It’s breaking my heart…this divide.
It’s tearing me apart. The drama, the perceived slights, the resentment and bickering…this isn’t what I imagined we would become.
Growing up, it was always us. Sisters. Blood is thicker than water. Our parents raised us to look out for one another, to support one another in each new endeavor. I knew my sisters would kick the ass of any guy who hurt me.
I thought our bond was unbreakable.
I thought we could withstand the abandonment, and we did for a bit. We were strong. We tried to make new traditions for each other. We made playlists filled with songs that spoke to us, like Darkest Before the Dawn by Florence and the Machine, and Who Knew by Pink. It’s been hard for us all, but we are mostly okay.
When I pictured us in our adult years, I pictured us happy. I imagined our kids would spend endless hours together, playing and exploring the world with one another. Born best friends, a net of family to catch them whenever they need it — like that group of kids in Cheaper By the Dozen, holding hands and braving scary new things together.
But now there’s a divide.
I’m reaching out, trying to hang on to one sister who is so consumed by perceived slights that she “barely considers” our other sister a sister.
It’s unfathomable to me. People are imperfect, we’ve literally known each other our whole lives. It’s always been us so we should know our imperfections and flaws a little better.
I get that my sister is hurt, but a lot of her hurt is imagined. I don’t say that to be mean, it’s true. She’s a mental illness warrior, fighting the battle that never stops — but sometimes she let’s the darkness of her illness consume her and instead of asking for clarification, asking “is this real or not real?”, she let’s it encase her. She let’s walls get built and gets hurt when people don’t know how to tear them down to get to her, to help her.
And we want to help her.
We just want her to be happy.
Mental illness is one of the hardest hurdles a family can overcome. It doesn’t just affect the person with the diagnosis, it affects the entire family unit.
It’s something I have to tell myself when I get frustrated because I’m not being understood. It’s something I have to repeat when I see the ones I love most making mistakes that can cause permanent rifts.
You’re not supposed to give up on your family. You’re not supposed to wash your hands of someone simply because it’s hard.
You’re not supposed to stop loving them because you do not agree with them.
When you close doors on people — especially on family, it’s hard to come back from.
I know this because I live it — we’ve lived it. We’ve been abandoned, doors have closed on our faces. We’ve had to pick up the pieces of our shattered hearts when our parent decided leaving us was better for them than getting the help they needed to deal with their mental illnesses and their grief.
They say history is doomed to repeat itself, and the pattern in our history book doesn’t dispute this fact.
Don’t forget who was there for you in your darkest hours…
Don’t forget those who raced to your side when you needed it…
And don’t forget those who remain. We may not always have the reactions you’re looking for; but we love you. We care about you. We want you to get better and we want you to know that we love you more than anything and nothing your mental illness does or says will change that for us.