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.