can’t get over her shitty memories and knit myself back into the group.

And then my mother finding these things now, no matter how precious, when I am under such tremendous pressure, just broke me.  I can’t get it together.  I’m wandering around in a daze, staring off into space, unable to think beyond this shit. Asking everyone to PLEASE GIVE ME SPACE because I don’t understand myself.

I forgot to buy groceries today.  So I went out tonight, got to the store and couldn’t go in.  I turned around and drove home and sat in the driveway for an hour while the car grew cold.    I couldn’t go in there either.  I talked myself into it so I could write this post.  I don’t care if no one reads this.  I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense.  I needed to write it all out so I could stop vaguebooking all over facebook.

And maybe someone will understand….  I hurt.

Filed Under: Me

25 Responses to Raw Wounds

  1. While I can’t begin to completely understand your hurt, I get it and my heart breaks for you. I hear you. In this huge world of the Internet I listened to your vent and I heard you. And I relate. I know what it’s like to stand by a conviction and not get over those memories. I am sorry you are hurting. I wish there was something more I could say or do, but all I know to do is tell you that you are not alone and you’ve been heard. My heart is with you and you will remain in my thoughts.

  2. You have every right to grieve however you need to grieve. And it sounds like you might need to grieve the loss of the grandfather you deserved to have. Because no doubt you deserved the kind of grandfather (and rest of the family) who would treat you with love and respect no matter what. The way they are responding to you right now is not loving or respectful either. You do not deserve that.

  3. Sending you so much love, and light, and healing thoughts. The conflicted feelings that you have, they exist in me too. I hurt. You hurt. We are not alone. The words that you share have great meaning, deep meaning. You are stronger than you know. You have so much love. Give yourself love. You need it right now. Be kind to yourself! xx

  4. *hugs* I too have listened and heard you. Sending healing light your way. Take whatever you need in life, whenever you need, to help yourself heal xoxoxoxoxox

  5. Heart break, feeling conflicted, messed up family history…this all sucks. I understand how posting can be cathartic. I hope that the pain eases soon, the conflicted feeling is so very difficult and I understand it too well.
    I wish I could bundle up love and light and send it to you like a sweater, something you could cuddle up in when you needed the extra warmth.

  6. Honey, I really have no idea what to say. Do what you feel you should (not the same as what you think you should). You’re going to hurt for a while, and that sucks. Let yourself do what you need to heal and grieve. Sooner or later you won’t hurt so bad. Meanwhile, remember there are folks who never met you in person that care about you. And keep a hanky or a bunch of Kleenexes handy, in case you burst into tears and need to mop ’em up. Hugs, love, and strength.

  7. Joni. I hear you. I am currently waiting for my grandmother to pass. I am also the odd one out, and spent my entire day yesterday in a daze due to the surrounding circumstances of brother and fathers addiction… while trying to plan my child’s birthday party, which is today. I’m a mess. Thank you for writing, thank you… you are putting the Light out into the world. Keep trusting yourself. You are healing, and helping others. I wish I knew you in real life, so we could cry together. You are a blessing to many, including your beautiful and inspiring kids. Your stories and drawings and writing is LOVE WORKING.

  8. I’m very sorry for everything you are going through. Sometimes you just have to slog through this crap–there’s no magic cure. It’s ok to feel both good and bad at the same time. There’s no way to just rush to feel better, and it can’t be expected. You need to feel this way for a while, until your mind can process all the emotions surrounding these current (and past) events in a way that will make sense for you to continue.

    Part of the ongoing horror of being a victim of any kind of childhood abuse, is that you continue to love or care for those who hurt you. It becomes your cross to bear and it’s completely unfair. It is very complicated and it’s very confusing.

    But, you will feel better with time and you will heal again. In the meantime, you just have to go through this. And the o let way to make it better is to accept that and find people and ways to help you through, to walk with you in the darkness for a while.

