If you have read my posts/story about “Aftershocks” – you know this history of some family dynamics. Going back about 7 years. This was the last time JD’s uncle has been in our home – when JD went into treatment. And it’s been about 6 years since we have had any kind of relationship with JD’s uncle & his wife. There’s much history and pain from this relationship.
However, it would be a year this coming March when my daughter, a friend of hers and I took a vacation to CA and felt led to connect with his uncle and family. Our daughter felt very strong about wishing to put closure on some very emotional aspects of these past years.
So…..when Faith & I were in CA, we spent a full day with Lisa (wife of JD’s uncle) and then met up with his uncle and their children. It was a nice time, kind of strange in the fact that it seemed as if we just picked up where we left off since the last time we saw each other. However, nothing heavy was discussed during the first day. When we were back at their house, I just felt as if I truly didn’t wish to leave without addressing some major issues of the past hurts. So I asked if there would be a time to get together (without any of the children) to talk?
The next day they were having a small group meeting at their house, would love if I could make it and then we would have an opportunity to talk after. I agreed, and that’s what I did.
Had a very nice meeting with their small group and then afterwards the 3 of us sat and I explained in detail all the hurt they had caused, how their actions, decisions and the past situation had caused an extreme discomfort between us and our neighbors. All who were the 3 closest individuals in my life and meant so much to me over the years.
They had mentioned they didn’t really realize how much hurt they caused and were sorry. There was justification on their part (a kind of sorry….but……apology) and I left feeling, for the most part, better about our relationship than I had before arriving. But I have to say, as I discussed with JD, it seemed kind of superficial. I told JD, “I’m sure it will just take some time.”
The next morning, I received a call from Lisa and she was crying. She stated that she was so extremely sorry for what she did, realized how much pain she had caused and how her words much of the time can be so damaging. That this is something she has come to learn over the past years, and how this has affected and hurt so many individuals and this is something in which she is now aware and continues to ask forgiveness from individuals and work on. We talked for quite some time. A very good conversation. And at this point, I felt VERY good about the possibility of moving forward through past hurts. She even tried to contact JD to ask for forgiveness, but had to leave a message. Truthfully, JD didn’t want to take her call, so he didn’t wish to answer the phone. In the past, she had verbally attacked him so many times, he didn’t wish to partake in any conversations.
That was March of 2015.
At this time, we were also on a speaking level with our neighbors. February of 2013, I also decided to start to put the past in the past and act on the forgiveness that I know I needed to extend. So during a winter party, an annual event on our lake, which just so happened to be hosted by our neighbors, was going to be taking place. I seriously DID NOT want to attend!! But I felt a nudging from the Lord to go. REALLY Lord? YES! In addition, during the week of the party, we received a call from our neighbors stating they hoped we would be able to attend. OKAY Lord!
So I went, along with our family…..with trepidation! I walked right up to JS and said, “Hi!” Which she responded and we hugged and said we missed each other. Then talked for a little while, but only about non-confrontational subjects. Actually, to date, we have not talked about anything indepth, just casual conversations. But at least not an all out avoiding-awkward silence.
Now I’m going to fast-forward to June 2016 and my daughters graduation.
Before Faith’s graduation party, JS gave Faith a graduation present and said they wouldn’t be able to attend the party because her and husband were traveling to Europe to meet up with their oldest daughter, who had been traveling in Europe for the past 5 weeks. They would cross paths the last 2 days of her travel and they would be staying a week longer than their daughter, getting back into town the day of our daughters graduation party. No problem. Learned of this through conversation with JS, among other kid related conversation I had with JS. Again, casual conversation as you would have with a neighbor.
So……as we are setting up for the grad party, a gentleman, whom we have never met comes over and says, “Hi, I’m Richard, I’ll be your new neighbor for about a week!” I’m like…..hugh? He then proceeded to let me know he was a college friend of our neighbors who will be staying next door, taking care of the dogs while they are away. He was actually going to be picking JS and her husband up at the airport that evening, arriving back from their time in Europe and then turning around to take them back to the airport early in the morning to meet up with their children in Arizona for their family vacation.
