I’m Going To See My Family (Yep, You Read That Right)


I thought it was a Christmas card when I opened it.

If I had known, I would have prepared myself a bit more.

It wasn’t a Christmas card, but rather an invite to my grandmother’s 90th birthday party.

I know that a birthday party invitation doesn’t seem all that scary, but when I haven’t seen much of my family in nearly 3 years, the thought of seeing any of them  — let alone all of them at once — was enough to suck the air directly from my lungs and leave me gasping for breath, hoping that I didn’t pass out.

I don’t want to go to the party.

But I think I should.
My grandmother has always been one of the very few people who have stood by my side throughout my life. Quiet in her ways, she is one of those cliche grandmothers that watches the world more than she engages in it, but when she does speak, she is wise. Her family fresh off the boat from Ireland, her words are few but when they are, they are meaningful.

Even the words that might seem trivial to other people, mean the world to me.

“Eden, you know your mom has problems. We may not say it, but we all know it. You just do what you need to do and even though I don’t say it often, I hope you know I love you.”

That right there, while sparse, has rung loudly in my ears for nearly a decade of my life now. In a family where abuse hides behind closed doors and nothing but judgements and illusions of perfection are displayed for all to see, the knowledge that I have any bloodline connection at all to someone who has known me since I was born, and supports the fact that I no longer have a relationship with my parents, it means the world to me.

But when you get to be 90 and you aren’t so young and spry, you tend to rely on other people for help, as my grandmother does. I see her when I can, but even that is far too infrequent because it’s nearly impossible to get a nearly 90 year old woman away from the people who take care of her, and unfortunately for me, I’ve disowned many of the people who take care of her.

So while the visits have been few and the phone calls not much more, she has never made me feel bad about it.

“Eden, I know you haven’t had it easy, but you know you’ll always been my special one.”

And just like that we’ve had an understanding; maybe the only one that I’ve ever had with anyone in my family that didn’t involve me understanding that I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone that I was being abused.

So when my grandmother told me a couple years back that all she wants is to see the whole family together, I listened, because that is what you do for the people that you love.

I love her, because I know she loves me.

But I haven’t seen the rest of my family in nearly 3 years and you all know that it’s for good reason. In fact the last time I saw them there were threats of legal action and physical harm. And sure, I could just tell my grandmother that I don’t want to go and I could give her a list of very valid reasons that I know she would most certainly understand because she does love me, but I don’t want to do that to her.

I don’t want to do that to her because I love her.

So next week I’m going to be reunited with my entire family during an extremely uncomfortable lunch. I’ll be face to face with people that I’ve successfully avoided for three years now; people that hate me because of it.

My two brothers and I during one of the last times I saw them in 2012. 
The fact that my leg is like 1/4th the size of my brother’s leg scares me.

I’ve made the executive decision that while I will do this for my grandmother, I cannot do this to my children so they will not be with me, and since no guests are allowed, I will have to go alone.

Alone, facing 50 people who are angry at me for leaving the family; and some people who have spent years literally threatening me into silence.

I’m really not sure how I am going to handle this, but if there is anything that I’ve learned over the last three years and the course of writing this blog, it’s that this is not my shame to bear.

I did not do anything wrong. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

I may not want to be there, but I’m going to walk in with my head held high because I deserve to be there.

I’m not their victim anymore. I’m a survivor, because I survived them.

And if my family has a problem with it, too bad.

Fuck you bitches, I’m here for my victory lap.
***************

Want To Know More About Why I No Longer Speak To My Family? Then Read These!

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21 Comments

  • snork maiden
    December 3, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Well, you can't take a guest, but you can take your phone, make sure there's someone available on the other end of it who can come and meet you outside if you need to flee.

  • Mzfuzz
    December 3, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    I can't imagine how tough this seems to you, Eden–But try to remember, you've already done the REALLY hard stuff. You keep going back to court against your ex-which terrifies you. You went through disowning the sons-of-bitches in the first place-which terrified you. You have been through life-threatening situations, brought your son through his medical problems, started an amazing non-profit, and even found time for dating! One afternoon with the assholes is completely within your ability to endure. I know you can! *HUGS* Oh, and also……Take pepperspray. Just sayin'.

  • Carey H
    December 3, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I'll be praying for you!

  • Kim
    December 3, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    My heart hurts for you. There just are no words. Just … wow.

  • imadushbag
    December 3, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    look at it this way, you deserve to celebrate your gma's day inspite of them.

  • Facebook
    December 3, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Sending you thoughts of strength and thick skin (for the looks and the comments). Thank you for your continued brutal honesty for what you are going through that is such a beacon of light going out into the world and giving hope to others.

  • Facebook
    December 3, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Do what you need to do. Avoid anyone who can't keep it cordial for your grandmothers party (after all, the day is about HER), and just be as pleasant as you can. I have my own problems with some in my family and while I may not want to be around them during gatherings, I make sure that I am polite and don't start a scene.

