Monday, September 26, 2011 10:00 AM
Posted by GG Renee | Filed under In A Word
A couple days ago, my dad called and told me that my brother had a stroke several months ago. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough of a shock – he also had another child. Yup, apparently I have another niece. I had no idea. I have not spoken to my brother in at least a year. I got his current phone number from my dad and called and called and haven’t been able to reach him yet. What kind of craziness is this, anyway? Why don’t we talk anymore?? At all?!
My mother doesn’t speak to her family anymore – mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter – no one. It breaks my heart to think that one day, when my kids are adults, they could have a falling out that would lead them to not talk to each other for YEARS. And even more unimaginable is that one of my children would become estranged from me and their father. I can't even wrap my mind around that.
Part of the rift in my family was caused by my mother’s illness. Her behavior alienated everyone over time, because no one knew how to deal with it. My maternal grandmothers (one is biological and one is step) are the only ones who continued to try and stay close to my mom but she consistently pushed them away. Some families come together when there is turmoil and others come apart.
My brother and I didn’t have a falling out. We just stopped keeping up with each other. He lives back home where I grew up in PA, and I live in MD. He changes his phone number all the time, and I would always have to hunt him down to get his new number. I guess one of those times, I was consumed with my own life and didn’t hunt him down. Before I knew it, months and months had passed. What if the call I received from my dad about my brother had been much worse? What if I never had an opportunity to talk to him again? He might think I'm mad at him or something for all I know. My heart breaks at the thought that I haven't been there for him when he's obviously been going through so much.
This is a wakeup call for me.
I know I can’t control all of the resentment and confusion that has estranged us over the years, but there’s no excuse for me to not do my part to change it. Even if no one picks up, I will call. Even if I get no response, I will write. And I will teach my children by example that we don't turn our backs on family.
Are you close with your family, and if not, do you wish you could change that?