I wonder how many of you realize that I have siblings as I never speak about them on this blog. I plan to correct that here and now.
My siblings are all older than I, twelve to thirteen years older, and all half-siblings. I am fifty-five so these people are all much closer to seventy than I. That fact disturbs me a bit for if they are near seventy then that means that I’m not twenty anymore even though my brain sometimes tells me I am. Also they are the age that my parents were when they died and that fact seems entirely impossible for me to comprehend.
One sister is from my mother’s first marriage, the other sister and the lone brother from my dad’s first marriage. Let’s call them N, M, and R respectively. Our relationships now, and over the years have been…awkward, stilted, odd, almost non-existent, loving, hurtful, and complicated.
N was a mother figure for me for so many years. By now you know the alcoholism in the family picture. N was the only one of the three who lived with my parents and gave some assemblage to the image of a nuclear family when I was young. She would play with me. She would comfort me at night when my dad was passed out and my mom was ranting about ‘letting the kid cry herself to sleep.’ She escaped home at eighteen by getting married just after her high school graduation. I felt abandoned and alone, but N and her then husband stepped in and did what they could to include me in their newly married life.
M was married by then and R was always portrayed as the wild-child, the black-sheep, the good-for-nothing son who had spent most of his life fucking up small things, relationships, and himself. He lived off-and-on on our couch at times. I never really knew either M or R when I was young, thus I imagined them more as an aunt/uncle combo rather than a real sister and brother. In their defense, they lived farther away than any child could visit comfortably without a car and someone to drive that car. I would see M on the occasional visit taken with my dad, but when I think back, those visits really weren’t all that often. Not often at all when you have expectations of just how often a father should visit his child(ren).
It wasn’t until I was older, an adult with my own family, that I learned more about all of my siblings, about all of their issues with our shared parents and the spouses of those parents that existed only as names to me. I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who had been screwed up/over by our shared parents, but by then it wasn’t easy to negotiate a relationship with other adults who were supposed to be family but who were, in reality, strangers.
N had lived in the same community as me in an ongoing sisterly role until her first marriage failed and she remarried and moved to Puerto Rico for a time. I really don’t remember much about that except to say that I think she was rebelling, and really messed up after the loss of her first love. Plus she was having issues with her own adult child. It is after her return, and the associated path my own love life took through break-up and into a new relationship, that marks a change between N and I. So much of those years are tied still to alcoholism and lies and jealousy and suffice to say that our sisterly bond went south in a hurry. It was never really fully repaired, and in fact, after some ups and downs over twenty years, retired into the realm of ‘there is no relationship anymore.’
There is a lot to say about each of these people and I think that what I planned as a simple post is going to turn into a few posts. I see things becoming confused and jumbled if I continue trying to tell the big story among all these little ones. So I’ll return to each sibling alone, allocated to their own post or two as necessary.
I also have a sneaking suspicion that the illness discussed here just prior to Christmas, that one passed on by Miss G’s grandpa to the entire family, has 1) mutated into a new form, or 2) an all new monster has managed to invade my mucous membranes and is mounting an attack. My sinuses are achy, and my throat has that pre-sore throat feeling. There may be other symptoms, but I am choosing to ignore them for now because we all know that if you ignore it, it will simply go away. Right?