My family has been a broken and fractured thing in the past. Not the family I grew but the family I came from. My parents divorce, lies, deceit, selfishness and anger have all played their part in my past. It was very obvious from a young age that my parents did not like each other terribly much and us kids often felt it keenly and on occasion bore the brunt of it. Growing up felt tough. They divorced when I was 15. This did not make things better. They went from disliking each other to despising each other fairly quickly and the family fractured apart completely. There were a whole host of reasons for this but that is their story to tell, not mine.
Then my brother died.
This made what was already a terrible family environment far worse. Tolerances from the past become intolerable from the now and the family fractured apart even further, something that I would have thought impossible until it happened. I had already reached the point of little to no contact with my father and now there was a distance growing between my mother and I, and because of that there was limited contact with my remaining brother, sister and step brother and step sister.
My brother left behind a wife and 2 very young children. His wife blocked us from ever seeing them again and within a month had changed their last name to her maiden name. I can understand why she did this. She needed to protect herself. There was a whole host of things that lead up to my brother taking his own life and her side of that story is not a pleasant one. I can imagine that she lives with terrible guilt at times and fear that the children will find out what happened. Her solution was to remove us from their lives.
I have always believed that you should not allow your feelings about a person guide anyone else’s opinion. Due to this I would allow my father access to my daughter whenever he wanted even though we weren’t talking. Over the course of the next 10 years this shared love of my daughter has healed what seemed an impossible chasm. It was slow progress but we are now 20 years in the future and I am my daddies princess and we are close. He pops into work all the time with home baked treats for me and the staff as well as little treasures that he finds when his trawling second hand shops.
My relationship with my mother remains fractured. This is due to a whole host of things but mostly due to us just being very different people. I am working on this. I realise that it is I that have distanced myself in a lot of ways and I am working on this.
Over the past 5 years my extended family and I have worked at bridging the gaps. I now have a lot of contact with my brother and email my sister regularly. I will go and visit her one day but as she is a rather expensive plane ride away this is a future thing.
My cousins and I are back in touch and we are close. They came to my daughters 21st.
Its amazing what the joint love of one precious wee soul, my amazing daughter, can do to bring a family back together.
But we are all still missing something vital. My brothers daughters.
I made contact with my oldest niece when she was 16. This lasted a week and her mother found out and told her that if she didn’t cease contact that she would be disowned and thrown out of the house. It was my fault. I told the beautiful girl to be honest with her mother that she was talking to me. I didn’t want secrets. After the epic melt down beautiful niece emailed me and told me what had happened. I told her that as much as it wasn’t fair that she had to listen to her mother and to come and find me again when she was ready.
I have had to wait another 8 years but last month she contacted my daughter via good old Facebook. We gave her space but last week I added her myself and we started messaging. She has been told that we were the ones that removed contact. She figured this might be incorrect after we spoke when she was 16. Smart kid 🙂 I sent her photo’s from my fathers house showing her pictures on the wall of her up until the age of 3. She rang almost immediately and got to talk to her granddad for the first time in 21 years.
She knows almost nothing of her father. She has almost nothing of her fathers. Her mother has attempted to wipe all memory of him from her world. I have told beautiful niece that she can ask me anything that she wants about her dad, anything at all, except for the major stuff about the ending. I have told her that it is her mothers story and her mothers journey and I can’t, or won’t, impact on that.
Somebody told me I should tell beautiful niece everything but I don’t agree. My brothers death has caused enough pain and heartache. It has to end now. Beautiful niece is now 24 years old and I am 45. That means that we have a lot of happy memories to look forward to and to make for the future AND I get to talk about how wonderful my brother was to somebody new who wishes to have known him. Its time to look forward not back.
We are having lunch together this Saturday. For the first time in 21 years I get to hug my beautiful niece.
I knew she would come back. Patience really is a virtue xx