It has been 3 months since I have heard anything from my immediate family. Nary a text from sisters, nieces or nephew. Radio silence. Not even a short email or text asking for clarification about what happened. It’s almost as if they don’t give a shit! I say that with great sarcasm because…I know they don’t and laughing it off is my coping mechanism. Ha! Ha! My family is a hateful lot of selfish assholes! So hilarious right? One sister’s emotional outbursts rule the rest of the family.
In this time I have sold my house, planned a move and my dear daughter graduated from high school. The last event they knew about but didn’t acknowledge except for one blurb via social media to my daughter from her cousin.
This is own new life.
A fractured family that no longer cares about our momentous occasions (unless the occasions are their own) and the weight of this realization sits square on mine and my daughter’s shoulders.
The guilt I feel about offering her such an uncaring family tree is immense and something I think about every day. She has no caring and involved blood relatives left on my side of the family that she can count on for true emotional support. And, to now know that they don’t care about her or her accomplishments breaks my heart. All I can do is reiterate that the failure is theirs and not hers but I know she still feels the sting and my guilt remains.
Believe me, (and this is a Reverie “believe me” not a Trump one) it has been a tempting option to just call and try to smooth things over for my daughter’s sake. But then, I remember that I did that several times before and the shit kept rolling my way. And, I also took into account the respect I earned for not letting those who wish me ill get away with continually heaping verbal abuse upon my head. My daughter’s respect means much more to me than any one-sided, short-lived truce between me and a sister who has made it clear that her true allegiance is with herself, her spouse and her children, and is not shared with me or my daughter.
In the past, if something bad was happening to my younger sister or her family everyone was expected to rally around and offer support, which I did. I helped my nephew get an apartment on his own by acting as the guarantor on his lease since he had no credit and his parents had poor credit. I also helped out twice when he had car issues. Although, the second time I wasn’t quick enough to jump to and got accused of brushing family off to have dinner with friends when in reality I was offering crisis support to a client. I felt no need to explain that to my nephew or my sister at first because it was really none of their business but even if I had the selfish response would have probably been the same.
I forgave that particular outburst and was willing to move on yet the resentment apparently lingered on her part and the emotional imbalance grew. This is very evident in hindsight and I do not foresee receiving a peace offering in the near future…or ever really.
When my sister expressed how much our parents had hurt her and her children, I supported her without hesitation. When our mother chose to send a scathing letter to my siblings in defense of the indefensible abuse we experienced I backed my sister completely. During that time I also expressed to my mother descriptions of the abuse I, myself suffered. I effectively shut the door on any relationship I had left with my parents but did so gladly because it was for the right reason. I was defending her and her family while also standing up for myself.
Do you always have to forgive?
If the tables were turned?
Suck it up! Our problems are more important stupid snowflakes!
This I know and this I accept.
Does it still hurt and do regrets linger? Hell yes! When I think about everything that has transpired over the past few years the tears immediately well up and I get a burning lump stuck in my throat. That is pure pain moving up from my gut to my mouth, ready to burst forth in the loudest fucking scream imaginable. I want to punch things, to kick out and sob until I’m weak. I want to stop feeling it but, I can’t.
Am I angry at my family for what has happened?
I was for a long time.
But now? I am simply sad.
Sad to know that if the silence continues they will not get to know my daughter as an adult. Sad that they will not get to visit me in my new home. Sad that they will not get to experience all the great things my daughter, their niece, and cousin, will accomplish while in college and after. Sad that they will miss weddings, births, birthdays any potential family get-together with us and all for what? Built up envy and resentment disguised as a disagreement online over gun control? Amazing! I know it isn’t just about the latter but it’s amazingly ridiculous nonetheless.
With all of this…I still hang on to hope. Hope that 3 months will not turn into 3 years and hope that I someday we can all sit down and talk, face-to-face like adults rather than tossing nasty texts and Facebook comments back and forth. To facilitate this I set up parameters that limit my sister’s ability to text me or contact me on social media but email, phone and in person are still options I will permit. Sending a nasty text or leaving a shit comment online are cowardly acts so, I figured, if I take that avenue away then, if the message is important enough, it will get to me.
Again, giving it time, giving it space to breathe. It’s all I can do.
© 2018 L.A. Askew
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