Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dysfunctional Family

Luke 17:3 “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”

Family

Many know of the circumstances of my family. I’ve said over and over again we’re not a tight knit, religious in any way family but oftentimes that leaves people scratching their heads and saying “What?”

Let me paint a picture: I have an older brother, J, who is 59 and living in Tennessee somewhere. I haven’t spoke to him in about 13 years and there really is no doorway to communication for reasons I won’t elaborate.

Then there is my second eldest, T: He’s an oxycontin addict/alcoholic living somewhere in Baltimore doing the ‘house squatting’ thing ie: moving from house to house, flopping wherever he can.

Then there is Ja who I just spoke to yesterday. (more about him later)

There is M who is married to a woman 16 years his senior living happily high on life in the ‘we’re doing great ignoring you’ world.

Then there is my sister, T, who is wrapped up in her family struggling to be everything for my mother and father. I haven’t spoke to her since June when her grandbaby was born.

What a mixed up mess, eh? There you have it, altogether six non-communicative siblings and a dying father and a disabled mother. I call my mother daily and I have for the thirteen years since I left home for brighter horizons. Little did I know I’d be out here, in the middle of nowhere with the inability to ever return home ie: my birthplace.

Last week when my father fell ill, I thought he’d be home by Sunday but he wasn’t so I took it upon myself to notify Ja. (I’m using initials to protect their privacy) Ja had no idea my father was sick, no one felt the need to inform him and he thanked me.

Him and I were the closest of all siblings and as dysfunctional life proves, no one was happy seeing US get along and well, that is where a lot of resentment arose. Even my mother and father were annoyed of our friendship. And that is what it was, a friendship. I befriended the black sheep and no one else did. As always *I* was the lone warrior in an extremely dysfunctional family.

At one time in my life, I was the only one that spoke to EVERY single one of them. I was there for them, their kids, the parties, the births of their children, the godmother of two, the helper of all. Even my mother and father, I was the only one who was there for EVERY thing! When my brother Ja had a second child I thought I’d be a godmother for a third time but no, he asked my sister whom he was TRYING to be a friend to in some way. (Yeah, that didn’t work out for him so well as you can imagine.)

By the time I left home, it was MY time. I had to finally realize that there was no hope, no one left to LOVE the only way I knew how to love. I was branding myself a ‘self-imposed’ black sheep. The pain I went through the first six years or so after I left, no one knew, no one cared, no one called, I was alone without the crutch of the dysfunctional family.

Yes, *I* called, I cared and I still tried to hold onto the crutch until I couldn’t hold onto the nothingness any longer and let it slip through my fingers like liquid in a strainer. I had to let go to embrace the new family I had joined and was welcomed into with open arms. I am not judged out here in the middle of nowhere. I’m not expected to do and be more than I can be and isn’t that what life is all about really? Being accepted for who you are?

“And the day came when, the risk to remain in a tight bud, was more painful than the risk it took… to BLOSSOM.” ~ Anais Nin

My brother and I spoke for well over an hour yesterday. He went on and on about his kids, his life and how much he strives to be the father to his kids that my father wasn’t to us. He asked about the siblings and he was shocked to find out that our sister lived not far up the road from him and that three of her kids lived there with her. I did tell him that I didn’t want to come home and see my father in an urn or a coffin and he understood. Completely understood.

I did get to squeeze into the conversation that sometimes I had to walk with a cane because of arthritis in my back and he was like, “Wow, how old ARE you?” Then we went over the siblings’ ages and whatnot, finally ending the conversation with the ‘I love you’ and stay in touch jargon.

After the call ended, I was hit smack dab in the forehead with realization. None of them know me. Do they know I’m a writer? I’m the editor of a newsletter? Do any know of my pain and suffering with arthritis? Do any of them care about MY life or that I’m even alive?

I got the answer from my Father in heaven on whether I should return home to see my family. NO was plain and clear not much unlike my father on earth had said when asked if I should come home, “Maybe next time.”

Don’t pity me or misunderstand where I’m coming from, I am at PEACE with every decision I’ve made in my life and I WILL go on living the life that God Himself has etched out for me.

“Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot and you’ll survive whatever is coming.”
 ~ Robert Tew

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