and not the good kind. My paternal grandmother passed away on April 1st. I didn't really know her very well. My mother did not like her mother in law or any of my dad's family for that matter and pretty much kept them all out of my life. I never spent a holiday with my grandmother. I do not remember her ever being at our house when I was a kid. She did come to my dance recitals every other year and I did see her on occassion at my aunt and uncle's house. I can remember being at her house once or twice. I know that none of that was in my control.
What was in my control was how I behaved as an adult. I regret that I did not make more of an effort to get to know her and have her be a part of my boys' lives. I guess it had just gotten to a point that I didn't know how or where to begin. She was family...it's not supposed to be like meeting a stranger for the first time but that's how it felt everytime I saw her. I invited her to my boys' birthday parties each year but my mother made me feel guilty. The conversation would go like this:
"I don't know why you invite her?"
"I did it for Dad."
"I don't know why he would want you to invite her, it only causes him grief from me."
In her mind I was betraying her, taking my grandmother's side. (Of what argument I will probably never know.) There have been only a few other times in the last few years that I have seen her, my cousins weddings and baby showers and such. My sister was apparently alright with betraying our mother because she would invite Grandma to birthday parties too. I can not have any contact with anyone from my dad's family without guilt from my mother. She is currently angry with me for attending my grandmother's funeral on Good Friday and spending the day with my cousins, aunts and uncles. She was so angry she actually contemplated canceling Easter. If she didn't have grandchildren I'm certain she would have. She is pretending that nothing has happened now but I know this will come up in the future. She holds grudges like no else I've ever known.
My father assures me that my grandmother knew that she was loved and that she understood that it was my mother making it difficult for me to spend time with her. He says she was glad to have had the time she was able. He apologized to me for putting me in this "situation" with my mother, which of course I do not blame him for. None of this is making me feel any better.
But where do I go from here? I really would like to have relationships with my cousins. Everytime I am able to see any of them they tell me how nice it is to see me and my family. They were all grateful that I brought the boys to the funeral so they were able to see them. I believe they are sincere because I am really happy to see them as well. I am so fortunate and thankful that they don't hold my mother against me. But where do I go from here?