Driving to Bea’s

Driving to Bea’s today, I think about my aunt. The one who told me about my grandpa’s breakdown. I still remember when she told me. And I’m thinking I might be ready to open up that sore; the sore of my aunt. 
My aunt, my uncle and my cousin moved to my hometown the summer before I was in 5th grade. She and my mom were close, but she and I were also close. We clicked. She was a rider; hunter jumper, just like me. We would ride together, and she was good. Very good. She would coach me sometimes. And when she got a horse, she had me help her exercise and care for her. Josie Posy. How I loved that horse. I never told my aunt my secrets, but I confessed to her once that I had secrets. She told me I could trust her. I wasn’t sure I could. But she was honest, and I remember, being older, maybe 14, 15, and her having a very frank conversation with me about my mom’s eating habits not being normal or healthy. And it was okay. I didn’t feel like she was attacking my mom, the way I did when my therapist talked about eating and my mom, or when my doctor talked about it, and I didn’t feel like she was lecturing me. It was different, no judgement. I thought, briefly, about telling her the things I remembered in weird snippets, and the awful dreams, and the panic, and all of it. But I didn’t. I do remember calling her once, in the middle of the night, crying that I was failing my life and everyone was going to hate me. I don’t remember what she said, but she made it better. That I do remember. And then my uncle had a breakdown, and she left. Just left. And when she left he had another breakdown, and it was really bad. And the whole family was really very angry with her. But she texted me, years later. I was 20, in cosmology school, and she wanted to see how I was. She felt bad for just leaving. I texted her back, and we had this weird texting relationship for a while. I ended up meeting her the next time I was in town to visit my parents. I didn’t tell the, I was seeing her, I just went before I was supposed to be at their house. It was strange. I had missed her so much, but she had left. I was hurt and angry, but not sure I had a right to be. She gave me some of the family history– all the ugly bad stuff no one had ever told me– and explained that she and my uncle had been struggling for a long time, and he had stopped taking his medications and she had been unable to do if any longer. I could understand that. But I still felt like, why did she have to leave me? But, I took the history she gave me, and confronted my mom with it. My mom confirmed that it was all true. And then proceeded to be very hurt that I had met with my aunt. It didn’t matter anyway, after that, I didn’t hear from my aunt until my daughter was 3. And that was via an email my cousin forwarded for her. I emailed her back, saying hello and that I was doing well, and hoped the same for her. And I left it at that. I couldn’t take having her leave me again.
When I arrive, I don’t bring up my aunt. I’m maybe not ready to rip that sore wide open, after all. A part of me want to talk about it, but it is messy and hard. I end up giving her a catch up of the school meeting, and hubby and just life. Which I will have to do in a separate post, because I need to feed the dogs, wake the kiddo, and do the dishes, shower and get dressed before our ABA girl arrives.    

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10 thoughts on “Driving to Bea’s

  1. It was so hard when someone who I connected with left. Such a loss as the connections were important and I relied on them so. It took a long time to realize that they too get caught up in their own lives and chaos, that the leaving or the interrupted relationship wasn’t ignoring me, or that I didn’t matter, just that life gets too busy and full. But I remember feeling so bereft. I still am not fond of those few special people I have bonded with leaving. I have to remind myself. I am here with me, that new found home… it’s OK… : )
    I so relate…

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    • Yes….we all so get caught up in our lives. I know, I get it, because I do it, too. I think it’s more that she just literally left. No goodbye, no explanation, no attempt to stay in touch. And then she reached out to me out of the blue. But before then, there was nothing. That’s what is hard, I think. I don’t know.

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      • I want to add, yes, I understand that feeling. Leave me cold. Then come back as if nothing happened, no goodbyes, nothing… and now act like none of that happened? It hurts to need someone and they bail on you. Sure sounds like her life got so mixed up she couldn’t focus on much else but getting her own self straightened out. I know it gets sticky, but if you wanted to, you tell her how you felt.

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  2. I’m glad your aunt shared some of this important history with you. But I’m sorry she’s been so transient in your life. Most of my childhood was filled with such relationships and it was hard to feel like I was never important enough.

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  3. I really relate – I had an aunt who very much was the same; there then not. I still miss her and wonder, 8 years later, why she left me and won’t maintain a relationship now. That not knowing is perhaps the hardest part. Not sure what is toughest about it for you? I’m glad you’re talking about it though.

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    • I’m sorry you can relate. I hope that on some level, you know it wasn’t anything you did, and it was her stuff.

      For me, I think it’s that she said she would always be there, and then she just left. That’s what is hard. She felt so much like the only honest person in my family sometimes, that her leaving like that…I don’t know. I’m not sure how to put it into words.

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  4. I have a couple thoughts because I sort of feel like your aunt. I can totally be in someone’s life and be caring and connected and then I disappear. It’s nothing the other person did. Just as it is nothing you did wrong. You did nothing wrong. It’s your aunt and her issues and your mom’s issues and your uncle’s issues. And I guess we are all self absorbed at times. But this PTSD is awful in terms of feeling disconnected and unable to say what we are thinking because we are fearful. That’s so why I write and email my T because there is so much I want to say that doesn’t come out. So many incomplete memories and stories from my past and nothing ever seems to make sense. Seemingly out of nowhere I am thinking about something decades old and I feel so stupid but it’s there and my body is fearful and I can’t shit my mind off. So I don’t know if that made any sense. But I just wanted to say that it wasn’t anything you did to make your aunt distance herself. It is just her. And I love how your aunt helped you to feel better. It sounds like she never put your mom down and simply stated the truth that her eating (or not eating) was unhealthy. She normalized the abnormal while still validating your feelings. And I’m sure there is more to this story and maybe you told her more or about K and it’s complicated but everything is complicated isn’t it?!!

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    • Thank you for this. For explaining the other side. I do this, too. I guess it’s just hard for me to see my aunt as someone who,struggled or who would need to just shut down and hide away like we do. Because she was so strong in my eyes. I don’t know. But it’s good to see this from a different perspective, too.

      I’ve been thinking about you and hoping you are doing okay. Xx

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