"So the word is goodbye
Makes no difference how the tears are cried
And my heart lives alone
I can make believe you need me
When it's over."
Grandparent; I'm not simply losing you, I already lost you a long time ago. I'm grieved but it feels familiar, perhaps its because I have been grieving over you for so many years. Your death will feel like the final abandonment, not the first. You've already chosen so many things over your relationship with me. You've abandoned, rejected and sometimes even completely forgotten about me.
I was never good enough, I never fit the dream image you wanted. You wanted a quiet, good little girl who was made of sugar, spice and all things nice. You wanted me to complacently fall into line, be as kind and sweet and demure as your other grandchildren. But I wasn't a doll, I didn't contort and bend so you could artfully arrange me as you saw best. I wasn't bad, I wasn't spoiled. I was alive and full of breath and enthusiasm and I couldn't sit still and I always had to saw what I thought, sometimes without thought. I wasn't perfectly sweet all the time, but I was never rotten. I was a real girl.
I thought I knew what you wanted, and when I cared and thought I could change your mind about me I tried to shape myself into something more pleasing. But eventually I realized that it wouldn't work, I would still be me. And I also came to see that the grandchildren I was being compared to had not grown up to be doctors, lawyers or politicians. They were not Pulitzer or Nobel peace prize winners. They went to community college or chose less glamorous degree's. But you fawned over them, all but one. The only other grandchild to suffer a fate similar to mine didn't fit the mold of their parents or yourself either. But two were deemed perfect, and they are the two I have always been compared to. They don't make any waves, cause any disturbance. They are "nice".
In recent years though I became aware that it wasn't just their "niceness" that won them favor with you. It was because they were the children of one of your favorite golden children, and my parent (Other Parent) was the black sheep scapegoat. You treated me less as you treated them less. I know you beat the snot out of them with a broom handle once. You told them they would never amount to anything, never finish anything, never go to college. You couldn't get them to fit your ideal mold either, and you had to try and squash every rebellious spark. I was a child of the "worthless" scapegoat and I feel that you felt nothing good could possibly come from Other Parent. I was never expected to amount to much because they weren't either. I was judged and looked down on because Other Parent was judged and looked down on. Even when they married a person who was a Golden child in their own right they didn't please you. You only ended up adoring Vaarsuvius more than you did them. And perhaps not surprising as V is the spitting image of you right down to the constant criticism, negativity all while projecting a fantasy family image on everyone that you feel compelled to see fulfilled. It was spooky when I realized that V had made the exact same speech to me that you did to Other Parent about how they didn't even think I would go to college (or amount to anything was implied).
I always wondered how you could pat me on the head and tell me that Other Parent loved me when I complained about their bad behavior. But now I know why. You wanted your dream family and for everything to be not only okay- but your definition of okay. And I believe that on some level you are aware of what you have done and would defend Other Parent's behavior to me because you helped create it.
When my parents divorced you stopped coming to see me. Other Parent had asked you not to visit V, and Other child and I got lumped in. You have called me maybe three times in the last 10 years, but because I took so long to get back to you at one point in time- I was forever punished and never called again. I also believe you felt it's the Grandchild's place to respect their grandparent and therefore be the one to always call and carry the burden of staying in contact. The only way we have stayed in touch is when I have braved calling you, and when we exchange cards and gifts for birthday's and holidays.
I don't like calling you because I often leave our conversations feeling like a failure and a disappointment. I get lectured about my life and told you just want me to be happy. But I don't think you want me to be happy, I think you want to be happy with my life choices that you deem worthwhile. I think you always try to define my happiness by your standards, and if you can't imagine being happy in my shoes then I can't possibly be truly happy!
I would like to say goodbye to you, but I am afraid to. What will be your last words to me? Will you lecture me, or make one last attempt to forcefully glue together the family? Will you tell me to reconcile with my abusive parents? Will it be all about you to the end? Or will you for even a moment see me and love me as I am. Is it possible for you to care enough for me that you can show me that you know I deserved better than how my parents have treated me? I don't believe that you dying is going to change your opinion of me. I believe that it will likely be a heartbreaking moment for me when I find that I have only confirmed things in your mind, or that I find you cannot bend at all. When were you planning on calling me to tell me that your health has deteriorated? Do you love me or care for me enough at all to want to call me to say goodbye? I don't know that you do and I am afraid to call you and find out.
And how do I even begin to say goodbye- we haven't ever been close because even in person you put a wall between us. You hardly know me, and it's felt like you never really wanted to. Even all the time you spent with me during my childhood I don't think you ever really saw me at all.