I have tried to start writing this blog several times and have backed out everything and started over. It concerns a subject that many people find difficult to discuss. We talk about health and wellness, nutrition and natural cures but we don’t like to face the inevitable. In the end, we all must die. It’s not my intention to bring anyone down with this subject matter but to share with you a personal experience. I found out today via an email from one of my nephews that my sister had passed away. At first, I didn’t know what I felt. I was numb and needed time to reflect. I will let you in on the history of our relationship and why this should be a wake-up call for you if you recognize yourself in this scenario.
I am the youngest child in my family. My mother was older and already had a family when she married my father. My older siblings, although we had the same mother, had different fathers. This seemed to mean more to my sister than it did to me. Being the youngest, I didn’t have the experiences that my siblings did. As a matter of fact, we were nearly a generation apart but my parents treated us all as one family. When I came along, my older siblings were already out on their own. My sister already had two children. So my older nephews and I grew up as friends.
Over the years, my sister and I had our ups and downs. Being her sibling, I didn’t give her the “respect” as she expected, since I was the age of her children and not her age. We had experienced a lot of tragedy during the early years of my life and when I sought comfort and compassion from my sister she was unable to give it. I never understood until I was an adult; that was just her issue and it wasn’t my fault. Like many children, I would think it was something that I had done or didn’t do and couldn’t fully comprehend the lack of interaction. When I was 9, I stayed with her after being released from the hospital after a car accident in which I lost my biological brother. Her inability to accept me as her sister cut deeply when I needed it most. Regardless, I felt this was just the way things were and didn’t really know how big an issue it was until I was about 14.
By that time I was a typical teenager with more mouth than thought behind the words. I reached the point where I could no longer stand the comparison to my older brother – who she described as her only sibling – I made the decision to cut her out of my life. I felt it would be much easier to not deal with the emotional baggage that came with this relationship and let it go. There have been times in our lives when our paths crossed and we had to deal with each other – when my mother died the following year and then when my father died in 1996. How sad it was to have a family member who cannot accept you for who you are.
Even more than when I was growing up, there are many blended families. Children feel the brunt of whatever tension or drama there is in the family. Blended siblings have to learn how to share the love of their parents. And it is the parents’ responsibility to make the family work as a cohesive unit. I don’t blame my parents for the distance between my sister and me. It lies squarely on my shoulders. If I had wanted the relationship to work, I would have made the effort to meet her on her terms. How many lives were affected by this? Not just mine and my sister’s but her children, my children and grandchildren.
What I realized today is that what I felt was lonely. The last of my siblings has past and there’s no time to go back and make anything different. If you recognize yourself in this type of situation, think about what is most important. Do you hold on to past hurts or painful words spoken in haste? This will only bring negativity. It may be part of the unhealthy mentality that I lived with during my bouts of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Chronic stress in any form causes our bodies to react negatively. I am glad I am in a better place mentally and physically but I didn’t resolve this aspect of my life and now time has passed that I no longer have that opportunity. I will reflect and pray on my actions as a child and my thoughts that I hung onto for a lifetime. I will give myself time to grieve and to forgive myself and ask God to help me not repeat this in my life. I will also pray for others in my life to find the sense of acceptance for their loved ones and bring family back as the unifying force in their lives.
We don’t get to pick our biological families. But we have the opportunity to make them a rich source of love and support. It’s not too late as long as you don’t wait until the inevitable. I have learned a hard lesson.
Please share with me your stories of family and how you have resolved conflict. I could use your support. Thanks for taking the time to let me share my sorrow and healing this wound that I have hidden inside myself for far too long.