You may recall from previous posts that I am the oldest of three children. Unfortunately for my dad, I am the oldest of three daughters. I am the black sheep. I have moved away from home and back again numerous times. The middle sibling certainly suffers from “middle child syndrome” and has never moved away from home. The youngest sibling is estranged from the family. It is possible you may also recall from my previous post that my relationship with my parents at this moment in time is tumultuous. As such I was in a dilemma recently where I thought I may have to distance myself from my family much like my youngest sibling did. I was preparing myself to mourn them as if they were dead.
Today the dead has risen and I may have assaulted them.
Every month here in Columbus Ohio a small portion of our city holds a Gallery Hop on the first Saturday of every month. I have not attended this in years but a friend of mine said he would really like to go. He said he had never been. We missed the last two months for one reason or another and so we had decided on June. We ate at one of the staple diners and got to enjoy some great people watching. Then we walked from gallery to gallery, taking in and enjoying the art, the antiques, the local music, the pimped out rides driving down the street, and the beauty of our community coming together.
It was towards the end of the night when we entered the last shop that the zombie apocalypse hit. The shop was packed full with antiques. There were make shift aisles divided by stacked furniture. There were dead ends in some places as if we were in a hoarders maze. We were just finishing up our tour and heading towards the exit when it happened. I looked up and I saw a ghost coming straight towards me, it was my youngest sister.
I had no time to think, By the time I registered it was my youngest sister she was already directly in front of me. We had to adjust ourselves to be able to pass each other in the small aisle and before I could think of anything else, my automatic impulse, my reflex was to reach out for her arm. I grabbed her. And before I knew it I was reaching out, giving her husband’s arm a light squeeze too. My mouth spoke “You can’t say Hi?” before I even registered what I was doing. She said “Hi” and in the same instant we kept walking away from each other.
I had been so busy living my life, keeping her out of my mind because “she’s gone” that when I saw her out of the blue, my instinct was to reach out for her. My heart wanted to tell her I miss her. This entire exchange lasted milliseconds. That’s how much time I had to embrace the person that is lost to me.
My friend was so confused. “Were you trying to reach out for me? Did you know them?” he asked. “No, That’s my sister.” I told him. “What?! That was so weird… Is that the one that doesn’t…?” He asked. “Yeah, That’s the one that excommunicated us.” I told him. “That was so fast, I don’t even know what she looks like… she didn’t look like you.” He said. “Yup, I know.” I said.
I thought to myself well, maybe the benefit of the doubt is that she didn’t recognize me. Maybe that’s why she didn’t stop to say Hi. But my rational mind came in and told me that if she had recognized me, she probably would’ve gone down a different aisle all together to avoid me. Then I started to think about how there is no benefit of the doubt because if her excuse was that she didn’t recognize me, then it’d be on her for not wanting me in her life. Of course you wouldn’t recognize someone who you’ve exiled.
That’s how I feel about it, exiled.
I have a lot of anger about her choice that I push away and don’t face. I’m upset that she left us. I’m upset that she doesn’t want us. I’m upset that she doesn’t love us back. It was so weird towards the end. Growing up she was fairly forgiving, easily made happy. She would be content with any gift as long as the intent was loving.
I used to walk her to school, and then later, I drove her to school. She was moms favorite. She and mom used to have private lunch dates that no one else got. My mom used to buy her a new toy every payday… it was their thing. She slept in my moms bed till she was 9 years old. When she attempted suicide we did everything we could to ensure her safety, well-being, and health. When she stressed that she couldn’t handle the social pressures of high school we home schooled her. We all attended her graduation.
Suddenly we weren’t good enough for her. As soon as she found her husband it was like a monster had cocooned out of her shell. She started recalling memories of horror that weren’t hers to recall, they were mine or our middle sisters. She suddenly had no recollection of any good times we’d had. There was no forgiveness in her heart. She judged each and every one of us as if we were the worst sinners in the world. She claimed all of our support was unworthy and thus, we were “not supportive”. She even started to abuse and neglect her dog.
The dog became a big upset. If there’s anything you could learn growing up in my family it was how to care so compassionately for animals. That dog now lives with my parents. He’s doing much better.
I had heard the horror stories of her treatment towards my family. My big falling out with her was after I had witnessed her treatment of the dog. I spoke up and she went behind my back to spin the story to my dad. My dad who she said she’d never love. My dad who she said was not good enough to attend her wedding. She was lying to him to win his favor to manipulate us. I called her out on it. And that was the end of it.
But what happened to her? It’s like she’s been possessed. My dad was first concerned she was in an abusive relationship because one of the first signs is that they cut their victim off from their support system. It turned out that if anything she was the abuser. She made her husband go vegan and for months in a row he was not allowed to donate blood because his levels were in dangerous places. No, she definitely wears the pants in that relationship so that wasn’t it.
I still can’t believe that all these years she was just stewing, boiling, and bottling up all these mixed emotions about us. I’ll never get answers. That’s what I have to come to terms with. Now more than ever I have to get back to mourning her like she is dead. Hopefully next time I run into her I will be better suited to ignore her like she’s not there.
On my way home I became sad. I’ve been battling my mental illnesses and she’s the only person in the family that can relate. I became sad because in the last three years I have been hospitalized multiple times, I have attempted suicide, I have had my life turned upside down. Had I not lived, I wouldn’t have gotten those milliseconds with her today. And had I not lived, she wouldn’t have even known I was gone. And if I don’t survive this battle with mental illness she won’t be at my funeral. I am more angry and hurt and upset by her than almost anything else.
How does the zombie apocalypse end? Tragically.