Following on from Family … (Absent)
So … yeah. My absent aunt got in touch. I feel like I should give you some background to our weird and strained relationship now. Ugh … Where do I start?
For my entire life, my mother and my nan (mum’s mum) have told me that I am the spitting image of my aunt. I was kinda named after her, and after seeing recent pictures of her (on Facebook), even I can see the striking resemblance. There’s definitely no paternity test needed here, that’s for sure. Her brother is definitely my real father, and she is definitely my aunt.
As well as looking like her, my mother has told me on a number of occasions that in the personality sense, I am exactly like my aunt. She’s got to be in her mid-forties now, and from what I can make out, she’s never been married. A bit of a crazy cat lady with a string of failed, and at times abusive, relationships. She was always a bit of drinker, as was my real father, and she might still be a bit of a party-gal now.
It seems as though me and this woman have a lot in common, and perhaps that’s why we seem to have clashed so much over the years. I was always told by my mother that all of HIS side of the family absolutely adored me, his parents and sister included. I think perhaps that clouded my view of how a reconciliation SHOULD have been, and when it didn’t work out quite the way I’d hoped, I was definitely more than a little disappointed.
I started talking to my absent aunt around the same time I started talking to my absent grandmother – 14 years of age, totally hiding it from my parents. We didn’t talk for a few years after my absent grandmother passed away (when I was 15/16), up until I found my father on the internet one night using 192.com (or whatever it was back then), totally by fluke. I just typed his name in, I didn’t seriously expect to find something. When I did, I called the number. I was 18 I think, and we stayed in somewhat regular communication – me, my real father, and my absent aunt – for a year or so. We’d exchange letters, text messages and phone calls, but the communication soon started to dwindle. By the time I got married, not far off my 20th birthday, we barely spoke at all. My real father sent me flowers, and I’m sure we haven’t spoken since then. That was 10 years ago.
I’m also pretty sure that was around about the time that my absent aunt and I stopped talking too, and that’s what made her friend request on Facebook yesterday so shocking. How out of the blue? How … cowardly? I’m her niece – a niece she’s never met – yet she just sent a friend request? Not even a damn message, just a friend request?
This woman has NEVER been in my life. Her brother walked out on my mother and I, and neither her or her bloody mother (my absent grandmother) did a damn thing about it. They didn’t even help me to find him later on. They knew where he was … how could they not have done? It was their son and brother … This all seems so damn strange.
I had a little stalk of her Facebook before I sent her a message this morning and clicked ‘ignore’ on the friend request. She’s not friends with my real father, but I don’t think he’s on Facebook. I know my real father’s wife is, but she never seems to use or update her page. My aunt isn’t friends with her brother’s wife.
Moving aside from that, I know that my real father had children with his wife, and ten years ago they were about 4 and 6 years old, or something like that – a boy and a girl. That means that they’ll be coming up to 14 and 16 years old (ish) … Those kids knew about me back then, and I spoke to them on the phone a couple of times. They’re my brother and sister, albeit half-brother and sister. If they knew about me back then, wouldn’t they know about me now? And wouldn’t they want to find me? I know when I was that age I wanted to find out all about those parts of me I never knew – my father’s side. If they are half as inquisitive as I am, surely they’d be looking for me? And if they were looking for me, it wouldn’t be that difficult to find me. My absent aunt found me after all … Oh, and for the record, she’s not friends with my half-brother and sister either. I checked. This was once a close family unit. Or at least, it apparently was when I was born. The family all rallied around for each other, and now they’re not even friends on Facebook … ? None of them? What the fuck?
For years I’ve managed to keep a lid on this stuff – the family I once longed to know. But all those times I mentioned meeting up … they never once agreed to it. When I was in contact with my absent grandmother, she kept telling me that we would meet up one day, but that one day never came. And then she died. My absent aunt and I kept saying we would meet up and go drinking together and that never happened. My father and I … Well, every time I suggested us meeting up he said no. Not “no” as such, but there was always a reason why it couldn’t happen.
