Anniversaries of sad events can be very difficult on those involved. Our family was no exception last year for the one year anniversary of Jeanne and Mike's death. The accident was devastating to our family and trying to mark that day was extremely difficult. For K and I it was even more challenging because we had E and M to consider. Others in my family wanted us to stop completely and make the entire day about remembering. K and I came at it differently. A, D and M had soccer games that day and all of them didn't want to miss them. A was playing another boy from his class and M's team was going to wear arm bands in remembrance and she felt she wanted to be part of that. We also felt like we didn't want to sit around all day being sad. Our plan was to let the kids play in their games, have a family mass later in the afternoon, and then a family dinner at our house.
C and her husband were pretty vocal about what they thought we should do. They wanted a morning or early afternoon mass and then a picnic at a local park that Jeanne and Mike loved. This plan fell right in the middle of the kids' games. They were pretty harsh about our decision and forcing us to make the kids choose, like they needed to learn some sort of lesson. Awful things were said on both sides. C and I argued on the phone like we had never done before. She threatened to not show up at the dinner at our house. I spent most of the days leading up to the event not eating, physically ill and a basket case. I honestly don't know how I got through it.
But we did get through it. We worked out a compromise and it turned into a nice day. This year we are all in a much much better place emotionally. The kids are more settled. We got through it last year and we'll do it again this year. Knowing that helps immensely. This year, the anniversary falls on a Monday. C had the great idea that we should meet at the same park and do a balloon release. The kids can be late for school (or even not go). We think it will be a wonderful, tangible way to remember them for both the adults and kids.
I sent an email out yesterday throwing out the suggestion and also bringing up a few other ideas for this fall, including a family photo shoot. Other than C, there has been absolutely no response. CA, however, decided to call C last night to express her reservations. According to CA, MG's therapist feels like the balloons are a terrible idea. Huh? She claimed all kinds of behavior issues with MG that are tied to the fall, etc. and that something like this would trigger the trauma for her. Given CA's history of lying, I just don't buy it and I can't imagine her therapist (who I know very well) would make that statement. CA is almost trying to erase Jeanne and Mike from the little girls. Honestly, I don't think CA and KM want to be there and they're using the girls' issues as the reason. More and more, CA is moving the girls away from us. I don't understand why. They are talking about not being here for Thanksgiving and spending it at their cabin in West Virginia. The girls need to be together!! They can't be together daily, but they should be there for holidays.
I know that the fact that CA is a lesbian has shaped her relationship with our family. I know that she has felt on the outside. But our family, and C and I in particular, have never treated her and KM any different. My parents have accepted them as a couple.This is huge for a conservative, Catholic couple. For goodness sake, we were all open to having them take the little girls. I just wish that she would be more open to relaxing a bit and letting go of some of her resentments towards the rest of the family.
At the same time, I wish that MG and KT weren't with them. To be completely honest, I don't think it is the best thing for MG and KT. It's not what Jeanne and Mike would have wanted. If S had taken them, they would be 5 minutes from their sisters. From comments made over the weekend to S and C, we are all doubting whether they are going to even be raised Catholic. In front of M, CA called KT a brat. M got so upset and told her not to say things like about her sister. She continues to dress the girls in clothes that are too small despite our best efforts to get them clothes that fit.
I wish that we could have taken them. We just can't.
Putting myself in their shoes, I know how hard this has been on CA and KM. They didn't want kids. They are now taking care of the kids of two people who completely rejected their relationship. On practical levels, they have no idea what they are doing. I get that. What I don't get is their continued rejection of our family in their attempts to solidify their new family. In the long run, it's only going to hurt MG and KT, let alone E and M.
I've tried to let go of a lot of anger I have towards my younger sisters. We've spent the last year rebuilding those relationships. It's not perfect, but it's better. I want to be able to release my frustrations with CA too, but it's hard to balance that with my gut feelings about being advocates for MG and KT. Moreover, her actions have direct impacts on our household. Her decisions with the little girls are so upsetting for E and M. It feels like if I release my frustrations with CA, I'm abandoning MG and KT.
There has to be a solution to the CA problem. I just don't see it right now. I've already lost one sister, I don't want to lose another.