It’s another gorgeous day in the neighborhood, but I’m not feeling so sunny inside.
Tomorrow morning, we’ll depart for my hometown of Port Jervis, N.Y., to bid my aging grandmother a farewell, as she permanently leaves for Texas to live with my aunt and uncle.
A quaint city, nestled along the Delaware River – exactly where NY, NJ and PA meet – it’s a geographically pretty, rural area, but not much beyond that. While one may assume that I’d be eager to visit my old stomping grounds, I’m anything but. Since my dad died over three years ago (actually even before that happened), I’ve avoided the area as diligently as possible, and have been up there only a handful of times since 2008.
Not only does Port bring up memories of my dad, the question of whether or not I should visit his grave (I only have once), the guilt of rarely visiting once I moved away, and things of the like, but it also reminds me of my challenging and uncertain youth, the obstacles I almost didn’t overcome and the dark cloud that hung over me for much time when I resided there.
This is not to say that some parts of my life weren’t idyllic – riding bikes, running around the neighborhood with friends, and other small town fantasies (which do really exist) – but they came before my darker days and seem to be overshadowed by negative feelings.
While I know it’s best to focus on the positive, it’s much easier said than done and I’m dwelling on everything I dread about this trip. Oh, and the fact that this is likely the last time I’ll ever be there is also a thought that draws mixed emotions.
The going away party for grandma’s departure is a whole other scoop of stress, as it was handled quite poorly. Although I got a head’s up about this weekend a month ago, I heard nothing further. Knowing that the event was impending, I reached out to my uncle for details and was informed of the where’s, when’s and who’s attending. While that’s all fine, I couldn’t help but wonder, “If I hadn’t reached out, would anyone have informed me?” The answer is likely no and it hurts me a bunch. And what’s funny, is that I shouldn’t expect anything different. This is par for the course, and no one (repeat, no one) has ever proactively reached out to me for anything (from a hello to a happy birthday). While I’m not close at all with my family (I haven’t seen anyone, with the exception of my grandmother, since my dad’s funeral), it still would have been lovely to get some details on information I needed to be privy to. More so, it would have been nice to feel like I am a desired guest at this party and actually wanted there (I know I am, in fact, wanted, though the actions would counter that thought). Obviously, someone reached out to all the other family members, and somehow I got overlooked. I’m trying not to, but can’t help but feel bitter and like an afterthought (which really sucks).
I’m also so not eager to see my family, whom I really don’t even know (we all live in disparate locations and nearly never get together). As mentioned, I’ve seen few since my dad’s funeral and know that this encounter will bring up a lot of memories, which I really don’t want to confront. And it doesn’t help that my dad and his brother bear a very striking resemblance. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.
Tear up, I may, as this trip is not an option. I need to be there to say goodbye to my grandma as I don’t plan to make the trip to TX anytime soon. And, sadly, have a sneaking suspicion that the next time I see everyone will be at my grandma’s funeral.
On a good note, I’m looking forward to getting away for the weekend with my husband and it’s always nice to take a trip out of the city. It will be nice to do some shopping in nearby “city” Middletown, which has a plethora of good stores like Home Goods, and a decent mall. We’re also planning to hit up the many antique stores in Port (and neighboring towns) and hope to procure a few good finds.
I’m confident that this won’t be nearly as painful as I expect, but can’t shoo this anxiety, dread and uncertainty.