Will you attend?

by Esmeralda 14 Replies latest jw friends

  • Esmeralda
    Esmeralda

    Yesterday afternoon the phone rang, and the voice of my 81 year old grandmother met my husband's
    ear. I didn't know it was her at first. I actually thought, from his answers, that it was a telemarketer.

    "Mmm hmmm. Mmm hmmm." he said softly. "I...appreciate that but...no, really, thank you...thanks Grandma,
    I'm not interested but, I appreciate the...her? No I don't believe so but...oh...you want to ask her yourself? Ummm, okay..hold on."

    He handed me the phone, an eyebrow raised. He didn't even need to elaborate.

    "Hi baby, I was just calling because, well you know I don't want to offend you but I wondered
    if I could just drop off an invitation to the Memorial for you and Justin, it's next week you know..."

    "Sunday. Yes, I know Grandma." I said gently. "You know you're always welcome to stop by. Come
    by and have a cup of tea, we're home."

    "I won't stay long...just want to drop off the invitation because I love you honey and you know,
    this is the only thing Jesus asks of us to do..."

    "Mmm hmm. Come on by Grandma, I'll make tea."

    I never pass up an opportunity to see my Grandma. She is 81, after all.

    She came by a short time later, still dressed from the morning meeting. She's getting shorter every year, I swear. I'm tall anyway, but I had to bend down to kiss the top of her little gray, permed head. Her skirt was
    more than familiar to me: she wears clothes that are quite literally, older than I am. Meticulously preserved
    over the years, taking out her sewing machine to mend them from time to time. She won't spend money on
    clothes: all her available money goes in the Contribution Box.

    She came in but didn't take off her coat. She went into "presentation mode" and actually went
    through a presentation of a recent Awake magazine. Then she mentioned that she had actually
    worked in service with my daughter the day before (figures, my ex only takes her out on the 31st...
    the last day of the month! Have to get a couple hours in!)

    I gently took the invitation and the magazine and set them down. Then I went about making tea
    while she gave Justin the spiel: he just nodded politely.

    This is a man who's parents baptized him Catholicto please his grandmother, but was then never taken to church again. A man who just two years ago, went to Temple and wore a Yarmulke when he attended his cousin's bat mitzvah. He'll do a lot of kind things to smooth over the religious differences in his family, and mine.

    At first Grandma declined a cup of tea, but I made it anyway, and eventually she did take off her coat and we had a nice little visit.

    I felt a twinge of guilt when she told me that she put off her spring trip down south in the hopes that I might come to the event: that she wanted to sit with me. She restated that of course, it was totally up to me,
    etc etc. I didn't answer her one way or another, but I'd be lying if I said that the thought of
    going and sitting there, practicing meditation mantras in my head all the while just to make an old woman I adore happy didn't occur to me.

    As I sat there watching her drink her tea, loving her every little gesture (the way that only a grandchild can love
    a grandmother,) I realized how cruel that would be, to give her any false hopes of my returning to the organization.

    It wouldn't be kind to do that, it would get everyone all hopped up and then disappointed when
    nothing materialized.

    I talked to Justin about it afterward and told him that if he was curious and wanted to go,
    I wouldn't stop him. I have no fears of them converting him: He's far too scientific a person for that.

    He admitted that he, too, had considered for a moment going just to make Grandma happy (he adores her too) but agreed with me that it would raise hopes and that soon, the accounts of his conversion would be greatly exaggerated.

    She kissed our cheeks and went off on her way, but I thought about it for the rest of the day.

    Then, an interesting happening this morning.

    My ex, who wanted to keep Leah an extra night so that he could take her to the late memorial
    at his hall, has announced that he and his wife are taking an impromptu vacation. Leah will
    be with me now, with the exception of one mid-week evening, until after Easter Sunday.

    What an unexpected blessing! Could it be that I'll actually be able to prevent her from going at all this year?
    That would be so wonderful: they've really turned up the heat on her lately.

    Not that she's falling for it. She asked me recently, "Mom, how can they say there's gonna be
    a new world? How do they know that? No one knows."

    Smart kid, my little girl.

    So anyway...I'm now waiting for the phone to ring for my family to descend on me, wanting
    to pick her up and take her themselves, as they did last year when my ex and I were both
    sick at memorial time. We'll see. I still haven't seen or heard from my parents since our last
    run in...we'll see just how quickly they're ready to pick up the phone to preserve the
    interests of the cult...

    The next week will be interesting. I think that Justin and I should consider taking the phone off the
    hook and only returning voicemail at our discretion.

    Anybody else going through this stuff with their relatives? If so, my heartfelt sympathies.

    hugs to all
    Essie

    The Four Agreements:
    Be Impeccable With Your Word
    Don't Take Anything Personally
    Don't Make Assumptions
    Always Do Your Best

  • Tina
    Tina

    (((((((((ES)))))))))))))
    I have no grandparents for a long time,and miss em.......
    It's heartbreaking at times,isn't it?
    Your daughter is a little treasure there :>
    Mom's been tryin to call me,she sent a note!,but I think that's all it's for is the memorial,thos she did send cookies and treats for me-she can be so sweet when she wants to,,,,,if she does ask,I will have to gently refuse,as I have in the past.......the last time I went,about 4/5 yrs ago,I felt like such a hypocrite,,,,,,,,,I just can't do that anymore.......
    I ramble,thanks for sharing that!!! luv ya lil sis,Tina

  • expatbrit
    expatbrit

    Esmeralda:

    Firstly, I love reading your posts. Your descriptive abilities are delightful. Please keep 'em coming!