I replied, “Really?”
He proceeeded to tell me, “Yeah, their children had left for the family vacation before them and they are meeting up with them to go on some houseboat trip.”
My reply, “Oh yes, the trip that they continue to take with our family members, the one in which we first invited them on and the trip in which we had part ownership in.”
Awkward silence! I mean, once again, I’m stunned – I’m speechless!! I’m once again bugged. But I had more important things to pay attention to and do – like my daughter’s graduation party!
JD’s Mom (sister of uncle B) was at the graduation party and we happened to be in conversation about the awkward situation that just occurred. She informed us that she was told by uncle B that during our visit to CA in March, we agreed to disagree! OUCH! Yet again, another blow!!!! We agreed to disagree? What part of the conversation did we agree to disagree on? Was I a part of the same conversation? Holy smokes – here we go again! NOT! I know I’m maturing in my old age when I can “let it go” a whole lot sooner and not let it affect me to the degree it has in the past. Just move on. Adjust accordingly. Pay attention to what is most important in my life right now!
However…….this affects my daughter differently. She reacts differently.
She decided to text them a short conversation my youngest son (7 y/o) had with me regarding this.
My son: “Mom, why does uncle B and Lisa like the neighbors more than us?”
Me: “Oh sweetie, I don’t think that’s the case. It’s not that they don’t like us, we just have some disagreements?”
My son: “I thought family was suppose to be closer and care more about us?”
She followed with: that’s from the mouth of a 7 year old!
Lisa responded with: Maybe the heart of a young boy can bring healing to all of us.
(S.E.R.I.O.U.S.L.Y? – You are going to use my son in this?!)
At which point, Faith did a final text to Lisa:
Lisa, After talking in CA, I was under the assumption that you finally understood the pain we have felt from the situations in the past. I opened myself up to you guys and extended forgiveness. I left feeling better than I had in a long time about our relationship and it gave me great joy. But yet again you hurt my family with your actions. I have boundaries that I must set for myself and my family as you have made it clear that you will continue to do what suits you at the cost of the hurt my family feels. You are my family and I love you but I need to protect myself and my family first.
Upon returning from this vacation, I received the following IM from Lisa:
Hi Alli, my heart, mind & soul is tender and I would love to talk with you. Are you available sometime soon? Alli I love you, like you & I miss you. In spite of what you may “feel”.
I DID NOT respond. I HAVE not responded!
In the past few months, there has been contact. Uncle B was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has surgery. JD & Uncl B, as well as myself, have had several conversations and contact and been in mutual prayer – as well as individual prayer. Life events always do this! JD & his uncle have been in touch quite a bit. Praying and talking and praying! But nothing about the past. It does appear the surgery was successful in removing all the cancer! Praise the Lord!
So……..fast-forward to TODAY!
A week ago, we were contacted by uncle B to let us know they were going to be in town for a wedding and would like to get together.
This will be the first time in 7 years since uncle B was here in our home. The last time was when he flew in to help with JD going into treatment. Six years since the whole situation had started. Less than a year since Faith & I visited in CA. I really don’t know what to expect! JD’s parents are also coming to visit. I am in serious prayer over this!
Faith doesn’t want to be here. We had a long conversation about it. She is still so very hurt, angry and has a lot of resentment. We talked in great detail about this and how she/we need to release this to God! These feelings will ultimately take a deeper root in her and it’s very unhealthy. But I do understand and I will respect whatever decision she makes. She said she just doesn’t want to see them in our home. They have caused so much pain and pain involving our neighbors, that she doesn’t think they even deserve to be here. They have no right to. I told her that I would not tell anyone they were not welcomed in our home and we have no idea the plans The Lord has. Remember: God NEVER wastes a hurt! But if she doesn’t want to be here, I completely understand! I asked her if it would bother her to have them here if she is not? She said, “No, it wouldn’t, I just don’t want to see them!”
And I’m okay with that and I understand.