I’m estranged from my maternal side of the family, save my Great Aunt Ellen, and Great Uncle Bill, who are two of the sweetest people anyone could ever hope to meet, even though they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Uncle Bill kills me, he’s so fucking funny. And Aunt Ellen, she’s so kind and soft spoken. I asked my mother recently what the fuck had happened to her mother, because Grandma is so cold. Grandma truly was cut from an entirely different cloth. When my mother was a child, she wished Aunt Ellen was her mother; and Aunt Ellen told mother recently that had she know how bad my mother’s life was growing up, she would have taken my mother away from her sister–my grandma. I don’t feel badly that my daughter doesn’t know her Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Standen. They were shit parents to my mother, and my uncles (but mostly my mother), and utter shit human beings. I could wake up tomorrow and learn that one, or both of maternal grandparents have died, and not feel a single sting of sadness.
Sometimes my mother reminds me that I was close to them while I was growing up; they used to take me on vacations to the U.P., and we’d be gone for days. But I was a child then, who didn’t know the whole story of the abuse my mother lived through at their hands–and their religion. For awhile, as a child, I attended services with my grandparents at their Kingdom Hall. Now, I cannot think of a good reason why my mother (and father) allowed these people to influence me with their cultist faith for so fucking long; I was at least ten years old before my parents had put an end to the attempted brainwashing. My baby sister (five years younger than me), thank whoever, or whatever-the-fuck, never had to suffer the religion.
I think my dad, for a while, was like, “This is my wife’s shit, and I’ll let her handle it.” And my mother thought, “If I let them have Kindra, they will forgive me.” At some point, my parents actually talked to another, and amicably decided that I was in danger.
Around the time my parents decided to cut me off from all Jehovah’s Witness activity, my mother’s baby brother and his girlfriend came to stay with us. At first it was convenient, given my mother and dad’s work schedules. Tara and I were left home at night with Uncle Keith and Dawn. Uncle Keith was abusive; he would beat Dawn, but it wasn’t Uncle Keith who would ask me to keep quiet. Dawn always begged me and Tara to not tell our parents. Keeping secrets made me and my sister ill. We quit eating properly; we became withdrawn. I suppose a lot of people would think that a mother and father who worked ridiculous hours would never notice something was wrong with their children. My parents were extraordinary. After months of fuck uppery, my dad insisted Uncle Keith and Dawn get the fuck out his house.
Funny, this post was supposed to be about me and Grandma DeMott. I stopped to Grandma on my way to Dad’s; I brought her a copy of my novel. I thought I was bringing her a surprise, but in the middle of our bear hug she asked, “That’s my book, isn’t it?”
Of all the books I’ve sold–of all I’ve given away to friends and family, nothing beats giving a book to my Grandma DeMott. The way she held it in her hands today…like something precious. And what’s the most important, she said, “I’m so happy you found your niche in life.”
Growing up, Grandma (and Grandpa) DeMott always made me feel like I was the most mostest. And at nearly 39 years old, my grandma still makes me feel like a kid with all the potential in the world. She’s sharp as gourmet knife at 81. She’s beautiful and as sweet as sixteen year old girl. I love her endlessly..
So I left Grandma’s and went to my dad’s. I gave him a book, too…
My dad is not one to say outright that he is proud of me. (I think he always wanted boys) I only know in his hugs, and the way he looks at me…the way he’s always looked at me…
My dad is proud…