With my sister in 2014
While I have a lot of sadness for my maternal grandmother’s separation from her child, I also have a lot of sadness for my sister’s lot as a mother. Interestingly, when I first saw the photo of my grandmother I thought of my sister and coincidentally, she carries my grandmother’s name of Lou.
My sister has given birth to two children and was not able to raise either of them but had more time with her first born son. When she became afraid her husband was going to hurt her, she left him and sued for a divorce. Her child was mixed race, partly Mexican in the predominantly Mexican town of El Paso TX. His Mexican grandparents fought her for custody. The court was afraid he would lose contact with his culture – as though it only came from that part.
When I first pulled together the details of our family’s history into a long saga, I included an exchange with my nephew that highlighted the damage that had been done to him by his paternal grandmother who raised him. I won’t argue the fact that they could afford to support him much more easily than my sister. What I can’t forgive them for is how that woman poisoned him against half of his family. And he is a very wounded person – married three times and not that long ago suffered some kind of breakdown.
I knew I was risking his anger by sharing that heartfelt private exchange with him in a very limited edition of 10 copies distributed to family members only but I simply felt it was too important to an overall understanding of our family dynamics not to include it. And he has since disowned our whole side of the family over it – though my sister isn’t angry with me over it – she says it was headed that way because she knew he didn’t want her in his life. So sad. I do regret the loss of his feelings towards me.
My sister also lost her daughter. Our adoptee mom convinced her to give up the baby shortly after birth. And similarly to my nephew’s situation, the adoptive family probably could afford to support her better than my sister who waitressed her entire life, mostly at Denny’s.
My sister has had opportunities to spend time with all 3 of her grandchildren and in today’s world where we are all so scattered out over this country, I don’t really have all that much more in person time than my sister does, nor did I have much longer to raise my daughter as she ended up being raised by her father and step-mother. Her removal from my life was voluntary but not intended. He refused to pay child support and I was financially desperate.