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Friday, September 23, 2011

The Wedding Invitation from Hell

Every now and again I write a letter based on an event from memories from a few years ago. I do this for my own mental health. Writing about painful experiences can give a man some closure.

In behaviorist theory this would be called systematic desensitization. In this case it would be the act of accessing the memory and assigning it a different emotional response.

If there is one thing I’d like you to take from this letter it is that if you wrong someone make amends without making demands. I don’t believe that my family had any interest in making amends, but what they did only served to make the situation worse.

9th September 2011
Dear Cassi,

Did I ever tell you about my sister’s wedding? It was a telling event from my past that illustrates why I have so little to do with my family.

It started with the appearance of my uncle. The only uncle I actually know. On my mom’s side it was a big family, but they never got along. Legacy of pain, I think you understand. I hadn’t seen the man for more than ten years. The last time I saw him was at my mother’s funeral.
He said he wanted to reconnect with me after all the years we had been apart. He lied. His real goal was the get me to go to my sister’s wedding.
I remember getting my old high school yearbooks, and thinking that I was going to go over them with him. We went to some pizza place, and he spends the time trying to convince me that I needed to go to my sister’s wedding.
My uncle explained to me that there was an occasion where his brother had wanted him to walk away from some property, and he had beaten his brother within an inch of his life. As my sister had tried to have my name removed from my mother’s estate I understood how he felt. Then he told me that he hadn’t spoken to his brother since. Again, I see no problem with this as now I think it’s been four or five years since I spoke to my sister.
This gave him no pause and it made no difference what I told the man, he just wouldn’t stop asking me to go to my sister’s wedding. He had no other goal, and, to put it bluntly, was willing to test our relationship to the point of destruction to get me there.
Over all the family history I’ve gone through all I ever see is my family hurting the people the claim to love. In this case rather than make emends they chose to put pressure on the victim. I believe I haven’t spoken to my uncle in nine months. The next time I do I know what he will say. It’s all the same with these people, they scheme and lie, steal and desecrate. The only thing they never do to try to get what they want is to be a decent human being.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal