Can you love someone you don’t know?

Recently my paternal grandmother was hospitalized with blood clots in her legs. She was in the hospital for a while and then was released basically to go home to die.*

*this is second hand information as I am not in contact with my dad’s family.

I feel sad for her and her family, but only in the way I would feel sad for a friend’s family not my own. I feel like a bad person because of this.

My mom and dad separated when I was seven. My moms side of the family were very good about not projecting their feelings about my dads family onto us. If they were ever brought up nice or natural things were said. I don’t remember them saying a single bad thing about them until I was at least sixteen.

However I can remember on multiple occasions my dads side of the family calling down my mom and her family. In one specific instance my grandmother calling my mother a whore and a slut for having a boyfriend. She claimed the reason my parents were separated was because my mom had cheated on my dad. This was not the case and I distinctly remember my dad having a girlfriend very soon after separating from my mom but that was besides the point. In my little nine year old brain all that mattered was that grandma was lying.

After that incident where I called my grandmother out I didn’t want to go there. Not that we visited often – a few times a year.

By the time I was in highschool I saw them once a year for Christmas and when I was old enough to choose not to go to my dads anymore that dropped down to just whenever my dad could guilt me into going.

In 2010 I moved with my mom about six hours away from my childhood home and six hours away from my old life including my dad and his family. My dad guilted me into seeing my grandparents before we left. Hugs were awkward and like a typical teenager all I could think about was leaving so I could hang out with friends.

Like I said before, it’s 2016 and my grandma is dying. I don’t feel this is a personal loss and that makes me feel guilty. Shouldn’t I be more upset? She’s family and you’re supposed to love family. But how do you love someone you don’t know?

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