  9. I’m sending hugs now! Silent, tight, understanding, forever hugs!!! I am at a loss for words to describe how my heart hurts for you and to explain that I know…I have been in similar places…I know the hurt, the confusion, the guilt, the joy, the relief, the anger angered the love! It gets all muddy and you can’t think so you go on autopilot… take your time coming to the surface BUT come to the surface! You have worked so hard to achieve such amazing things…you are an inspiration to hundreds of women and you have a gorgeous family…so mourn, grieve, cry, celebrate, sleep, dream AND keep clawing your way back to the surface…Blessed Be!

  10. ” I don’t talk to his family. That is one tight knit group and I’m the odd one out. I’m the weirdo who can’t get over her shitty memories and knit myself back into the group.”

    I understand this feeling completely. I only speak to the family outside of my own little nuclear one as rarely as possible. The why’s and wherefore’s don’t even matter as much as the fact that even if I wanted to I wouldn’t know how to knit myself back in to their groups.

    I also understand what it’s like to have people pass who you feel you should be able to mourn and to feel nothing but numbness. And I understand what it’s like to get blindsided by decades old grief that is somehow still not resolved.

    Everything you’re feeling is legitimate, no matter what anyone else says.

    I hope this wave passes soon and lets you find the ground beneath your feet and allows you to fill your lungs back up with sweet air.



  11. Hugs. I can’t think of much to say except I’m sorry. Grieve how you need to, and let your family know you need a little help with things like groceries so you can process the big bombshells you’ve just had. Healing energy sent your way.

  12. So much love to you, sweetheart. You grieve and mourn how you need, and know that your grief doesn’t mean you have to accept things and people who are/were unable to accept you for the beautiful woman with the beautiful soul that you are.

    Just because he’s gone doesn’t mean you have to try and edit yourself to be acceptable to others. That’s something I had to learn to give myself permission for, too. You are not a bad person for doing what is best for you and your family. Your family, btw, is you, James, and your beautiful children. You seven are what matters most, and there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t owe any of them, even your grandmother, jack shit.

    I’m sorry you and James fought, but don’t beat yourself up too much over that, either. Make up with him, share your grief with him and your conflict. And just cut yourself some slack. I’ll light a candle for you, honey. ?

  13. I’m so sorry. I think that your feelings are completely valid and I just wanted to say that I hear you! It’s okay to hurt and have huge feelings that don’t always make sense. Be nice to yourself. You are human. You are amazing!

  14. I am so sorry about everything you’re going through right now Joni. I will be thinking of you and hoping that things get better soon. Xoxoxo

  15. Be gentle with yourself in this time. Allow yourself to feel the feels, let them split you open until you can see the tiny seed of why they exist for you. It’s in that seed that the healing begins. I can empathize, hugely, with the conflicted grieving for someone who was/wasn’t close, (without delving into my own situation) and the maelstrom of emotional response surrounding you from all angles, lest of all your own. For me it was a closing of the door on any possible hope of reconciliation, and the grieving for what could’ve/should’ve been. How to be empathetic towards the grieving process of people who loved them thoroughly, while never knowing your side of it, and knowing that to attempt to explain would only cause more pain, to everyone left behind. I get it. It’s tough. You will get through this, but for now, feel no guilt about the joy you’ve found, or the grief, and let yourself have a day to cry until the tears run out. Then, dust yourself off and pick up and carry on. Your kiddos will learn that it’s okay to feel the big things, to let them leave you in a heap for a few hours, or a day, and they’ll also learn how to pick up and dust off and carry on. You’re one tough mamma, this will not break you. It may dent a little, but we’re all a little bumpy where the love runs us over.

  16. Love you Joni. Everything you’re feeling is valid. I’m glad you wrote all this out, that is incredible about the drawing your dad did of you. I’m here. You seem to be so good at helping others including me and now I sit here unsure of what to do to help but wanting to be there somehow!! Hugs I wish you weren’t hurting

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