    My family checked up on me at the weekend to make sure I would be attending. I originally wasn't going to, but after getting some excellently reasoned advice from Outnfree, changed my mind. So I was able to say yes (and then change the subject with light speed!)

    It gives me a whole year to continue managing a hopefully quiet withdrawal without coming to a crunch point. Next year? Who knows.

    Do I feel like a hypocrite? A little, yes. Better a little hypocrisy now than the years of gigantic hypocrisy past. I hopefully purchase reduced pain in the future with a touch of frustration now.

    Sympathies to you and best wishes from a fellow ex-JW experiencing the family thing.

    Expatbrit

  • Kristen
    Kristen

    Es,
    You have such a gift of writing. Don't ever stop developing this part of yourself. When I read your posts, I feel like I am reading right out of a well-written book. I truly enjoy absorbing your experiences, as they hit so close to home for me too. Thank you for sharing this part of you with us.

    I don't know if you remember, but I was one of the few who tried to support your short-lived Mirc chat months ago. I had a difficult time coordinating with the group, but I did come once. Anyway, I'm really glad you are here and have a place to express yourself and the heavy burdens you bear with your family at times. You are so much further along then some of us, and it gives me hope that when the time comes, I will be able to handle whatever comes my way too.


    Kristen

  • NikL
    NikL

    I have to agree with Kristen!
    You are a wonderful writer! I felt all of the things you were describing even though my situation is a little bit different.
    Anyway, Thank you for a fabulous post! I enjoyed reading it very much.
    I wish you all the best,
    Nick

  • promqueennot
    promqueennot

    Es,

    Everyone above took the words right out of my mouth! You are a beautiful writer! It's like reading a really good novel that you can't put down until you get to the end.

    I think that's a good idea about letting your calls go to your voicemail. I guess I would probably go away for the weekend as well to avoid visitors. Whatever you decide, I wish you and your family well.
    Monica

  • Pathofthorns
    Pathofthorns

    Thanks for sharing your story. I too got the call from family. Sometimes it's hard not to get your hopes up when you haven't heard from them in a while, but when you look at the calendar and see the Memorial is only a week away, you realize the real reason for their call.

    I just thanked them for the call and told them i was aware of where it was to be held. This will be my first year not attending and to be sure, it sends a strong and definite message and should kill any hopes of me making any sort of "comeback".

    I have some friends who feel the same as Expatbrit, who figure, what's 45 minutes a year to keep family/elders off my back. I did that last year and I felt sick about the whole affair and can't do that again.

    As I try to come to grips with how I feel about these things and what they mean to me, I will probably mark the occasion privately, perhaps with a couple good friends. Eventually the occasion will likely become to me basically a reminder of what i was and where I came from and what I believed. And as I try to distance myself from that, I don't think it hurts to at least one day of the year to stop and reflect on these things.

    Path (it's always good to see u Kristen )

  • joelbear
    joelbear

    My mom is 75 and my dad is 78. I told my mom a few weeks ago that I would think about going to the memorial and I have thought about it.

    Sigh, I can't decide what to do. I am really afraid the anger in me will come out if I attend.

    Advice appreciated.

    hugs

    Joel
    joelbear@aol.com

  • Esmeralda
    Esmeralda

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks so much for your heartfelt replies, and kind compliments. They spur me on...I keep thinking
    that maybe someday I will be able to somehow assemble all these different ramblings into a book.
    Perhaps when my daughter is older.

    It's so sad to see the family holding out such hope over one day. I know just what you mean,
    Joel, about fearing the return of the anger. I've been there and that is something I have fought
    hard to get beyond. It takes more and more to drag me back toward it as time goes on, but
    I know that the Memorial would set me back considerably. Wish I had some advice for you, sweetie, all I can say is
    that you have to listen to your heart. Do whatever makes you feel safest, and most at peace.

    Kristin, I do remember you from before :) Thanks so much for posting, it's good to know you're
    hanging in there!

    So much I want to say in thanks to all your posts, everyone...it's just stuck in there by the
    lump in my throat....

    Many thanks

    *hugs*
    Es

    The Four Agreements:
    Be Impeccable With Your Word
    Don't Take Anything Personally
    Don't Make Assumptions
    Always Do Your Best

  • myMichelle
    myMichelle

    Hiya Es,

    You have mail.

    Tough call on the "Grandma situation". Don't know what I would have done in that situation.

    Did like the answering machine to fend off the undermining, oh I meant good intentioned (no I didn't), relatives. IMO, they have no say on how your daughter spends the evening of April 8th.

    I had no thought of going to the Memorial, don't need to help inflate those numbers, but I did toy with the idea of going with the hubby to a Sunday meeting two weeks ago. The kids spent Sat. night at my dad's, so I could have gone without involving them, just to stir up the gossip down there at the KH. But, alas, the hubby and I found, ahem, other things to do....

    Michelle

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