I put this post up a few days ago, then took it down. The reason was I got a couple of negative comments. Was that a good reason? Who knows? But this morning, one of my readers told me that after reading it, she began to examine her own feelings towards her family and decided that she needed to change the way she thought. When I heard that, I realized that the intention of the post had come through; at least to one person anyway. So here I am reposting it.
My Darling Chookie Lou,
While you’ve been staying with me lately, it’s given me some time to think. And there are some things I need to tell you. The first is:
Thirty-one years ago my girl was born. It was the toughest time in my life. I lived away from my family – from you – and my world became very small. Six months later, you had your own beautiful, gorgeous girl. But I stole some of your light. I didn’t mean to. It just happened without my knowing. All the darkness in my life spread from my life into yours. I know it hit you hard. You felt as though something as wonderful as having your beautiful baby girl was marred; as though you had no right to enjoy her while I was hurting; that because you were on the outside, your grief was somehow less legitimate than mine.
That wasn’t true.
And now, almost thirty-one years later, I have finally realized just how much impact my problems had on you. How all that sadness spilt over, stealing all your joy, robbing you of your special moment – leaving behind ill-feeling and sadness. And neither you nor I knowing how to fix it.
During those early years I spent a lot of time being afraid, being sad, and being angry. But please know it was never at you. Whatever happened, you were always my sister and I always loved you. I was desperate for you to be near me, to help me, to support me. What I never saw was that you were also struggling; that you also needed help and support; that you were fighting your own silent battles. You had your own life to deal with, your own private grief and your guilt to contend with. When you finally told me how all those years you wished you could have turned the tables; that you wished you’d been the one in my shoes so I’d never have had to carry this burden, it made me sad. I have no doubt you’d have been strong enough, but I would never have wanted that for you.
And that leads me to the second thing I need to say:
A long while ago, I realized my anger and bitterness was killing me. I was jealous and believed this life had treated me unfairly. I’d look at my girl, and then I’d look at your beautiful, perfect girl, and I’d wonder how things could have gone so wrong. Your girl is brilliant and gorgeous; she’s sweet and she’s caring. I asked over and over again why our fortunes had differed so greatly, but there’s no answer to that – or at least, no answer I was willing to listen to.
I couldn’t change things, so I had to change my life. I had to let go of my anger and jealousy and bitterness and move on. Was that easy? Hell, no! It’s like swimming against the tide. It’s like fighting against something inside that wants to pull you back.
But the day I came to that decision – the day I made the effort to accept not just my girl, but to embrace and love your girl as well – I discovered something incredible. I learnt how lucky I was because I now have two beautiful girls to marvel in. I have two gorgeous girls whose successes and achievements I can take pride in, even though they’re very different. So I thank you for sharing your girl with me.
And finally, I want to say I love you. You give me strength and courage. I know we didn’t always see eye-to-eye. I know I’ve made things hard. Through my anger and bitterness, I made myself hard to love; tough to be around. The day I decided to move away from that, to live and love my life instead of looking around at those around me and wishing for something else, that’s the day I started to live again. But no one lives a life alone. And having you alongside me has given me the courage to do that.
Thank you for your patience, for your goodness, for your ability to take me in all the forms you’ve seen me in. Thank you for your wisdom, your confidence and your encouragement. Thank you for pulling me up when I get negative. And thank you for shutting me down when I beat myself up. I know you have your own up’s and down’s – hell, who doesn’t. But you know something?
I’m proud to call you my sister. You’re my friend, my confidant, my hero.
I am blessed to know you.
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