This evening, M11 asks to continue our chat from last night … thankfully, not the wet dream one, but he wants to know what else my brother-in-law has done. Another blogger recently asked for background to understand this, so what the hell … let’s get it down. Spoiler alert! It’s long!
AH’s mother died from cancer when AH was 10 and brother (time for a name … Grolsch, me thinks (he likes beer and this is a Dutch one .. linking to his yarpie upbringing) – anyway, Grolsch was only 5.
During our marriage, I always thought Grolsch was the needy one and demanded AH’s attention and time. Only once we were close to splitting, did I realise I was wrong.
So, what’s he done?
The first time AH and I went to Cape Town, we went for a wedding. Not yet engaged and loved up. Marriage had been discussed so it was a chance to meet his family. Should’ve been a romantic trip, yet it wasn’t.
Beautiful, sunny weather and AH’s dad had a pool so I made the most of that. Would’ve been nice if AH joined me. But he didn’t. As him and Grolsch spent a large amount of the days playing PlayStation. Alarm bells rung … I ignored them. Viewed it as he doesn’t see his brother often, he needed that. We actually got engaged on our last night there.
Wedding was in Cape Town a year later. At that stage, AH and I were living together in a one-bed flat in London. One month after our wedding, Grolsch arrives for his OE. There was no question .. of course, he’d stay with us when he got there. On the pull-out sofa downstairs (open plan room, less than 25 m²). Because he’d be getting a job and finding his own flat and wouldn’t be there for long, would he! Wouldn’t he?!
Well, 6 weeks later, he hasn’t found a job or a flat (doesn’t even appear to be looking). Our flat is small. There’s one tiny, windowless bathroom. And Grolsch needs to empty his bowels TWICE every morning .. before I’ve brushed my teeth to go to work! I kid you not. He was clockwork … and unless I brushed my teeth before I even woke up, I could never beat him in there! The fights with AH started. He wasn’t in any rush to get his brother out. 1 MONTH MARRIED!!
The rib-breaking happened while he was still living with us (broke a few in a bearhug). Not bitter about that as it was an accident and he didn’t know his own strength, but what gets me is when all 3 of us went to the hospital the next day when I couldn’t breathe, after they’d done an ECG and confirmed it wasn’t a heart attack, there was going to be a long wait in emergency. AH got itchy after about ½-an-hr and asked if he and Grolsch had to stay. ‘No, of course not, husband-of-less-than-2-months. Go. Have fun with your brother’. And he did. I had to get a mini-cab after midnight having sat in ER by myself all that time. Ding-ding-ding! Alarm bells.
Mostly, I remember the rest of our co-residing in London as good times. He didn’t encroach on our lives too much. AH didn’t insist on involving him in every second of ours. M11 came along and pretty much took over.
Fast-forward to NZ, Xmas 2013. Grolsch and Sputnik come for a holiday. I get them from Auckland airport and they come stay at my parent’s, until AH can get away from work a day or so later. It’s all fine (though she is dull, dull, DULL [not drinking as she’d had an episode where she’d woken up covered in blood with no idea what had gone on the night before]. A fairly typical overly-confident, all-knowing white-African ‘princess’). I’d planned a roadtrip to show them some of my beautiful country.
We do a German Xmas so on Xmas Eve, I take the kids out to see if Santa has come, letting AH know quite obviously that this is the time Santa delivers presents (I’d put them behind the couch so it was as easy as could be). Him and Grolsch were giggling but AH acknowledged he’d heard. Or so I thought. Get back in with VERY excited children … yet Santa’s presents are definitely not under the tree. I manage to smuggle them out unseen. We’re all ready to open presents … well the kids and my family are … but AH, Grolsch and Sputnik have disappeared. They’d realised they hadn’t got a present for my brother and his wife – who’d bought one for them – so they go off to wrap a bottle of duty-free grog. Strangely, it took 3 of them to do it!
Get back to our house and our oven breaks. Have a built-in one in the garage so I buy a unit for it to go in and start putting it together. Grolsch and Sputnik are talking of emigrating here so AH decides to take them for a drive to show them our area and the surrounds. Despite me saying I wouldn’t want them moving this close. I couldn’t hold a piece of the unit and drill at the same time so ended up breaking a dowel. When AH gets back, get him to help … but we have to stop as Grolsch is screaming about a spider on the front door. A small, normal spider. AH stops helping me to SAVE his brother. Why couldn’t it wait … if it had to be done at all!
Rest of the trip was fine but not sad to see her go especially. Not someone I want to be spending weekends with.
Steps are taken to start the emigration process. The thing is, AH chooses not to tell me what’s going on. He decides that I have a problem with Grolsch, so it’s better to not speak of him. Problem with that is, whenever we went out, other people would ask him what was happening … and that’s when I’d hear. WTH! I should have never had heard these things second-hand. I should’ve been told by AH as soon as he heard. And I let him know that – by withholding information, it was detrimental.
Their visa applications are approved. Grolsch finds work about 45 mins away from us. I can handle that – close enough for catch-ups; far enough not to do it every week. Sputnik will only look for work when she gets here. I ask AH whether he’d let Grolsch know it would be good to not move too close to here … we’re not in a good place at this stage. He said he hasn’t passed that on “as that would be influencing him and I’d asked him to let Grolsch make his own path” so I asked if it would be ok if I put it to Grolsch. AH has no issue.
I send a nice message through FB. He sends a friendly one back (and this is the moment I realised it was AH who puts Grolsch on such a pedestal; not the other way around). He agrees that he won’t move close by and he understands why.
Then AH ends the marriage. Grolsch’s words to AH when he hears we’ve split: “I’m not surprised”. Wow!
AH and I decided we’d take a one-bed flat when we split, the kids would stay in the house and us 2 would move between (nesting arrangement). AH chose a less than ideal flat, in a less than salubrious area, which was the greatest distance away from this house. Why? It had 2-bedrooms and, with Grolsch and Sputnik coming, it would be a roof over their heads. Our kids were meant to have rotating, weekly 1-on-1 with AH at the rental … yet while Grolsch & Sputnik were there, he never even asked if they would come. So not only has he put his brother above me, he actually put him above the kids.
G&S found a flat. Despite Grolsch’s promise to not move here, they rent 2 km from my front door. Then, between the 3 of these supposed adults, they decide to terminate the 2-bed rental, and AH can move in to their box-room. He’d still come to this house for his nights with the kids … and I’d have to find somewhere else to go! Jaysus! Who the hell thinks that’s ok?!
AH knows all these things but he’s (THEY’VE!) refused to acknowledge or validate them in any way. Would that make a difference? I don’t know. But I can’t or won’t ever be able to say that Grolsch does not hold some accountability here. Yes, it’s AH who chose to put him above me … but to go back on his word and give us some much-needed space … to be part of the plan that tried to evict me for 2-nights a week … to never make any contact with me to get the other side of the story … !!!
I don’t know how to let this go. I appreciate that not forgiving is stopping me move forward, not them. I get that! I don’t know what the feeling is that underlies all this … and why I hold onto it. But I need to find a way to release it. I need to learn how to do this: