What is Shifting in Your Life?

4 11 2011

Last weekend I went to a funeral for my dad’s wife, but ended up mourning
the relationship with my siblings.

My brother, who I haven’t seen in years, sat in front of me without saying a word. My sister was a seat away to my left with the same level of intimacy. And I struggled to keep the tears from dripping as I realized that things really had changed and yes, I WAS actually being ignored by both of them. The first reaction was mentally probing what I could possibly have done to these two people to deserve the treatment. Once my thoughts got past myself ;o), the root cause became pretty clear: my mother. The situations are different, but my mom is at the heart of it all.  I don’t say that with blame, but rather just as an understanding.

So, from there, the next step was: How to respond? I had heard that we should never estrange from our family unless the relationship is harmful because they are in our lives to teach us about ourselves and our place in the world.  But this past year, I’ve been coming to the conclusion that we all deserve to be treated with respect even, and maybe especially, from our family.  Sometimes it really is healthiest for both parties to just step back.  From my sister, I just withdrew.  She has hurt me about as much as can be tolerated and perhaps I have hurt her enough, also. I really don’t know.  She has her space to grow and reach for whatever branches on whatever kind of tree truly make her fulfilled and I am free from her judgement and accusations.

With my brother though, it was different. Despite our political & religious differences and past crap, I’ve always felt close to my brother and just overlooked his lack of response.  I’ve also gotten used to maneuvering around his wife treating me like I am part of some sort of heathen-based, unenlightened infection on the earth that has to be tolerated. I have purposefully stayed far away from years of conflict between him, my mom, my sister-in-law and eventually my sister.  In fact, I very intentionally and openly stayed out of the last clash that took place YEARS ago.  But somehow, I’ve still been lumped in.

It occurred to me that ALL OF MY LIFE I have been trying to prove to my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother, his wife, my ex-husband, my supervisor, my co-workers that I AM NOT a piece of garbage to mock and toss aside and that I do deserve. Period. I deserve. Add whatever (positive) words that come to mind to that sentence. I deserve. It’s not until this relationship with Paul that I am FINALLY accepting that I deserve to be loved and treated like one of the Beautiful Ones. I am FINALLY accepting that I matter to someone. I am FINALLY accepting at this point in my life that my friends really DO care about me & what I do or don’t do DOES impact them. I have just accepted and expected that I don’t matter; at the core.

Somehow, I had offended not only my sister, but my brother and his wife as well. As I sat behind them, I resolved to pull my brother aside & ask him what I had done to him. What could cause you to not want to hug or even acknowledge your sister after not seeing each other for fours years?  My other decision was to be as kind and intentionally “myself” as possible for the rest of the day. That was the start of the letting-go.

By the time we all sat at the same table for lunch, my brother, sister-in-law & I had broken the ice. My sister excused herself shortly after we arrived.  Again, I trust that she is taking the steps that she feels are necessary for her own growth.  I just enjoyed the company of my dad and his siblings and went through the emotional process in the background of my heart of disconnecting and accepting. By the time we were done with lunch, I realized that it didn’t matter what I had done to offend my brother and sister-in-law. That was THEIRS to hang on to or let go, not mine.

I have created my own (very complex and diverse) family of people-some blood, most not- who genuinely care about and respect me…and somehow find a way to  tell me about AND accept my faults.  That’s all that I need and what I DO hang on to with a very firm grasp.  I don’t need to defend myself and I don’t need to prove my worth and never did.

My brother & I hugged good-bye.  He said, quite genuinely, that it had been nice to see me.  I told him, also with sincerity, the same.  But then I walked away and, on a very deep level, let him go, trusting that he will do what is best for his journey.

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4 responses

4 11 2011
Mari

I feel bad that you feel bad. I know for a fact that you have a lot of people who care for you deeply and miss you when you’re gone. We love everything about you because all those things make you the brilliant person hat you are. You are loved. Now and forever.

4 11 2011
dayna

You’re gonna make me cry, Mari! Thank you so much!

6 11 2011
Stephanie (@dancingwaves)

*huge hugs* All I can think to say right now is YAY! That, and the writing with you on the kid’s playground equipment at April’s retreat came to mind and it made me smile and feel warm and fuzzy.

You’re pretty darn amazing.

31 10 2013
dayna

Stephanie,
I just saw your comment. Thank you so much.
Yeah, the playground writing was pretty special.
Big hugs back at ya!

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