Posted in Blog

Family

Tonight I went to see my grandmother, who I haven’t seen for fifteen years. The reason why is due to her relationship with my mother, which was always a difficult one. My mother completely cut ties with her entire family for her own peace of mind.

After falling out with my mother and sister last year, I got in touch with the family to rebuild bridges. However, I’ve always avoided reconciling with my grandmother; in my mind to speak to her and see her would be like cheating on my mother. I still remember one evening speaking to my uncle on the phone and he happened to be at my nan’s at the time. Without warning, he passed the phone over to her to speak to me and I was petrified. I was petrified that my mother would find out and hate me even more; that her and my sister would have more evidence in their prosecution case against me. My uncle asked her if she knew how old I was and she answered straightaway with the correct age and then recalled my birth date. I was her first grandchild: of course she remembered.

Tonight, I took her hand and she didn’t let go for almost the entire time I was there.

When I asked her if she remembered how old my sister was, she struggled to remember.

When I asked her if she missed my mother and thought about her, she replied that “put it this way: I could never hate her. But she wants to live her life and that’s her choice.” She also told me that she wasn’t happy with what they had done to me and that I should keep doing what I’m doing and leave them to it. The last thing she said to me before I left, was that I should keep looking after myself and to not worry about them.

They will say that I’m turning the family against them, which is actually what my mother said when she found out that I was talking to my uncle.

What I’ve realised in the short time I’ve been reconciled with everybody is that our family is one that sticks together, regardless of what goes on between us. Everybody looks out for each other, and takes everybody in in their times of trouble. That’s all I’ve ever wanted and all I’ve tried to do. I’m always the first to admit that I wasn’t the best of daughters and neither was I the best of sisters, no matter how much I tried. But, to be turned out by my own flesh and blood like this is…

… There are no words to describe what it’s like.

I had a seizure this afternoon, just thinking about the unopened birthday card from my mother, sitting on the desk upstairs in my bedroom. The impact hit me like a freight train. I was lucky enough to have been able to sit myself down before the onset otherwise I would’ve hit my head upon the dining table. Why a mother would choose to send a birthday card to the child she told was possessed by demons as opposed to epileptic is beyond me. In fact I know what it is: it’s emotional manipulation.

I won’t be forced back into a relationship so destructive and dehumanising.

But I’m on my own journey now: I joked to my friends that my trip to Budapest was the beginning of my “Eat Pray Love Journey”. I’m discovering me because I suddenly realised that after all this time, I had no idea who me was. Part of this journey is placing myself upon my own pedestal. To me, I am now my most important person and therefore my needs come first, which is why I’ve reconnected with the family who love me and have embraced me with welcoming arms. There are no bridges to rebuild because for them, there was nothing damaged in the first place.

This is the kind of love I’ve been looking for.


 

Author:

I’m Cece Alexandra and I have Epilepsy. Since being diagnosed, my life has changed significantly. After studying and teaching Humanities and Literature for all of my adult life, I was bullied and lost my job a month before qualifying to become an English Teacher. Once you fail the Teacher Training course in England, you cannot ever retrain; I then became too sick to work because of my Epilepsy. I am now currently studying an MSc in Mental Health Psychology with the University of Liverpool. My disability provokes me into raising awareness for invisible disabilities, which I also actively partake in with Epilepsy Action. Part of that awareness is to help fight against invisible disability discrimination - I believe that this behaviour is not cognitively unconscious; modern society is actively partaking in a hierarchy of disabilities and I believe that there is not enough psychological research to prove this. I am also clinically interested in Cultural Psychology - particularly Collectivist Culture, and wish to pursue this further in my academic career.

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