Family is everything to me. Particularly my immediate family. It’s not a huge group but it consists of my mom, siblings, grandparents and kids. Few people are as fortunate as I am to have the type of relationship I have with them. I count my blessings everyday.
I lead with that because it might help make sense of the fact that I’ve avoided telling my grandparents that I’m currently separated from my husband. (Yes, separation talk started in September and, yes, Grayheart moved out in November. Don’t judge me!) My grandparents are old school Cuban (straight from la patria) and are in their mid-eighties. To say that this could possibly kill them is not a joke. We are their only grandchildren and they are obsessed with us. They are not getting any younger and their short term memory is starting to fade a bit. (My grandfather much worse than my grandmother.)
I’ve chickened out on a number of occasions but finally got the courage to spit out the words to my abuelita. “Abuelita, me voy a divorciar.”
You know when you read a book and they say that someones face actually crumbles upon receipt of bad news? Oh. My. God. Her face. Her expression. Her sadness. I just… I couldn’t bear her pain.
When I shared the separation with my Mom, I blurted it out. When I told my siblings, I shared freely. When I told my friends, the same. This, though, this felt almost as bad as when we told the kids Daddy was moving out.
Abuelita, of course, suspected something was wrong for some time. She was puzzled and worried. She couldn’t comprehend how it was possible. We were such a perfect family, he loved me so much, blah, blah, blah. And then she snapped out of that and was like “does he have another woman?”. Me: No, Abuelita, no. He doesn’t. (It’s not worth getting into with her.) She then went back to the crestfallen, blank expression she held onto while watching the kids play in the backyard.
Her fears, naturally, were for our well being. I reassured her that the kids were doing well, I was fine and Grayheart was doing a good job as father to the kids and estranged husband to me.
Abuelita adores Grayheart. She loved us as a family. She knew I was well cared for and that our children were doted on by a loving father. This is devastating for her. She was quieter than I expected upon sharing this revelation with her but I think the sheer magnitude of the news left her stunned. She later walked back over to me (her and her whole 4’12” self) and gave me the biggest hug while softly weeping in my arms. I nearly broke at that moment. It’s hard to write while thinking about it.
To think you can cause another person so much grief and worry… it’s just awful. I know it’s not my fault and she’s not mad or disappointed in me. But she now carries concern for me and the kids she’d not had to previously. Abuelita has had a tough life. She has seen so much sadness and been through so much. She doesn’t need the additional stress during her advancing years.
I can’t change the situation so it is what it is… I’m just going to have to do my best to show her (and the world) that we will be fine.