In my past, I never considered emotional healing, something I could use for good in my life. I guess I always thought of emotional healing as the necessary evil to all the random crap that life dealt me. You see, I’ve been through enough rough patches to get that everything tough in life requires emotional healing.
If you still think that bottling your crap up is the preferred method of emotional healing, then you most likely missed a huge object lesson that happens when you try to open a soda that was just shaken up. Don’t act like High School Science wasn’t your thing. It wasn’t my thing either, but I still got that object lesson.
Now that I have your attention, I have another object lesson for you. Let’s call it the story of the black sheep.
Memoirs of a black sheep
I was the second grandchild on my dad’s side of the family, but I was the first granddaughter. The reality since my dad was one of five Grandma Precious was getting new grandkids as fast as baby bunny rabbits. Before I knew it, I was 1 of 6 granddaughters.
As time went by, I noticed that Grandma Precious had more pictures of all the other girls & very few pictures of me. In my child's mind, I remember looking at all these pictures of my cousins feeling hurt & unloved. I would ask myself what I did wrong that Grandma didn’t love me like she loved the others. I rationalized this by saying it was my mom’s fault. She didn’t give Grandma pictures & my aunts were certainly better at these types of womanly tasks.
It didn’t stop with Pictures. All throughout our high school years, Grandma Precious would do things one on one with the others like go to the movies or attend their junior high or high school sports games.
I have one single memory of doing something by myself with my Grandma. I was in 4th grade & there was a half-day at school. For some lame reason, I’m sure my mom wasn’t able to get me from the bus. So, Grandma Precious did.
This memory is so valuable in my mental memory box that I can tell you I wore a jean skirt, cream tights, black flats & a lavender sweater. I dressed up for my Grandma. I HATED skirts at that age. The best part of the memory was eating frozen yogurt at TCBY for lunch.
Through Adult Eyes
At some point in my 20s, I stopped caring that I wasn’t the most loved grandkid. I’m not sure that I was every “ok” with that, but I stopped mentally resenting Grandma Precious for spending more time with the others.
We were at a family gathering at her house. It was probably Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, I can’t remember all the little details of my life.
Grandma Precious cornered me in the yard & then said she needed ME to do something. She added that I was the only one in the family that could “fix” it. At that moment, time stood still in my head & my sarcastic monologue said, “Really lady, did you forget I’m the black sheep. Are you messing with me?”
Out of respect for an old person, I let her go on, she explained that I needed to talk to my Aunt Anne Marie. I needed to help her. Grandma Precious went on to tell me that she had tried everything she could & nothing that she could do was helping her baby girl, but she knew in her heart that I could help.
You see, my Aunt and I had both been recently divorced. Grandma Precious witnessed us both experience the trauma that divorce smacks you with. She also saw us both attempt to put our lives back together slowly.
The reality was that my Aunt was stuck in her emotions. He was hurt, angry & felt abandoned. So, I did as Grandma Precious asked. & made a point to spend more time with My Aunt. I did all that I could to help “fix” her.
My eyes were opened.
While grieving Grandma Precious’s death was fresh, I remember having a conversation with my dad about her. From my perspective, they had a close relationship & he was definitely a much-loved son.
He corrected me & said she didn’t spend much time with me in childhood or in early adulthood (much like me). He went on to say she made the right call & that there were others in the family that needed her support more that he did.
That was the moment I realized that sometimes loving someone doesn’t mean holding their hand through everything. Sometimes