Reconnecting with Family after a period of enforced alienation
Whilst domestic abuse is horrific, and I wouldn’t wish what I have been through on anyone, one positive thing has come from it all. I have managed to reconnect from my family
My ex husband alienated me from not only my friends, but my family too. Isolation at its finest. So, after I turned to my brother for help and he got in touch with my Aunt to tell her what was going on, I reached out. Not because I wanted anything. I just needed a friendly voice. All of this was after a message exchange with my cousin on social media. My family were so understanding about everything. Whilst they said they had their suspicions that something was wrong and that they couldn’t do anything until I reached out to them, they were proud of me for finding my way out alive. They are well aware that far too many women leave those kinds of relationships in boxes.
After a few phone calls with my Aunt, it was like we’d never been apart. The next step was to talk to my Grandma. Being the strong matriarch she is, the large role she and my Aunt had played in my childhood and the amount of time that had passed, I was suitably terrified. However, I had no reason to be. Again, it was as if we’d spoken only yesterday. My Aunt had filled her in on the situation so I didn’t have to go through it all again. She did reassure me though saying “we all pick shit first time round, dear”, which made me laugh for about five minutes uncontrollably. She did the same thing in all fairness – my Grandad is her second husband and that was her “keeper” for want of a better phrase. So, I found that really reassuring. She asked if I’d met someone new. So, I proceeded to tell her all about Brian. I told him about his one fundamental flaw to which she said “well you can’t have it all” which again, I found extremely funny. We carried on talking for around an hour then said our goodbyes and continued to talk once a week or so for a couple of weeks.
Brian was really keen for me to see them. He encouraged me to ask to see them. I don’t know why but I was nervous. It took me over a fortnight but I plucked up the balls and I made arrangements to see them and for Brian to meet them too. That was even more terrifying, seeing as they’d hated my ex. I’d promised myself that if they didn’t like Brian, he’d be out of my life too. Sounds harsh, but they were right about the first one. I think I’ll trust their judgement from now on if it’s all the same.
So, the time came to see them. I did the drive up. Purely as I had gone so long without being able to drive. Firstly because of the DVLA putting me on a medical disqualification, swiftly by my ex not letting me drive much when I got my license back. I wanted to prove a point. I wanted to show that I had taken control of my life back, and Brian understood that. The drive felt like forever. I’d never seen Brian nervous before, but, when we had about half an hour left of the journey, he went eerily quiet. I found it quite funny. I was bursting to get to my family, he wouldn’t even let me speed on the motorway. I was suitably unimpressed.
When I got there, it was emotional. I knocked at the door with a bouquet of fresh lilies that I had bought my Grandma the previous day. I just said hello, thrusted them at her and held her tight. I had a cry in her arms. It felt like such a relief. I had my Grandma back. Grandad was out the country, so I didn’t get to see him. I was that emotional I forgot to tell Brian Grandma’s name! So he was left either referring to her as Grandma or rendering her nameless all weekend!
A few hours later came the arrival of my Aunt and my cousins. More tears started to flow. Here I was sat with the people I loved the most that I’d had taken away from me for what felt like an eternity. Around the table sat Grandma, my Aunt, my two cousins and I. Strangely enough, a feather fell on the table as we were eating that evening without a bird to be seen. Someone was watching over us, telling us how happy they were that we were all together again. That person was my Dad.