So, it’s my sister’s 60th birthday today, and I sent her a card and texted her and wished her the best. I am not attending a huge birthday bash with all my siblings and friends tonight to honor my sister being 60 years on this earth. I am not seeing her, I am not even talking to her on the phone. I never would have guessed that this would be the state of affairs when I was in my 20’s and she was my best friend. What happened? I can come up with all sorts of explanations such as we have different lifestyles now, we live in different states, she never had her own children so couldn’t relate when I had my daughter, or we have different personalities and we grew apart. All of these are good reasons, but none of them answer the question of why we drifted apart so far. I admired her growing up, she was beautiful and had a mind of her own. She was strong but had a soft vulnerability that when her big green eyes shined on me with love, it filled my heart. I loved her, she was my big sister. I wanted her to accept me and think that I was as cool as her. But we were different. When she was 19 she got married, when I turned 19 I went off to college. She used to drive her red corvette to come see me in college. I always loved it when she would come as she would bring a cooler full of food and alcohol and we would make frozen drinks, lay in the sun, and I would proudly introduce her to my friends. She was tall and confident. She was married and had a home and a nice car and I was living with 7 other girls in cramped student housing. We would make drinks, talk, and laugh about silly things. We would dye each others hair even blonder than it already was, and do our make up together. It was fun! We didn’t talk too deeply about anything, just what we were going to do that night. We would go out and drink too much, dance until we sweated through our cotton dresses, and stay up way too late. And the morning would be a search for coffee and anything containing bread to make our stomachs feel better. This was our relationship, and it worked. But things started to change when I graduated and started working in San Francisco. She stayed in Southern California so we didn’t see each other as often. Our relationship ebbed and flowed depending on our schedules but we slowly starting drifting apart. When I got married and had my daughter, my priorities changed as staying home with my daughter was more important to me than going out. As I was deciding how to raise my daughter, I began questioning more deeply my past and my parents’ actions. My sister felt differently about our upbringing and was still close to my mom. She did her best to maintain a relationship with me when I cut off communication with our mother. She would always say that even though she didn’t understand me, she still loved me and always would. I wouldn’t talk about our past when we got together, but when she would look at me with a dreaminess in her big green eyes and say that her childhood was so amazing and perfect that she didn’t remember any of it, I would have to say something. Then we would disagree, and we would fight a little, and then we would agree to disagree. But my parents abusive treatment of us was something I couldn’t pretend didn’t happen. I had done that long enough and for my own mental health I couldn’t pretend anymore. So, the disintegration of our relationship went to a point beyond repair. I miss her, I do. I miss it being easy to be with each other. I miss us laughing together about things only we knew as sisters. I miss her love for me. But life changed us. My mom passed away over 2 years ago, and I always thought that after my mom was gone we would get close again. But we are even further apart now. How we interpreted my mother’s actions when she was alive became more ingrained in us after her death. Does it make me sad? Of course it does. I miss her. But even more than that, I miss what could have been. In order for me to move forward in a new direction with my life, I had to reject my past. My interpretation of events in my life is what makes me who I am today. And what I experienced as a child was unacceptable, and I can’t pretend that it wasn’t. So, that came between my sister and I as we got older, and my mom’s wish for us not to be close came true. I was always the rebel in our family. I feel a kinship now with that identity. It feels comfortable for me to be the rebel, the fighter, the woman that speaks her mind. That is who I am and I can’t be anyone else. I can’t go back to pretending. I can’t go back to not knowing what I now know to be true. Really what I have always known to be true, but was too scared to say it when I was younger. There are consequences for speaking my truth, and losing my sister is one. But any other choice for me would have emotionally destroyed me. And as sad as some aspects of my choices make me, I can’t go back.
Last weekend I went on a retreat in the mountains with no access to technology. No phone, no TV, no internet. When I went back to work on Monday a part of me was still in the mountains. I wasn’t fully present back at my job, as I longed to return to the simplicity of […]
This year is no different than any other year. I still have my history, my faults, my stubbornness and my tendency to withdraw into my own world. Except this year it is worse. It is worse because I can’t use any of my old excuses that worked so well to keep me comfortable and in […]