This is my Grandpa on my mom’s side, Slim, the first male figure in my life. He was 6’7″ and a gentle bear of a man. A glazier by trade, he also grew fruit trees and made jams. The summer we lived in an 18 foot trailer during record breaking heat he rescued us from the heat and our parents. On our way to his mountain home he bought us Starburst candy and rented Beta video tapes. We played with his kissing dolls and made friends with the daddy-long-leg spiders all over the house.
I didn’t know until I was an adult that my Grandpa had an evil stepmother whose emasculation and emotional abuse eventually drove his brother to suicide. Because my family didn’t talk about the past or who came before. We didn’t have traditions or legacies that anyone tried to pass on. My ancestry is a blank beyond my grandparents.
My Grandmother on my Mom’s side was a victim of incest by her older brother for years. Her family knew and did nothing about it.
My Mom’s birth parents were a teen prostitute and her pimp. We can only imagine what their home lives were like that would lead to such choices.
My Mom was not abused by her parents, but she did suffer from not being chosen by them in ways. Which makes sense since they were both abused children who grew up in a time those things weren’t spoken about. She carried traumas from her teen years for her whole life as far as I know. She couldn’t seem to get over the past. Nor would she come to truly love herself. I don’t know the sources of her mental illness, whether nature or nurture or both, but I know about epigenetics and how we carry pain forward. I believe the pain she carried, both body and soul, was related to the unresolved traumas of her parents and their parents and on, both birth and adopted. And so it’s on me to heal as much as I can.
I think about that now with my birth son. It hadn’t occurred to me that 4 parents not only means that much love, it also means that much inherited trauma if we don’t clean up our ancestral lines. Fortunately going through the Alive program to heal our fracture set us in the right direction.