I really don't know where to start, where my family are concerned. They are so different from other peoples, that I have become very depressed about this subject alone, on a regular basis, all the time in fact. It is a great source of anguish that the people I grew up with as a child, should act so terribly towards myself and my partner!
As a child, i loved my Grandmother, on my Mothers side, deeply. I probably still do, despite her passing away recently. I hadn't seen her, or that side of my family, for maybe 15 - 20 years. I felt unable to be in the company of people who had damaged my mental health in the past.
It is difficult to describe how I felt as a kid, but I will try. My Grandmother and Grandfather were typically old fashioned, judgemental and hurtful, without necessarily knowing it. I knew my sexuality was different at about the age of eleven. At that time I spent a lot of time with my Grandparents and realised how anti 'everything' they were. My Grandfather was extremely racist and anti gay. He was an old Tory in every sense of the word. He went shooting and hunting, watched wrestling and was very opinionated on every subject. To be honest, he was everything I wasn't. At that early age, I knew they were going to end up, not liking who I was. I had a lot of fear and I suppose, it was then I first remember feeling depressed. My Grandmother, really had no voice on such matters, and just followed by example.
I remember going to their house on a Saturday. I would go shopping with Mother and Father in the morning and would decend on my Grandparents home afterwards. Every Saturday, the same thing would happen. All the family would be there. Uncles, Aunts, Cousins and even my Great Aunt, who lived next door. They were family people. There was always someone with a new baby, or a Marriage on the cards. They were a large, traditional family. I remember my Mother showing me a newspaper clipping as a child. It was describing how we were the largest family in Hampshire at the time. The family was vast.
The Armed Services were also running throughout this side of the family. My Mothers Sister had Married a member of the SAS, her other sister had married a Member of The Royal Navy, and my Mother had married a Socialist. There was trouble there straight away. Saturday afternoons would often turn into a time for arguments, due to my Fathers lack of Tory values. Politics was always a difficult subject. During those afternoons, the conversations could be terribly anti gay, always racist, in a way I found difficult to reconcile with my own thoughts and feelings as a young teenager, growing up with homosexual thoughts. I felt alienated, ashamed and disgusted with myself. Those feeling have always remained with me, even today, that is how much effect they had over my mental well being!
I stopped talking to this side of my family after my Father had a AVM, about fifteen years ago. It happened on the day they were moving home and moving in with my Grandparents for a while, while arrangements for their new home were being finalised. He was recovering in a house, with people he really did not like. They even said the AVM was probably his own fault. It was the excuse I needed to move away from them and their bigoted views. It only takes a trigger as they say, that that was the one that pulled me away finally.
So what of my Fathers parents. Well they were completely different people. My Grandad Eric was in The Merchant Navy. He had worked with homosexuals all his life. He wasn't bigoted and of course travelling around the World all his life, had opened his eyes to different people and cultures. He loved a drink and enjoyed every aspect of life. I truely loved him. When he died of Parkinson's disease, probably about twelve years ago now, I spoke at his funeral and broke down in tears, whilst trying to get my words out! My Grandmother had some of those words put on his head stone. That meant a lot.
My Nanny Violet, Erics wife died not so long ago, She was 90 when she passed away. She also died from Parkinson's disease. She was glamorous, loved to party and always completely young at heart.
Finally my Mother and Father. Two people who have devoted their lives to one another. People who show very little emotion. Two people who rarely invited me and my partner to their home in many years. Two people who turned a Christmas invitation down from me, because they would rather spend EVERY Christmas with my Brother, and didn't have the guts to tell me. Two people who when I was in Hospital through suicide and Doctors were expecting the worse, rejected me to my partners face. Two people who have watched me struggle with mental illness, without understanding. Two people who watched Jason and I struggle all our life, without offering any support. Two people who I can't forgive for being at least in part, responsible for my current state of health! Strict, overbearing,obsessive and unable to show the love I needed. That's my Mum and Dad!!!
My Brother is everything I am not. A successful Teacher, partnered with Children. Sports, wealthy and probably everything they desired. I was always compared to him and it damn well hurt. He is also arrogant, nasty and vicious and I never want to see him, ever again.
So there you have it, my messed up family and me. What a great bunch eah! At least now, the only family I have and need is Jason. There rest of them pale into insignificance, compared to someone who has shown me nothing but unconditional love and who is as hurt as me, where the support of my family is concerned! No you can't choose your family, sadly, but Jason and I chose each other and my friends will always remain my family.