It’s fine, I get it. I’m not part of that family. I don’t belong. It’s cool. I’m 30 years old now, I know the drill. I’m not stupid enough to think that’s going to change now. Plus, even if it did change, I’m not letting them in my life now. Any of them. It’s been 30 years. Almost 31. They’ve had ample opportunity to say and do whatever they needed. They would have been proud of me and all the crazy things I’ve accomplished, my real dad especially, but they don’t have the right to be proud. They’ve had NO part to play in my life, and worse than that, they left my damn mother to fend for herself. That man didn’t pay maintenance to my mother. He got away scott-free. To start a REAL family with his new wife. My mother has NEVER recovered from that.
In case you’re wondering, this is what I sent to my absent aunt:
Hi, and thanks for the friend request. I think it would be best if we didn’t try to be “friends” again. Each time we try this, I’m the one who ends up hurt and upset wondering why ‘daddy and his family’ didn’t want me. I’ve tried repeatedly to make contact with all of you over the years, and it’s never really gotten me anywhere. It’s evident there will be no family meeting. If there was, it would have happened all those times I banged my head against a brick wall before. I hope you are all well, but I won’t be putting myself through the “why don’t they love me” drama anymore. That’s not what real family does, estranged or not, and some daddy issues don’t ever go away. The one where he and his family walks out on you is definitely one of them. Thanks, Mollie.
It was harsh, wasn’t it? I was filled with fury and rage when I awoke this morning, and I had to get it out. She got it. She was the first on my hit-list. I didn’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care if it made her cry, or if it breaks her heart. My heart has been breaking for 30 years because they ABANDONED me. How could you walk away from a blonde-haired, blue-eyed little baby like that? And trust me – my baby photos were DAMN cute. How could you? I’ve been in Bear’s son’s life for just 6 months and I already couldn’t imagine walking away from him. I wouldn’t have it in me to do that. It’s made me think about things with Jock and his step-daughter in an entirely different light, but that’s another topic for another day.
I have given those people – my so-called “family” – ample opportunity to come back into my life, to make up for the years of wrong. I asked questions, and instead of being given answers I was told, “I don’t want to talk about what happened back then,” or “I think that’s best left between me and your mother”. What a fucking cowardly way out?! It’s a bit fucking late to keep things between “me and your mother” when you bought a fucking daughter into the world. Who fucking says that?
Sorry, I’m swearing a lot. But I’m so angry! And I’m STILL not done rantin’.
All day this shit has been bugging me. Why would she have sent me a friend request? Is my Dad sick? Is he going to die? What happens if he dies? Could I really live with myself if he died and I’d never met him? Could I? If I’d never met a huge piece of my life – one whole person who helped to create me?
What if it was my real father’s father? My grandfather? He essentially refused to talk to me after my absent Grandmother and I fell out, and then she died. I don’t think he ever forgave me for the way it went down. Not that it matters because I don’t think I can forgive him for letting his son walk away from his daughter and her mother. What sort of man sits back and watches that happen? But he’s got to be getting on a bit now, and he could be close to the end. I’m sorry to be so blunt about it, but I don’t know how else to be. I thought this door had been shut forever but it’s not. It was re-opened when that women sent me a godamn friend request on Facebook.
Plus, if someone is sick (and I hope no one is, obviously), what the fuck was she doing sending me a friend request in the first place? Like … isn’t that sort of thing message-worthy? What was she going to do? Have a good ol’ stalk around my Facebook page before she decided whether or not to reveal the news? What right does she even have to request access to my Facebook page? It’s locked down and private for a reason. So people I don’t like can’t see what I’m up to. What fucking right does she have to pop up when I’m THIRTY to decide she wants a piece of the action? This is bullshit. And I’ve made up this entire scenario in my head where someone is dying and that’s the ONLY reason she could possibly have for wanting to get in contact with me again after all these years.
I’m just not so sure I should have told her to fuck off now, but I’ve said it so I’m going to stick by it. Plus, I’m sick of giving people all these chances I don’t think they deserve, and she’s had all the time in the world to try and make amends with me. I chase her for long enough. I chased them all.
But yeah, now my absent family have decided to rear their heads, and I’m not sure how I feel about it at all. Not that it matters because I sent her back that message anyway.
For the record, she read it and didn’t respond.
Opinions and helpful advice below. Please.