Anything but a Simple Sunday

It has been almost two and a half years since I have spoken with my sister.

Our relationship has never been easy but up until the moment we stopped talking, I continued to try.  She is family, after all.  I will not go into detail, it is enough that you know that I love my sister but I can no longer do it, it is too destructive, too painful, and simply too much.  It hurts.

In the two and a half years that we have had this vast and deafening silence between us she has been through a divorce, dated some unsavory characters, and has spiraled downward into a mire of self-destructive behaviors.

It is sad and scary to hear about.  She has always been the solid one of us, my sister and I.  She was the salutatorian of her class, flew through veterinarian school, and has had a successful career.  I plodded along, graduating somewhere in the middle of my high school class, switched majors in college numerous times before dropping out to run off with Mr. Asshat, before finally getting myself out of that negative relationship and back into school, graduating and starting a family.

I don’t want to write about the details, the guilt I feel for not trying to reconnect, the guilt I feel for feeling relief for not having to carry this weight, for remaining at arm’s length.

I feel sad for her.  I feel the helplessness of the situation, for she does not believe she is out of control.  She pushes away help and refuses to admit there is a problem.

And sometimes it leaks out, the feeling that I am not being a good sister, that I am not doing what I should.  But I can’t.  I know it would break me down, I would let it.  And I mustn’t.

And so I keep the silence in place, firmly, while I cry behind it’s uncomfortable protection.

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About shoes

I am a blogger, a former microbiologist, a stay at home mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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30 Responses to Anything but a Simple Sunday

  1. The emotion and rawness of it comes through clearly here. It must be hard to have such a relationship.

  2. mckarlie says:

    i tried over and over again with my sister because she is my sister, and for that reason alone really. when i think about it, i wouldn’t choose her as a friend, we didn’t have much in common, but i kept trying because of the expectation that family is always meant to be there for each other. the fact of it is, she drained me, she made me a worse version of myself than i wanted to be, she spread negativity and destructive behaviours and i had to cut her, and other members of my family completely off. don’t feel bad for doing this, especially if you have children, every one has a limit and she will have to hit rock bottom and change her own life before you can consider being a part of her life, self preservation is key. all the best with the situation

    • shoes says:

      Thank you for your comment, you offer some good advise from someone who has been there. I am sorry you have had to go through this in your life. The hardest part for me is knowing I cannot help her and keeping that distance between us to save own self.

      • mckarlie says:

        Yeah there’s a lot of guilt associated with not being able to ‘save’ someone we care about but eventually you get to a point where you have to draw a line in the sand for your own self preservation. Try not to feel too guilty about that, she needs to hit rock bottom in her own terms before she can start to piece things back together, and once that’s happened then you can think about being there for her :)

  3. amomnextdoor says:

    I have that brother. I had that dad, for years before he died. I have no comfort really, only the urge to comfort. If we lived next door, I would pour you a cup of tea and listen to the whole damn story–every gritty, guilty, torturous detail. I’m sorry for your grief. Sometimes I think it’s harder to grieve a dead relationship than someone who’s actually died, when it’s a sibling. Two wishes for you: sweet kisses from your men tomorrow, and some beautiful moment of sibling love between your boys that you know will connect them forever.

  4. mimijk says:

    You are choosing your emotional and physical health and therefore the happiness and well-being of your family. Sounds like the right choice. We can’t pick our family members, but we can choose the healthiest way to deal with them. I know this doesn’t minimize your sorrow, I’m just throwin’ it out there..hugs, m

    • shoes says:

      Thanks Mimi. I know I am doing what is right for me and my family but it doesn’t make it any easier to know that. It is helpful to get support and kind words from friends such as yourself.

  5. muddledmom says:

    Families can be really hard. And they shouldn’t be, should they? I’ve had some things in my family that have made me look at my kids and hope and beg for them to always be like they are now. Just remember, your sister makes her own choices. You love her and that’s all you can do. You can’t make her decisions for her.

    • shoes says:

      You are such a great voice of reason. It is crazy just how hard families can be. All I can do is make the decisions that are right for me and my little family while continuing to love and hold hope for those in my heart that I cannot have close to me.

  6. Hetterbell says:

    It sounds like a terribly difficult situation to be in. Sometimes I think these things are a bit like a maze: there seems no obvious answer, and then suddenly one day a completely unexpected and unpredictable path forms before us. Sending you hugs. :)

  7. I hear your pain yet I think you have made the right choice. My husband had to make that choice–he no longer has a sister and brother–and it is painful–the damage that people can do to other people is horrific–save yourself and your family and stop feeling guilty (((hugs)))

  8. I’m so sorry to hear of your struggle. I have no words of comfort to offer but if you need some, and some confirmation that you are doing the right thing, you may find them in a book I just read. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed – there are a couple of the chapters that relate to exactly the kind of struggle you seem to be going through. As your words bring comfort and smiles to so many others, perhaps the words of another can help you as well.

    • shoes says:

      Thank you for the book recommendation – I have added it to my list of books to read and may have to bump it up closer to the top if things get worse.
      And thank your kind comment about my words, I appreciate it. In the end we all can gain knowledge and comfort from one another if we choose to listen.

  9. ksbeth says:

    some people just suck the emotional energy out of you, relative or not, and you have to do what you can to keep you and your family healthy. go with your instincts and hopefully she will find her way back one day. don’t feel guilty.

  10. I don’t speak to ANY of my family but the hardest one has been my brother. I have had to let go of my family’s abuse and leave him behind AGAIN. It’s sad and I hurt because I can no longer support his lifestyle either. You are experiencing a bit of survivors guilt. We just have to remember they have to go on the journey then need to go on. I can’t make him change! Set firm boundaries and don’t beat your self up! We’ll make it I KNOW we will!

  11. I’m sorry you’re feeling this way.

    If it’s any comfort, I have that same sister too and I’ve learned that all you can do is help when you can, but otherwise you just have to step aside and allow her to live her life – no matter how much it kills you inside.

    • shoes says:

      Thank you. I am sorry you have a similar situation. It is so hard to realize that I cannot help and that by trying to, there is a good chance that I will hurt my own family.

  12. Nancy says:

    That seems very sad and very difficult. I have been in that situation myself. For two years my youngest sister and I did not talk. The reasons were many. We are speaking now, but nothing was every resolved and likely never will be. Things are strained. But we exist. It saddens me. But I accept it. There is hope that someday all will be well. It will take time to get there.

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