Thoughtful Thursday: Surprise
February 17, 2011
Since the downturn in my mother’s health, I’ve received several insights from my father. The confirmation of my parents’ infertility occurred several months ago. Another one I’ll talk about next week. A third was the biggest surprise of my life.
Before my grandfather died a couple of years ago, I had received many remarks about how unusual it was to be in my 30s and have four living grandparents (particularly since my maternal grandparents were quite old when they had my mother, who is the youngest of many many kids, and since my parents were not young when they had me).
My mother is estranged from certain parts of her family. I hadn’t seen my maternal grandparents since I was a toddler, but they were out there somewhere.
Apparently not! At least, not my maternal grandfather.
Recently, discussing my mother’s reaction to her health situation, my father happened to mention something about her reaction to the death of her father.
Before I was born.
I did not misunderstand the situation all these years, and I did not make up a grandfather. My mother absolutely led me to believe that he was alive. I used to draw him birthday cards when I was a kid. I distinctly remember seeing photos of me with him, but I guess that must have been some other old man.
My mother has done some very weird things over the years, but 40 years of pretending that someone was alive takes the cake. I knew that she liked to keep secrets, and I knew that she lives in denial of truths she doesn’t want to accept, but I never, ever imagined that she could do something like this.
She doesn’t deal well with confrontation, especially in her current state, so I’m not going to bring it up. I wonder, though, if my grandmother is alive, or if she’s been gone this whole time too. I also wonder what other surprises are out there that I never could have imagined.
Have you ever been truly surprised?