When you lose someone you didn’t love

Hello, my pretties! How are you all doing? Well, I hope!

I’m doing as well as one can be during this current situation, and I’m back here to share a little reflection with you all!

My father’s mother (I hesitate to call her my grandmother) passed away a week ago. It was a surprise, even though I knew she was sick. I think we never expect anyone to actually die, no matter how much we know the person is sick and it’s only a matter of time. Other than the surprise, though, I didn’t really feel much. I felt bad for my father and his siblings, and the other grandchildren who had a much closer relationship with her.

My brother and I were always kind of pushed aside because she didn’t like my mother. That alone always made me wary and uncomfortable around her. Even the attempted gestures of affection felt fake. I remember the day when she basically said “not you” when she called all of the grandkids to come sit near her. At that point, I mentally disowned her. What else could I do?

During the next years, I was forced into a relationship with her, because I was a minor and none of my parents would take no for an answer. My visits happened like this: I’d come in, greet everyone, grandma would sometimes leave her room for seconds, say hello and go back into her room. I’d sit on the couch chatting with my grandpa (he was actually nice to me and I loved hearing his stories from his years as a police office in the 50s) for a couple hours, and then hear her complain that I was going home so soon.

The last straw was definitely when she tried to give me an aspirin after I had told her I couldn’t have it (I’m allergic) and she tried to insist I was making it up. I was about 13, and I had enough after that. I still went through the motions, but whatever love was there just faded out at this point. After I moved out of my home town and to where I live now, I went no contact. It just felt easier then, because I couldn’t be forced to visit or call anymore.

When she passed, I will have to admit I felt… nothing. I didn’t feel like I had lost a grandmother, because I didn’t have one in her. But I wonder what that makes me. Am I evil? Heartless? Cold? I don’t know. It’s hard to figure out. It’s not flattering to admit that I felt relief, not grief.

Oh, well. If you want to share your thoughts, please do! I’m open to anything!

See you on the next post!

18 thoughts on “When you lose someone you didn’t love”

  1. Yes, when relatives play favourites, it is usually the kids that pay the price. We are dealing with an ailing father that is a lot like that. He always needs somebody to love and somebody to hate. Most times, we are on the latter side, despite the fact, we are the only ones who do his bidding. So, I guess, we are more employees, than family. Stay well Jay. Allan

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m so sorry about that! I think it’s so much harder when it’s one generation up. It’s not particularly easy to disown a grandparent, but I can imagine how much harder it is when it’s a parent. I don’t get why people can’t just leave the people they don’t like alone. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this situation, and I hope it’s not too hard on you! Stay well too and take good care of yourself!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Why would you feel something for someone you have no connection with, or worse still, that you did not get along with? I had an uncle that I had 0 connection with. When he died, I only felt bad for my aunt. I had no bad feelings about him being gone. I didn’t really like the guy. He didn’t think much of me, either, as far as I could tell. He was family, so I would help out and be there as needed. But make no mistake, beyond the family thing, I had no feelings for him or against him. Why would that make me a bad person? So, why would not having feelings for someone that treated you poorly at times make you a bad person?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly question myself a lot about this. Living in Latin America, familial expectations are very strong. Even when family members – especially older ones – are pretty horrible to you or don’t give two shits, you’re expected to “honor” them, and all that implies. It makes me feel like I’m a bad grandchild that I didn’t shed one tear and – honest – that my first thought was “phew, no more people trying to force me to reconcile”. But I have a weird outlook on things, and the “but faaaaaamily” thing doesn’t sit too well with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess I can understand the cultural issue of all this for you. But keep in mind THAT is the reason you feel bad. It is not because you are a bad person. It is because of the “built-in” expectation that you think people – including yourself – have of you.
        I have gone through a similar thing with my family surrounding my moving away from my hometown. It was never expected that I would leave St. Louis. Then it was never expected I would be gone long after moving to DFW. I have been in DFW for nearly 26 years.
        Now the honest truth of it is that I didn’t expect to be gone too long, either, but that is a different line of thinking for a different discussion. But the family expectation was something I have had to come to terms with. I can’t deny that I felt a little guilty about leaving the family to make my way in the world. But that guilt has been reconciled. I am not a bad person for doing what I thought and felt I needed to do to make a life for myself and MY family. My mother and father told me as much a few years after I moved away. They did not like that I was so far away, but they were happy and proud that I made my life decisions and have had some degree of success in life.
        The truth is that I miss my hometown… terribly sometimes – so does my wife. We would have moved back years ago if we thought that we could have achieved the life we have here and now while living there. But we know that is and was not possible. I no longer feel guilty about that, either. I and my family have done well living in DFW.
        Looking further ahead in life, there is now a future possibility of getting back into that part of the country, closer to Home if you will. If and/or when the opportunity presents itself, I will be ready and will step through that door. My wife agrees.
        See? We don’t all march to the beat of the family/cultural drum. I don’t see how that makes us bad people. Different from the norm maybe, but not bad.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you so much for that. That was actually a part of my disconnecting from relatives, as I moved away from home as well. The difference was that my parents moved as well (or I moved too, because they thought of moving first). It just worked out this way. The chance came up, I had always wanted to move here, and things just fell into place. I confess I don’t have such a strong attachment to family because they’re family, blood or not. I have an attachment to the people I like, related or not.

          It is a bit strange when you know what the expectations are and you don’t follow them, but then again, I suppose it’s part of adulthood and becoming your own person… I’ll have to think more about that!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel guilt when someone I know dies and, because I really wasn’t close to them in life, I feel nothing. I think it stems from the fact that most of us don’t know what to do or say after someone dies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so true. I never really know what to say. The usual expressions feel so empty. I’ve taken to offering a tight hug and asking what the person needs/wants from me, and then doing that. I’m not sure it’s the best course of action, but it’s the best I can offer without feeling fake.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think you’re heartless; you had no real relationship with her, so you can’t expect to grieve her the way someone who might have had a closer bond would do so. I think just being there for your family members who are having a tough time with it is fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Elizabeth! <3 You're right, that's what I have been trying to do. It's hard to admit you're not sad when someone has passed, but it is what it is. I hope you're doing fine! How's your mom?

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  5. You’re definitely not heartless. Relationships are complicated, and even though it’s widely expected, we don’t automatically feel close with people we’re related to. And that’s okay, especially when the person in question is cruel or indifferent to us. Boundaries are great to have in those circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Lucy! I really appreciate your kindness! It is true that relationships are complicates, especially when they involve family! How are you? Taking good care of yourself and staying safe? Socially distanced hugs! <3

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t feel bad about it. Emotions are always complicated and you have no obligation to feel anything for anyone. It doesn’t matter if it is family, people get what they give out. You’re not heartless, you only react to what she did. Peace in the heart is what we all should feel, please never feel guilty for reach your peace.

    Liked by 1 person

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