  • Facebook
    December 3, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    And, congratulations to your grandmother. smile emoticon

  • CD
    December 4, 2015 at 4:43 am

    You've come so far and did it all without them. And they deserve to realize HOW bad it was for you in that house, and WHY you needed to get away.I had three similar Irish grandmas, and I know this SO well. With my mom, everyone dealt with her differently – they knew she had problems, but didn't know how it affected us kids. Fortunately, her problems are becoming a lot more obvious the older she gets, so people are FINALLY seeing it these days. (I really hope this happens to your mom, haha.)But anyway. This day is about your grandma. And I know you – you CAN completely face your family without there being a problem. Good luck!!!

  • nichole jenkins
    December 4, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Wowed by your courage. You can do this. And remember to heap burning coals on their heads by being kind and loving. Your grandma its a lucky lady!

  • Anonymous
    December 5, 2015 at 3:41 am

    I don't know why you can't take a guest; that's weird. F*** their rules — bring a supportive friend as a guest. TRUST ME on this. And good luck.

  • Mzfuzz
    December 7, 2015 at 2:13 am

    About how awesome you are, or about pepper spray? 😀

  • afairytale84
    December 7, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Oh gosh, that's so tough.But remember how far you've come. Remember how much you've been able to do once you got the hell away from those people. And as hard as it is, remember that they are the crazy ones and not you. I know from experience that it's friggen hard to be surrounded by crazy and think you must be the crazy if everyone around you is the same as each other, but different than you, and thinks you're crazy. Hope that makes sense. Take care of yourself!*hugs*

  • natty smackdown
    December 8, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    I pray for you. Not because of pity but because I know what it's like to be in darkness and be the only one with a light to see; in a twilight zone type of place where everyone around you is blind except for you. You ask them don't you see this or that?? And they respond with what are you talking about, there is nothing to see or tell you to pretend it's not there. It can be maddening. It can make a person feel really alone, being the only one that can “see”. For me, the saving grace was my deep longing for a father. But not just any father, no human man could meet my expectations. In all that I witnessed and experienced growing up, the atrocities, the lunacy, the backwards thinking…I longed for peace in my mental and emotions. I longed for relationships that would help fill my spiritual holes and heal my spiritual wounds. None panned out. Someone was looking for me and He found me. He taught me that my years in darkness were NOT for nothing, but will use my experiences for His Glory and my healing. He is healing me and has showed me that I am not crazy, I am not alone and He does hear my prayers. This is NOT religion, but a personal relationship with The Master Himself. Yeshua does exist, He does care, He does hear, He does see all AND He does answer! This has been my experience walking with Him. I am not perfect and am healing more and more everyday. I now have an understanding, a knowledge and wisdom, given to me by Him. He has made guilt, the ability to be manipulated through someone else's emotions (usually fear based), fear and anxiety pass away or at least have lessened to a great degree. My life is not perfect by the world's standards. We don't have the newest and greatest gadgets either. Knowing Who I belong to, knowing His promises to me…He is fulfilling those promises and that means more to me than any material thing. I have peace in mental and emotions, the peace He promised me. No longer shaken by those things that sought to keep me bound, to be kept in darkness. He has used that darkness that I once lived in to strengthen me, heal me and free me. I have been gifted with forgiveness and have shared this gift with others. Yeshua taught me that forgiveness is freedom. True and genuine forgiveness gifts the giver of forgiveness with freedom and peace of mind. You are blessed, being able to understand that a true and meaningful gift is not one that has form, that can be wrapped in pretty paper. A true gift has no form, is not tangible but is rich in substance, knowledge and wisdom. Those things can never rot, be broken or stolen from you or your children. Your name, Eden, means delight. The bible says The Lord delights in giving His children good gifts. I pray He does this very thing for you and your children. Merry Christmas Eden.

  • Sue Jones
    December 8, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Eden you really should go check out yahoo…there are several helpful comments there, and misunderstandings.

  • Anonymous
    December 8, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Oh I'm sure you filled the comments section with your trollish ways

  • Sue Jones
    December 14, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I sure hope….the article today says you are a con artist. Your supporters stay you are disabled, but you seem to be going here there and everywhere. Also you stated you are looking hard for a job but yet you are disabled???? If you read the yahoo comments with an open mind-you will realize many people are very suspicious….

  • Anonymous
    December 14, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Everyone knows yahoo comments are mostly trolls. It's how you found you way here!

  • afairytale84
    December 14, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    “Your supporters stay you are disabled, but you seem to be going here there and everywhere. Also you stated you are looking hard for a job but yet you are disabled????”So people who are disabled should stay in their home and not work? Seriously, Sue? Believe it or not, there are people in wheelchairs who have jobs and climb mountains. They don't just lock themselves in their homes!

  • Sister (in Christ)
    December 27, 2015 at 6:27 am

    I want to wish you “good luck!!!” times a trillion and more, but I don't think that would be enough. Your family is a nightmare, sans those that have genuine love for you, and you are such a loving and kind soul for going to your grandma's birthday party despite all the evil in the environment there. Re-reading, I see that the event has already passed; YOU DID IT!! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!! Your grandma must've hugged you a trillion times haha. Stay strong, and Happy New Year's, Eden!! <33

  • Anonymous
    January 11, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Do we ever get to hear what happened at the bday party??

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