Amazing topic—so well timed for me too. I’m painting my Grandpa’s house. It’s the final transition in many ways. With each room, the house becomes my uncle’s, and as much as I’m sad to see this part of my G disappear, I am so excited for my uncle. He’s 57, and he’s never lived alone—and he’s certainly never made these kinds of fun decisions for himself. Which colours, what furniture stays and goes, new window treatments? It’s been quite an experience!
It’s also been extremely emotional. In spite of being really excited for my uncle, and really excited for me (I’ve been dreaming of painting this house since I was 20, it’s so lovely), I keep getting flashes of my G, the whole gamut, from two years old all the way to 44. It’s pretty amazing. I once just had to lay on the floor and cry. Our wee Molly (the dog), just appeared beside me and stood there (magic by the way, because she’s deaf). Pretty sure that is the definition of holding space—just stand there looking cute as hell until the other person gets themselves together. It was so awesome. When the spasm resolved, I laughed just as hard…to which she sighed and walked out just as quietly.
Sad, then hilarious. Tears and then extreme pride for my uncle. Relief for me and my mum—this last “task” will set my uncle upright, and us free from managing it. Love for my G, this home was literally the meaning of his life, everything he dreamed of and worked for. His love for my Nana, how she looks so much like my mum, and how their friendships were so much like mine with my own parents. And now to see how parents literally funnel everything they have into their children—how this is true for my Dad, especially as he struggles lately. It’s existential aching bliss.
So how does your post resonate Sabine, my excellent friend? My mum’s family’s passive aggressive/teaching social style, and its tendrils into every millisecond of interaction, create such anger and imbalance in me. This is perhaps the best painting job I’ve ever done, and I know that. The minute my uncle walks into the room and asks a question, or points at something—or my mum makes a snide comment about my social style (happy by the way, non-mofo-chalant), and how my uncle doesn’t understand it, so I better clean up my act….quite like how you describe your feelings about the long silence between you and your friend. There’s some evidence there is a problem, but what is really true? Is it only in my head? Do they really think about me what I think they are inferring? Or is it my insecurity?
What did I do? Could I do something different, better? Am I wrong? Am I right, verging on freaking righteous?! I’m about to explode half the time. Or walk out! Several times a day (when I’m not busy lying around on the floor crying or fuss-assing over some impossible imperfection), I have to talk myself out of the neighbour’s tree.
This is such an amazing experience (of yours!) that confirms my experience. I finally poked around to see what was true. My uncle is over the moon with happiness, and my mum is over the moon with grief. He’s ecstatic to move forward with his life, and she is heartbroken to see her childhood home become something new. I can get on board with that. It’s not about me. Their weird—and my weird—is a product of habit and close people under stress.
The coolest part is that what is about me, is a new interaction with my G. I cannot explain this, but it’s happened enough times now. It’s like he borrows my consciousness to show me something he thinks is beautiful—the mist in the trees, the peonies, the way the wind sounds—and it becomes amplified, yet still. Yesterday, while taking down the mirror in the living room (that has been there my entire life), I saw a flash of myself in the mirror. I’m less than a year old I think, and G is holding me up to see my reflection. The feeling of intense love is overwhelming. I can only understand it as I am feeling Grandpa’s love for me, inside me, in my heart, like I am having his memory, and he is showing me how important I am at the same time. It’s like a lesson.
Imagine if instead of feeling our own inadequacy or guilt or should about our friends and loved ones, we just felt how much they love us. Pure. Simple. True. The entire world would begin to resonate—thus proceed—from that exquisite bond that is possible between human beings.
That’s what your post means to me. So much love.