Wednesday, March 12, 2008

You have another brother?

Conversation at dinner tonight.

Me: I do believe, wherever my other brother may be, he is having a birthday today.

Bentley: You have another brother?

Me: I do have another brother. Did you know I have an older brother?

Bents: No I didn't. A brother besides Uncle Craig?

Me: Yes. His name is Chris.

Bents: Is he my Uncle Chris?

Me: He is your Uncle Chris. Unfortunately, I have not seen nor spoke with him in seven years.

Bents: Oh. That's sad.

Yes my young son, it is terribly sad. I didn't relay that part to him. There is no way I will pass my burdens on to my son/children.

I don't think much about my older brother any more, as I am not "allowed" to know where he lives or even how he is doing. We had a falling out 7 years ago when I was Baptized. He has not spoken to me since. I assume it's because I'm now "one of them". He has never seen my children. I have no idea if he even knows their names.

He also will have nothing to do with Craig or my dad. I was not allowed to have his number to phone him in 2006 when my father was dying. All I (we) wanted to do was give him a respectful call letting him know dad's position. I didn't want to bother him, I didn't want to harrass him & I didn't want to know his business. I simply wanted to inform him. He didn't care.

I am now estranged from my mother, my father (again...that's another post) & my oldest brother. My mother does not send me birthday cards or Christmas cards, & she sends my children nothing. The last nasty message my dad left on my answering machine informed me that he would be happy to speak to my husband or my children, but not to me. He then told me never to phone him again. I haven't.

The only relative I have contact with is my brother Craig, his wife Christa, & their children. I love them so much. I do have my mother's brother (my Uncle...I haven't seen him in 10 or so years) that I email with every now & then. Sadly, I'll probably never see him again. On my dad's side I have another Aunt & Uncle, as well as four cousins & many second cousins, that I haven't seen or spoken with in over 25 years. Unfortunately, there was an over abundance of strife between my father & his brother & that was the end of that. I *think* I have three other cousins - but my dad's other brother committed suicide at a very young age so of course the families became separated & I've haven't seen them in over 35 years.

The older I get the more I realize the importance of family. I have four children now & it literally breaks my heart for them. On my side, they only know my brother & Christa & their family. On hubby's side, they are blessed enough to know his entire family, including Aunts, Uncles, cousins & 2nd & 3rd cousins. I actually (gulp) buy my children birthday & Christmas gifts & put my parents' names on them so my children don't feel left out & I don't have a lot of explaining to do. I'm not sure if it's to make them or myself feel better - so I just do it & refuse to decipher it.

I remember about a year ago, Kat & hubby were trying to adopt a baby. They had some failed situations & I remember her saying "can't I just have a baby already?" I know that feeling. I feel her pain on many levels. It gets harder for me every day & I'm not sure why...but I find myself asking "can't I just have a family already?"

Why does life have to be so hard? Why can't families love one another & treat each other with respect? Life is so damn short! Embrace it! Live it! Love it! Thank God for one another & for blessing you with family members! For crying out loud, be happy! Am I the only one who realizes there are so, so, so, so many wonderful families out there with deceased family members who would give anything they had to get them back? Even if for just one day. One minute. One moment. It makes me sad to know I have a healthy, alive family & everyone is estranged. It's pathetic & immature. Not to mention, out of my control.

For those of you who have wonderful, supportive families, please don't take it for granted. You probably don't think twice about it but for those of us with no one, we do think about it. And we are forever heartbroken & scarred. If I could make my dysfunctional family functional, I would in a heartbeat. But I can't.

Saying all that, I realize I can make a difference. I can choose how to live the beautiful life I have. I can dwell or I can thrive. I thank God I have the opportunity to raise 4 precious, little creatures & I have the opportunity to show them the world & let them know what love is. I'm going to seize my opportunity.

But the pain & sadness inside will never go away. Never.


Melissa said...

I'm sorry that you have to experience this. I come from a dysfunctional family as well, and now that I am growing and learning new ways to live I seem to "offend" tham a lot. It's hard to be close to people you are constantly offending.

Michelle said...

You said it right, girlie..
"I can dwell or I can thrive"
Keep thrivin!! =)

Lisa said...

I'm sorry for this pain but it's their loss. Big time! They are missing out on so much good, your hubby and your beautiful children. And I know this doesn't erase the pain and hurt but the best thing about "being one of them" is that now you have lots and lots of brothers and sisters in Christ!

Minnie said...

Oh Melissa,
That story breaks my heart. You tell it with so much strength and class.
In addition to the serenity prayer, I often say that we can choose to make "issues" in our lives a stepping stone or a stumbling block.
I think you're an amazing person and a super mom!

Kristy said...

You can rejoice in that YOU and MITCH have these 4 beautiful children who you are teaching that family is very important. The craziness you endured in your family stops here and now!! It now starts with You and Mitch,you guys are the examples of years to come with your children,them with their children, your grandchildren, family gatherings,sibling gatherings etc.. You can't do anything about your parents and brother,but your laying a strong foundation for your children and generations after that. What a blessing!

Anonymous said...

We LOVE you guys!
Craig and Christa

katd said...

You are so amazing, Melissa! You have been through so much and you maintain such a beautiful spirit and heart full of grace! Family is EVERYTHING; it becomes more and more clear the older we get, but like a previous poster said, this distance is such a loss for them. You have such a gorgeous family that they're missing out on. And again, that doesn't make it hurt less, but aren't we so blessed to have a Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can imagine? It's awesome! I'm here if you need me! :)

Mommy Brain said...

I don't really know what to say that hasn't been said already. Just wanted you to know that I read your words, that I hear your pain, that you are validated, you are precious, you are valuable. Praying for God allow this hurt to hurt less.

threadbiz01 said...

I am so sorry Melissa for what you have endured. My family is pretty normal, loving and supportive...I cannot imagine. However, you do thrive and it is evident. Sometimes God's greatest disappointments are His attention getters...I believe that your thriving is through the pain you have suffered with your family and makes your that much better of a mother and a wife. You have a beautiful family that God has blessed you with and as another post stated you have many brother's and sister's in Christ:)