do you remember the last thanksgiving with gram?
the one emily wasn't invited to because my mother didn't want gram to know i was gay? yeah, that one...
there's a nice photo of me, my mom, my two sisters-in-law-to-be and my grandma. it's one of the last photos of us. i love that we have that photo. emily hates that photo. it reminds her that she wasn't there. my mother has a copy in her living room - she doesn't display many photos, but this one is treasured. it represents her branch on the family tree, especially now that the other two are happily married to my brothers and have their own kids.
knowing emily hated the photo, it made me uncomfortable while we were there. i never knew when emily might break down into tears over something like that. she was unpredictable that way, but i knew odds were good something would elicit tears every visit we made to my parents house, so, i got used to hearing about it from her.
at the time, i was bothered by it too. not the photo, but what it reminded me of – that i let my mother completely control that situation when i was certain my grandmother wouldn't care that i was gay – she would just be happy i found someone that made me happy. i thought she deserved to know that. but mom insisted that grandma would be upset and so she didn't need to know. always the good daughter, i agreed not to invite emily – she was hurt, but was ok with it (what i didn't know at the time was that she hated family parties like these). i didn't like that my mother didn't give her own mother the benefit of the doubt to accept and love her granddaughter as she is, while here i was giving her total control over the whole situation.
and now that emily and i are no more, i actually am so grateful she did that and i can't get enough of that photo. i see all these other photos of my family with emily and all i can think of when i see them is the awful time we had behind the scenes that day. the fighting, the crying - like i said, always crying... and these are photos where supposedly we are just another happy couple in the mix. but it's all a lie. we were very rarely happy, especially in those moments – weddings, big parties, anything that made her 'uncomfortable' (which was a lot of things...new ones popped up everywhere).
a few weeks after my surgery, my sister-in-law set up their extra bedroom for emily and i. we had been staying at my parents but things there were stressful. emily and my dad had been quietly hating each other and arguing over my care. why emily thought she knew better than a nurse practitioner of over thirty years, i have no idea... but she did and given his pre-existing condition of "pissed off because she didn't show up the morning of my surgery" – they were a caustic combination.
in the bedroom my sister-in-law set up, she included several framed photos to remind us of the family who loves us. you know, for healing. and there it was - the thanksgiving photo... we had to put it away... because... it was not healing...
now that emily's gone, the photo is on my dresser.
i came home from work early this week (you were making me sick, talula...) and emily was at the house. it was the first time since she left that we were face to face. i had a wonderful thanksgiving with my family and before i left, i had made apple crisp and i gave the extras to emily. we had been being nice to each other, and i knew she'd be alone with her aunt. she'd been to thanksgiving with my family 4 or 5 times since the one she wasn't invited to and yes, usually cried about something. when i asked how her holiday was, she said "the best ever."
as soon as emily had moved out, i took down all of her drawings, that were hung literally everywhere. and then i went through my camera roll, picked out my favorites of the family without emily, printed them and have them framed all over to go along with that thanksgiving photo that i am so grateful for.