Some of you know me, some my family, some both and others neither at all.
Next Friday is my birthday, some say that birthdays can be especially difficult the week before, day of and even week after. We suddenly are reminded of our age, our life, our hopes, dreams and what we can do to create the future we want for ourselves and our loved ones.
This last week has been an emotional one for me and not a very productive one… I find that when I face writer’s block it is very much a block about myself. Myself not wanting to look at or deal with something that generally I need to write about to process. And I MUST let go of it to dissolve the “block”, writing about it is the most powerful thing I can do to move beyond it, some of you may feel that as well. I choose to make this very personal bit of writing public because it has so been a very secret part of my life, to put it to bed I feel I must “air out the laundry”, so to say… and hope to not offend any in the process, which is not my intent, please hear that now.
Well, I’ve been carrying around a block my whole life, no surprise there! It has felt like an ugly secret, one that a family wanting to seem perfect hasn’t easily looked at, now as we all grow on our own paths we’ve slowly been letting go of these ideas of a “perfect” family, everyone knows there is no such thing as perfect, nor would one really want there to be, life would be so dull!
My loss has been a painful one, as loss always is, I have refused to fully look at it, wanting to believe that one day this loss will simply go away, vanish and never be thought of again. That is not the truth, it is a lie that I juggle continuously and my aching body is finally ready to accept that this IS loss and it’s time to let it go. I’ve been grieving my whole life and that weight is keeping me small, that secret belittling my suffering and making me dismiss myself time and time again.
Most siblings have issues getting along, honestly I’ve always thought that I’ve been pretty lucky, there are six children in my family, I am one of the middle three and I am proud to say that with hard work, empathy and patience I have fantastic relationships with four out of my five siblings.
My older sister and I however have struggled our entire life, I cannot say exactly why, just that we have always been like the wrong ends of two magnets, impossible to be joined together.
As a child I never understood why my older sister didn’t seem to like me, I knew that she loved me as all siblings generally do, but that was pretty much where it ended. Somehow my presences was like a psychic vampire to her, I feel (come on who wants a vampire around!). I was a demanding child, that was how I felt I needed to be to survive in my family system, and I feel now that my older sister may have always resented this, that my big energy was something that she didn’t know how to deal with and in the end she suffered because of who I was as a person.
We were children that seemed to hurt each other emotionally and sometimes physically, though never seriously enough to be of major alarm, consistently and exhaustingly so! World war three was what my mother would say about our fights. “Let’s not start world war three!” would be said many times.
I could never understand why my big sister didn’t want to be my “big sister”, to this day I still don’t know what things were like for her, what her side of the story was or is.
I feel that her pain must be something terribly great, otherwise things would not have been as they were for us. I believe very much that there is good in everyone and my older sister has a great deal of good, she is an amazing person with amazing talents, raising two amazing boys as a single mother, I cannot even imagine! ….And I have spent my entire life pretending that my relationship with my older sister is ok. That I am fine, that nothing is wrong and that there is really little history there, ha!
The truth however is that my older sister has hurt me very deeply, I have always thought that I must have done something to cause this, that there must be a reason why… I have spent my life trying to make amends for whatever hurt I have caused her, from when I was born, to a child, teenager and now an adult and I still don’t know what I’ve done and I’m not sure if I ever will.
I have apologized on many occasions and once more I will now, if there is a chance that one day she should read this, I wish only that in it she sees my sadness at the loss of her in my life and how very sorry I am, to the depth of my soul that I have not been able to attain, or even meet the standards she has set for me.
I am sorry that I was never capable of being the little sister she needed me to be, I still don’t know what I could have done differently, if anything at all, but if I could go back in time and knew what I could do so she could see my heart filled with love for her, I would go back and do it now.
I mourn for the loss of moments that we never had and I cry for the little girls in us that just wanted peace and to be loved by each other.
I would have given anything to be allowed into her world, to have been able to support her, especially over the last few years of struggles that she has been through. Being on the outside and looking in was horribly painful, I wanted nothing but to be there for her, due to our complicated past she was unable to receive the support I offered to her and that has continued to this day.
I had thought and hoped that we’d be able to process our feelings and issues through professional support and counselling, she has not had the energy to pursue this avenue however and I’m finally beginning to accept that things may never change, it’s not my place to “force” change either, I can only be open to its natural occurrence. My sister is entitled to her own process and her own life, with or without me in it. All I can do is stay in integrity with myself and respect her wishes.
My older sister has been in her own process with my siblings and me, for a month or so now (I have no exact date), in it we have all had our own feelings, myself included, as you can see. In this process she has asked for space and privacy, no contact from her siblings whatsoever.
The biggest piece for me in this is that I’ve finally been seen in my pain, I shall perceive this as a gift that would not have occurred if it wasn’t for her asking us for space. My four siblings and my mother have finally seen what I have been going through my entire life, somehow there is at last room for that part of me that felt unnoticed in my sorrow. The part that felt hushed and silenced to keep the image of “perfect” family, the elephant in the room (my sister and I and our lack of getting along) was left alone, swept under the rug, never spoken about, of course it was a massive pain for my parents and many of the other family members as well…
No one wants there to be hostility, of course not, but at the same time no one knew what to do about it and it was probably best that it was ignored, the family was preserved and that may have been the best thing for everyone.
Now as adults, there is no reason to pretend any longer, I cannot be in integrity with myself, I cannot write if I lie about parts of my life that are important, huge and painful, but that are a part of who I am today. To do that would be to shoot myself in the foot before I’d even reached the starting line.
Everyone is entitled to express themselves, to have their feelings, once again know that this is not an attack on my older sister, this is simply a dropping of the veil, and this is me saying that I DO matter. I know that I am not perfect, seriously! I am not perfect! I have done wrong too and I have hurt my sister, I do not know how, but I take full responsibility for my actions in our attempted relationship.
I will always love her very, very much, if there comes a day when she wishes to build a relationship with me I will always be open to starting one, with all the feelings and struggles that it will undoubtedly bring!
Do not think either that it’s all been bad! We have had many good times too, where each of us has shown great kindness towards the other, how could we not? In all the blood shed there is the sisterly bond of love that no amount of wounding can break, it brings me joy to know it! And I know it with the knowledge that underneath the outward appearance there are many, many layers.
This is me officially walking away from the door, be it always open, I will no longer pine after something that I never had and that I may never have.
This is me acknowledging all that hurt, all that pain and putting it to rest.
This is me burying the idea I have held of a “big sister”, for our capabilities only extend so far in life…
This is me standing at the tomb stone removing the black ribbon of mourning from my sleeve. I have mourned for far too long…
Here I am, just me, living my life and letting go of the sister that I’ve never had, the unrealistic, perfect image, which truthfully no one can, or should have to stand up to.
Perhaps I letting go of her will be what she needs to also let go and move on with her life, to live it to its fullest, no regrets.
I pray that she finds her happiness, it’s all I’ve truly ever wanted for her.
Without our past experiences, emotional journeys and the people who we have known and do know, where would we be? Our experiences shape us, teach us and after all…. Everything happens for a reason.
“…And with the winds whispering wayward she faded out upon the tide…”