Revelations about my grandfather

When I went to visit my aunt this past weekend, I found out that my grandfather was, at times, physically abusive to his daughters. Of course the way that she told me this was amidst hysterical laughter.

I say of course, because well, if you knew my family, that’s the only way to talk about mind-bogglingly horrific things: laugh about it. The exception to this was once, when I was asking my aunt about my grandfather and his strictness, she begin telling me about a time when my mom and my other aunt were staying up late and goofing off and being too loud, and my grandfather came in, apparently having to be up for work early the next morning, and that he was really mad. My aunt got really serious then and her words trailed off thinking about whatever it was that happened. She grew silent, as though her thoughts were a million miles away. “I just felt so bad for her…” my aunt said, referring to my mom. I wanted to ask what happened, but didn’t feel like I could. All I could mutter was, “And he hit her?” And still with that faraway look in her eye, she mumbled yes.

I never had a clue. The fact that my grandpa would hit his daughters comes to me as a huge shock . It’s mind-boggling actually. She told me about how when they’d be driving along in the car on long distance road trips, my mom and my other aunt (who was closer in age to my mom than this aunt) would often fight in the back seat. She told me she wouldn’t like being in the middle of this fighting, so she would crawl into the space behind the back seat to get away from it. She told me, laughingly, that my grandfather – who would have his arm draped around the passenger seat where my grandmother sat – would unexpectedly start hitting the two girls (while driving, without letting his eyes off the road) to get them to stop fighting. Of course, I was a bit horrified by all of this. And how scary it must have been for my mom and her sisters. To never know when the arm that’s draped around the seat in front of you is going to punch you unexpectedly for being too loud or too rambunctious.

My aunt acted like this was the funniest thing that had ever happened. And by the way she told it, this was a regular occurrence. She was acting like his arm was like some living, breathing creature with a mind of its own (like in a sci-fi film), and the fact that it would start punching the two girls in the back seat seemed comical to her. It is just me, or is there really nothing comical in this whatsoever? Perhaps my aunt had to use humor to cover ___ (fill in the blank with a feeling), I don’t know…

 

This conversation with my aunt then got me thinking about something else I knew (or thought I knew) about my grandmother: the time she had a black eye. I don’t really remember it, rather I remember my mom telling the story about it over and over. How my grandfather had had a nightmare in his sleep. How he had punched my grandmother while she was fast asleep in bed. How, since he had been dreaming, had thought he was punching a “bad guy.” My mom would tell this story and laugh and laugh. It was my “how my grandmother got a black eye” story. And this was when she was already pretty old, and pretty sick, and pretty frail. I never thought twice about the story; until now. Now, knowing the things I do about my grandfather, I wonder. I wonder if perhaps the story of the hilarious black-eye mishap was actually much more grim than that.

I guess my mother didn’t have a picture perfect childhood after all…

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3 responses to “Revelations about my grandfather

  1. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems 😦 Maybe when you’re less upset you can take sometime to vent everything concerning your parents, then do a little bit of what you think the minds of your parents are really like. When you’re done, give it a few days and reread your thoughts. One sometimes misses something because so much time is spent raging over things without another review and because he/she took his/ her own words for granted.
    I did a vent concerning my mother and also looked at her mind without realising, and it made me less angry, although I’m certainly not a bundle of joy. This is only a suggestion. Take care!!! <3<3<3

    • I’m going back and forth about keeping this post public. I made it private for a while then made it public again. I’m obviously having conflicting feelings about all of it.

      I don’t know why, but for some reason this information about my grandfather is having a huge impact on my system. I didn’t realize until after I wrote the post that much if not all of the inner turmoil that’s been happening this week is somehow related to this news. I don’t know why though. Why I’m having such a strong reaction I mean. After I posted this post, I started switching like crazy, and ended up curled up on top of my bed, sucked into the vortex of my mind, probably for hours I don’t know. So it triggered something…

      As far as venting about my parents… Well I’m wondering why you are suggesting this? Do I seem angry at my parents? As far as I can tell, I don’t have any anger toward my parents, or at least any anger that I’m connected to – most of it seems to be dissociated away in other parts of my mind. So it would be hard to do a vent about them honestly… I don’t feel they’ve done anything wrong. I think they did the best they could with me and I believe I’m at peace with that. I don’t know, other parts of me might feel differently though!!

      xx

      • Sometimes it does appear that you’re a little angry at them. There are times when issues we think we’ve dealt with are actually lying in wait to pop out. So who knows, maybe there are some in the system who are angry and it’s filtering into your emotions.
        In the case of your grandfather, maybe it’s possible that you’re wondering if things regarding him weren’t as obvious as they appeared. When an incident or action occurs that we don’t expect from the people we respect, subconsciously and consciously things happen that change our views of them. While you may have think you have a handle on this aspect of his character, there are probably others in the system who are wondering what else is not as it appeared. I hope all of you find some tranquility soon <3<3<3

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