Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To Be Shunned...

This post is deeply personal. Most people would wonder why it would be. They probably assumed this blog was simply about writing...well mostly it is. Anyone who has ever written a blog, a novel, a poem or even painted a picture will tell you it's like putting your inner most dealings out there for people to see. However, Aaron Patterson summed it up the best. (yes Aaron is my publisher...however it's not brown nosing when it's brilliance)

So as this Christmas season approaches I find myself thinking of family and Christ. Well that led me to this post. My family is 2,000 miles away. It's fine really we have Skype. However, I had another family ,briefly. My bio should clear up any background info missing for anyone.

My father was never a part of my life. My mother's family is all I really know...having me at 17 even in 1982 wasn't exactly accepted yet. Nonetheless, I was deeply loved and cherished by a mother, aunt, uncle and loads of extended family. Most especially by my Granny and Paw Paw. I was like their later in life baby. They had experience, patience and money...they spent loads of all three on me. I guess that's why it hurt so bad when my other grandparents (Nanny and Pa) shunned me.

When I was thirteen I found and contacted my father. He agreed to meet me at a local fast food restaurant and we had a lunch where he proceeded to tell me that my mother was a whore in high school and I could be his daughter. (This was pretty upsetting considering I was looking into my own eyes.) I have two siblings by this man and from what I can tell I wasn't missing out on much.

Fast forward 5 years to my graduation day. I am 18. I send a letter to my father's parents Nanny and Pa. They write me back and say that I could quite possibly be their grandchild and they had heard about me before. However, no one had ever contacted them so they were just waiting. (This should have been my first warning.)

I meet them. They are welcoming and loving...although very different than what I knew. It didn't matter. I had been taught to be tolerant and open minded about everyone. So we develop a relationship over a few years. We spend holidays together and they get to know my children and husband. 

Now we enter 2003...I converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with my husband. My father's parents are devout Church of Christ. I was so elated to share a testimony of our Savior that they were some of the first people I told. Nanny invited me to her home soon after to offer me a gift. It was a scripture bag...full of antimormon literature.
Imagine my joy is like a balloon full of life filling oxygen...and then imagine a one legged old woman with a butcher knife popping it to pieces. That's what if felt like. (Nanny lost her leg many years ago and now has a prosthetic.)

I quickly left and disposed of the literature. I wouldn't visit or return her phone calls after that either. Finally when I did answer the phone, she had the nerve of asking,"Have I done something to offend you?" I wanted to say How about I come burn a cross in your yard and then ask you the same thing. But I didn't. I did say that her pamphlets hurt and I had been taught you say what you think and ask what you want to know face to face. Her response was that she didn't even know anything about the church or what the pamphlets said. (!!!!!can you see the look on me face. bugeyed, mouth agape, eyebrows to the top of my forehead!!!!!)Then she proceeds to say she was scared because it all happened when that Elizabeth Smart girl was kidnapped. (Elizabeth Smart was the victim! She's a Mormon!!)

I haven't spoke to her for 6 years now. I think it was all just too much. To be shunned by your father and then to have his mother do it as well. I just walked away. I know it wasn't the Christlike thing to do. It wasn't about being Christlike it was about emotional survival. There's only so much "I don't want you." a girl can take from her family.

I have a cousin, an aunt and a sister on fb that are from that side. They are kind and interested in what I have going on in life. I even saw Pa out ,mostly at Kroger's getting gas, when I still lived in TN. He always, always was kind and asked about the kids and told me he loved us.

I have prayed for them and I'm happy to hear that there have been many blessings for them in recent years. Will I call them...no....will I send a letter or a card....maybe one day. Of course members of their family may see this blog and then tell them. Then it will be "We don't want you!" all over again.



  1. This is heart breaking, but i understand this feeling...i am a forever will be your family, even if the blood realtion is really watered down.

  2. I can feel your pain, Bri. My mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and rather than bringing us together, it is pulling us apart as we individually deal with her illness.

    Life goes on. And I'm learning a different way to be with my children so that their lives will be simpler.

    Merry Christmas