**This post is long and probably not very interesting, so please do not feel compelled to read it!**
This is the last post in my original Thirty Day Challenge. Yes, I realize it's over a month late. It's taken a long time to finish this, probably because every time I thought about the thirtieth day's task I wanted to put it off, I wanted to ignore it. The task is to find a picture of someone I miss.
Now there are many people that I miss. I've talked about how I miss my grandparents, and there are a number of friends and family members that have passed away over the years and whom I miss very dearly. Yet every time I thought about this task, I thought of one person in particular. We'll call her BetsyLou, which was what my grandfather, Bumpy, used to call her when she and my sister were running and dancing all over the place and generally being adorable little imps.
My family has known BestyLou since she was four or five years old; her family was one of the first that we met when we moved to the Pacific Northwest. BetsyLou and my sister were best friends. I considered her a little sister, her family an extension of my own. I lived with them for a couple months before I was married years ago. I babysat the youngest in that family when she was a screaming infant and now she is a beautiful college student. In fact, I babysat BetsyLou and all of her siblings. Our families had holidays together. They were supportive when the Crazymaker and the A$$*&^% went through a divorce, their grandmother and my grandmother were friends. In short, I just assumed that that was the way it would always be.
You know what they say about assumptions.
A couple years ago, BetsyLou and I started getting together and being more friends than siblings. She had gone through a rough time, including a failed marriage, and she was starting off on a path of discovery. That was something to which I could relate. And so we would meet for coffee and chat. We talked about our vision for the future, for education. We talked about the writing that we were doing, each of us hoping to one day be a novelist, a writer. We talked about family and memories and hurt and healing. I loved our conversations.
As part of the family, BetsyLou was always included when out of town family, like Thin Man and Beard Boy, would visit. She already hung out with a few other brothers on a pretty regular basis and she seemed to enjoy the time spent. This picture was from a visit with Thin Man and Beard Boy about a year before Thin Man's deployment.
Fast forward a bit.
We had a large family Christmas here in 2009. BetsyLou spent much of the time with me and my family. In January and February we met together as was our habit, and in March we saw each other at the beginning of the month for a brother's birthday bash. Then that was it. I called once or twice and left a Facebook message but didn't get a response. I thought "Oh, she must be busy" and since I was hired at a new job, I was busy too. I let it go. Some brothers tried to call to get her to hang out with them, but they also didn't get much of a response. They let it go, too.
In May 2010, Thin Man arrived on his last visit before his deployment with the Marines. He called repeatedly, sent texts, and even once went to BetsyLou's house to deliver a gift, but she did not pick up the phone. Eventually, she sent a message saying that she was going to her finance's house for dinner and so couldn't see Thin Man...at all. The whole week he was here.
Wait, back up. Fiance? Yes, fiance. She started dating a boy -- yes, I'll say boy because he was much younger, I found out through the grapevine, a former student of hers -- in March, around the time of the birthday bash. She didn't let any of us know, just ignored us. By May they were engaged and by August they were married.
I was not invited to the wedding. Neither were most of my brothers and one sister. My other sister and mother were invited. I didn't even really know about the wedding until my sister called and asked to stay with me for that weekend, since she was flying up from California. (Side note: I found out not too long ago that another friend was also inexplicably excluded from the guest list. That made me wonder even more about what is/was going on.)
From May through that time in August, I was really hurt. I tried a couple more times to contact BetsyLou without success. I finally wrote a letter to her and sent it in August. Before I mailed the letter I had two people (one a psychologist, one who is just really insightful) whom I trust read it to make sure that I was clear and loving. Two weeks later I -- and the rest of my family -- received an e-mail response. Let me say that I did not send the letter to anyone besides BetsyLou. Honey knew that I was sending a letter, the two readers knew (but were detached from the situation), but that's it. I figured it was between me and BetsyLou. But her response was sent to everyone in my family -- including The Teenager for whatever reason -- and it was filled with more vitriol and personal attacks than I've ever received in one place. The sad thing was that I understood she was angry, I had a feeling that she probably would be, but she left no room to talk and work things out. I sent a two line response, which basically said that I was sorry that I hurt her and that I would like to talk and work things out if she was open to that, and I let it go.
Needless to say, I have not seen or heard from her again. She and my sister -- and the rest of the family -- are Facebook friends. She and my sister talk. But I am cut off completely.
I spent a long time struggling with the issue of whether or not to post the letter and her response. Part of me wants to know what other people, those who are not connected, think. I'm sure that some of that comes from the desire for some vindication, although there is also a small voice that says maybe I really am a bitch and this would unmask that reality. Another inner voice says that no, this is private, maybe it should just stay that way. And so for now I won't post the letters. But maybe one day I'll change my mind. And maybe one day I'll respond to the hurt. For now, I'll just say that I am still saddened by the turn of events and I really, really wish that things were different. I miss the way things were.
Most of all, I am sad about the way that things turned out. I try to be a very reflective person and I am open to examining my mistakes in the hopes that I'll improve my life and behavior. If I do something wrong, I want to know about it and then I want to fix it. When I can't take time to figure out what went wrong, figure out what I need to do to fix it, then I get upset because I feel stuck. Unfortunately, this situation is one of those -- I am stuck. And I miss someone who lives so close and yet may as well be a million miles away. I wish that I knew what happened, but I feel like I only have my side of the story, an incomplete picture, and there's no way to see the other side. This may be an insolvable puzzle and that is perhaps the saddest bit of all.