Things that made me go HMMM?
I recently drove three hours with the intention of spending five minutes visiting my grandfather who’s in the hospital because he had a fall, then a heart attack, and is now very fragile. My father has been encouraging family to visit so I decided to go as a way of supporting him.
A five-minute visit seemed sufficient enough because I’ve never felt close to my grandfather, we didn’t have what I consider a strong bond or connection. I would see him at the odd family dinner and we’d chat about the weather and how much my daughter had grown since the last time we saw each other… I thought our conversations were superficial, but it didn’t bother me to not feel close with him and I accepted our relationship for what it was.
That’s all in the past now. My intended five-minute visit turned into almost two hours and I could have stayed by his side for days. It was the first time we’d ever been alone together and I discovered a love for him that I’ve never felt for anyone. When I held his hand, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and quivering lips, he said “I feel weepy. I love you so much Amber and I’ve been watching and admiring you from a distance all these years.”
I noticed he had a copy of my published workbook beside his bed. I had no clue he knew I wrote a book, and didn’t think that if he did, he would read it. Let alone thank me for writing it, hummm???
My grandfather is an exceptionally intelligent and philosophical man who I assumed would never be interested in reading about my simple reflections on effective communication, in fact I always perceived him as chauvinistic.
That day, I saw a man with absolute compassion and humility. Our visit ended with giggles while he gave me wet grandpa kisses on the cheek. It was the first time I felt the sweet grandfatherly love I’d only heard about up to that moment.
There are times when we need to set boundaries and distance ourselves from family to take care of ourselves; I encourage it and put it into practice with my own family. It can be difficult to take space, however, as I process the dynamic that created the space I feel more grounded over time and more open to possibilities of building a stronger family unit when the time is ripe – as it was with my grandfather.
I invite you to explore how you process your family dynamics. Are you experiencing a sense of feeling estranged, resentful, bitter, or unforgiving? If so, I suggest you reach out for professional support because when we stew in these emotions it can create more challenges for us and often leads to high levels of stress that can cause health problems.
The sooner we support ourselves, and each other, to navigate the inevitable challenges within our family, the sooner we can build stronger communities.
I would be delighted to hear from you any insights from your own experience with family dynamics, please feel free to send me a message via email firstname.lastname@example.org
All my best,