Letter to my Sister

Dear Sister

You are the only sibling I have. My One and Only. I am your only sibling, your One and Only.

Ours has not been an easy relationship, we are 4 years apart, which, when you are growing up, is a lifetime.

Our family was dysfunctional, an alcoholic mother and an emotionally unavailable father. We were at a disadvantage from the beginning.

That being said, I have spent almost 50 years trying to be your ‘family’ – in my own strange way, the only way I knew how.

Growing up, you were never there to look after me or to protect me. You never helped me with homework, we never walked to school together. We never played together, or cooked together. We were never taught to look after each other or to look out for each other. Instead we fended for ourselves. Alone, singularly and selfishly.

All my adult life I have been trying to fix that. I’ve been trying to be your friend, trying to get some type of emotional connection with you. I never did. You never let me.

You, in your limited emotional way, decided to rely on friends, and to rather spend time with them and not at home. Home was hard, and loud and scary, and so you left as soon as you could.  I was left alone in that loud, scary environment, fending for myself, and hiding in the cupboard when I was scared, and left as soon as I had an option to. I went to safe and secure boarding school. It saved my life, or rather my sanity.

We never grew up together. I never understood the phases you were going through as you went through them because I was just trying to keep breathing, keep afloat, keep sane, keep a roof over my head.

Your wedding was a blur, you married a man I had met briefly 3 times, and then you had a child a long way away from where I lived, and I never had the opportunity to be an aunt in the way I should have been. I didn’t know what it meant, or what I had to do.

I was at one of the christenings, but I had no idea what having a baby meant. I was not a good aunt, I admit. But neither were you. Maybe if you had shown me the way it might have been easier, I could have learnt from you.

I got married, and you came, but the best thing was you came for the birth of my first child – the closest we had been ever, and that was a magic day.  You left the same day she was born, but you had been there – we almost got close.

You also arrived after the next baby was born –  I was amazed and grateful for the help. It was wonderful, and made me realise that I should have made a bigger effort when your kids were born, but I had been so busy just trying to survive, almost starving at times, that I had no other space in my mind. I’m sorry that was the case.

You very kindly made space for me and the kids when I was getting divorced, and I tried very hard to forge a relationship then. Really hard. But you were not receptive, and when I moved out it got far worse. Far worse. So bad I asked for us to go see a therapist together, which you agreed to as long as it was Dad’s therapist. We went. You said “I don’t want or need to have a relationship with you and I don’t think I ever will.” I remember the shocked face on Ina, the therapist, and her saying ” I don’t think it it can be said any more clear than that.” I was devastated. I had to leave, for my sanity. I left the country, with my kids.

Our father died – we bonded  little over that, but it ended soon enough. Our mother died, and you let me sort out her stuff on my own, in your garage, but alone.

We went on a holiday together at great expense to me – one I couldn’t really afford….it didn’t help.

Still, my need and longing for a relationship and a strong bonding with you continued. I tried. When I heard you were coming here, and weren’t going to visit me, I phoned you and made you feel guilty, so you came. It didn’t help.

When you husband arrived and posted photos of him traveling and with other family but never once contacted us, I said nothing.
When I saw photos of him with my EX husband, and he hadn’t contacted his own nephew and niece, I said nothing.

But I cried a little each time, realising that the wish of us being close was being shoved in my face subtly each time – “here – take this, we don’t want a relationship with you”.

You never told me about your kids or kept me updated, so I stopped asking. It’s hard to keep asking like a little child saying “pick me ! Pick me !” and not being picked. And still I kept trying.

And now the latest in the litany of family events. Your daughter gets married and we are not in ONE of the family photos. Not even the cousins together. NOT ONE.  I wonder if as we get older you will feel sorry about that. If you will ever be sorry that you never had a close relationship with you one and only sibling.

The other thing that amazed me is I had eloped to Las Vegas with the man I have always loved, barely 2 months before and you never ONCE asked me about the wedding, asked to see my rings, or about Las Vegas. Not once. Not that we spoke more than 30 mins in the 4 days we were there for the wedding.

My husband can’t believe I am so sad about the loss of this relationship, he seems to think I should get over it.  I guess you need to have a sibling who doesn’t give a shit to understand the hurt and emotions coursing through my mind.

I told him I am grieving for the death of my family. He thinks that’s dramatic, but it’s how I feel. Deep down inside. Deep, painful, hurt.  Deep loss. Slight anger and frustration.

So, I need to let it go. It’s easier said than done. But somehow I need to come to terms with it and move on and away forever.

I need to take you off FB, and all the other social media sights that throw our lack of a relationship in my face. Maybe one day our kids will have the temerity to get over our crap and be friends, but with the likely hood of our relationship having poisoned them, I’m not holding my breath.

Our has been a difficult road, made all the more difficult for me because of my high expectation of you. I expected more of you. I expected you to rise to the challenge, and want a blood family.  I expected a whole lot more. even though there were rebuffs from you regularly, I still expected you to want to be my sister. My One and Only.

So this is the letter I write to you to explain to you my feelings.  The letter of the things I’d like to say to you but never will. It wouldn’t help if I did, I realise that. I’ve spent my life trying not to piss you off.  In case you would then be my friend. I guess those days are over. So is our so called relationship.  It never was and never will be. I will always be sad bout that.

I wish you a good life. I hope one day you get rid of all that anger you hold inside. I wish you “enough”.

Your Sister ( One and Only)


I wish you enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how grey the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

(The copyright for this poem belongs to the author: Bob Perkins)



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