The “regret” part of the title of this post refers to my regret over writing my cousin, Joey, about some of the issues I’ve dealt with through the years. I felt like I needed to say something, but I regret doing so. It’s all foremost on my mind this morning, though, and I need to put it down before I move on for the day.
Long story short, my brother, Justin, and I have an older brother named Jay, who we’ve never met. Our father’s half-sister’s family has been in touch with Jay’s mother for years, but have never been willing to share that contact information with us. My take on all that is that they have no right to keep that information to themselves. If Jay or his mother, Carol, doesn’t want to talk to me and Justin, they have a responsibility to tell us that themselves. It shouldn’t be up to my aunt’s family to honor that, because they have no authority. Jay being our brother trumps them being his distant cousins.
Essentially, this is the kind of thing that I was talking about when I wrote Joey. I also mentioned the problems I’ve had through the years concerning my uncle, Allen Lovelace, who is my father’s half-brother, who is unrelated to my father’s half-sister. Geez, that sounded confusing. It isn’t, really. My grandmother first married a Blackwell, with whom she had three children. Later she married a Lovelace who already had children, with whom she had one child (my father). So my father was the only child from my grandmother and my grandfather, but he had two sets of half-siblings from both parents.
My uncle Allen (from the Lovelaces) grew up never knowing that my father existed. When he found out about my father, he wanted to make contact, and wound up talking to my aunt Margie (from the Blackwells) about a month after my father had died in 1984. They talked occasionally through the years, but I could never get Aunt Margie to give me Allen’s phone number or address. Allen receded into the mists of time. But around twenty years later, thanks to the Internet and my growing interest in family and genealogy, I found Allen’s address and phone number and gave him a call. I was shocked to learn that Margie had never told him about me or my brother Justin. Allen had no idea we existed.
So … what was I supposed to make of that? This woman, who was like a second mother to me, not only kept me and Justin from making contact with our brother, Jay, but kept us from making contact with our uncle, Allen, as well. It’s been something that’s bugged me for years.
Okay. So what brings this up? Well, back in October Joey wrote me and told me that they’d found a letter in some of Aunt Margie’s things, and that she had some info about Jay for me, that he was living in Madison, South Dakota, that his last name was now Beck, and that he had a son and a daughter. This hit me like a ton of bricks, because of all that I’ve listed above. It shocked and hurt me that I’m still being fed information about my brother from Aunt Margie’s family.
Well, I didn’t know how to respond to Joey, and so I never did. I didn’t know how to put into words what I was feeling about all this, and so I ignored it. I didn’t write her back at all. Until yesterday, when I finally felt like I could. Mostly because my brother Justin and I have been getting back in touch. I just felt like what was on my heart needed to be said, figuring that if that side of the family shut the door on me again, that was their choice.
Today I regret that decision. Justin worries that it’ll be an issue with them. I certainly never meant to hurt anyone, but it’s hurt me for years that people who I felt had no right have made decisions affecting my life. For example, had my Aunt Margie told Allen Lovelace about me and Justin, I could have had a relationship with Allen for the past 24 years instead of just the last 4 or 5. How do I reconcile my image of this woman who I always loved so much with what I consider this unspeakable crime of robbing me of a relationship with my uncle?
Justin has rightly pointed out that all this is in the past, and there’s no use in being bitter about it. I agree with that. I’m not asking for apologies or reparations or whatever. If I want anything, I simply want people to know how I feel about this. We don’t have to dwell on it and wring hands over it, but I want it acknowledged. Honestly, I think it’s wrecked my relationship with Aunt Margie’s family, because this one issue has been festering in my heart these past 20 years or so (Margie died in 1988). If we’re going to move on, let’s come clean and move on with nothing between us.
Of course, past history has shown me that it’s quite possible I’ll never hear from Joey again. I hope this isn’t the case, but it’s a chance I knew I was taking when I wrote her about this stuff. Still, in a way I wish I’d just kept my mouth shut. She was reaching out to me after all those years, and here I’ve gone and rolled a grenade into the room. Hopefully she’ll write me back and we can move on from this. If she doesn’t, I’ll add this to my long list of regrets and ponder from here on out what I should have done differently.
All I know is that keeping it to myself was a no longer an option, because of the damage it was doing to my spirit. Hopefully Joey can understand that.