Finding Joy

Finding Joy
I am estranged from my “side” of the family.  I always hated my brother, he was abusive and brutal, there is no love lost between us.  My hatred deepened every time he put 2D sized batteries in his fist and bashed the side of my head, or spit on me, or stole from me and my parents told me to stop doing whatever it was that caused him to do those things to me.   My sister and I tried tolerate each other, but we live in different versions of reality and have nothing in common, she’s exacting and controlling and everything is always someone else’s fault.  She delivers the message in the tone I imagine one of Shakespeare’s witches would speak; shrill and condescending.  Neither sibling someone I would chose to have in my life, but we share a bloodline, so I try and leave the door open, well, if I’m honest, the door is unlocked, but the chain is on it so they have to ask permission to come in. 

My parents,  that’s a different story.  I want them in my life, I beg for them in my life, they reject me at every pass. My Mom and I have always been up and down, she immensely controlling, and me, as a child, the victim of abuse, I possessed a desire to please that as an adult lead to anger and rage and intolerance of her aging and becoming more and more controlling.   It’s hard to admit that, as my patience with her should be more, but it wasn’t, and lead to confrontation after confrontation. Earlier this year  she expelled me from her life.  I left her home knowing in my soul I will never see her alive again. That I will likely get a call from one of my siblings one day telling me she is gone, I won’t even be gifted the opportunity to say goodbye. I have even wondered at times if they will call, or if they will just let me know long after she is gone. The final chance they will have to twist the knife long ago placed directly into my heart.    I’ve wrestled with it.  Cried tears of pity (for myself) sorrow (for my children) pain (for her). I’ve looked back and wondered where it happened, and why.  I replay the incident that lead to my children being vanquished from her life and I remain as stunned as the day it happened.  I try and remind myself that she is sick, that she is mentally not 100% anymore, and the days of long conversations, laughter, tears of joy and pain are forever gone.  I miss those days, I cry tears of loneliness for the Mother I had so briefly, tears of longing, for the Mother I so desperately want, that never truly wanted me.  I cling to the memory of her in the early years of my marriage, when I was having my children, she was so tender and loving she adored them as babies and toddlers, it was the years after she would reject them.  I will never stop trying,  I send flowers for Mother’s Day, or encourage my children to contact her.  I call and text, but I am dismissed for a better phone call, my iMessages ignored, and then later told I am not even making an effort to repair the relationship.  

My Father is not an easy man to love. Controlling, short tempered, an obsession with food he passed onto me.  I was an anorexic/bulimic teenager that to this day fights the urge to binge and purge.  He is a man I just never got along with. I loved and respected him, or perhaps feared him, I’m not sure which.  He would deny me food, telling me I had eaten enough for the day and take away my plate, giving it to my brother, who would gleefully eat it in front of me.  I resented him for it, always wondering why I didn’t measure up to my siblings and why he was never happy with me.  I wonder that still.  

I sometimes get lost in my own self pity, but, I look at my husband, he misses his Father, together we mourn the man who’s body moved on this year, but the life inside of it, the soul, had vacated it years before. My husbands pain very deep and raw, something I would bear for him, if I could.  But since it’s not something that can be done it is easy to say.   I think of those that I have lost, the high school suicide, the late 20’s death by his own hand, the car accident that snuffed out more than 1 life, the best friend who’s demons could not be drowned until he finally succumbed.  
And I remind myself how precious life is.

Now, as my first major Holiday approaches without anyone from the family I grew up in involved in my world I find myself, for the first time ever in my life knowing that I am loved. No one is gaslighting me, making me wonder if I am worthy of the incredible love and happiness I have found.  My sister will not be around suggesting to my husband that he should take my kids and leave, that I am a miserable person and undeserving of him.  
While I still haven’t been able to forgive my past I find myself making strides towards it.   I have been able to put it behind me, no longer allowing it to define who I am.  I have found incredible happiness in my life. Joy that took me a long time to realize I deserve. I dream of a day we can all find such unadulterated bliss. 

Knowing the family I was born into is out there, a cohesive family that just chooses to not have me in it I am aware more than ever how important forgiveness is.  I will never stop trying, I will never close the door, but I have accepted it and come to realize and accept it is them, it is not me.  
Hug your children, forgive the person you have feuded with for longer than you can remember.  Call your Mother, don’t stop trying, no matter how many times she rejects you.  When she leaves this Earth and moves  onto the next life you will not have a do over, she will be forever taken from your sight and you will have to find strength in what is left. Find that strength in knowing you did everything you could.  What better time to close the chapter on the past and open a new, blank page for the future than Thanksgiving? Sit down for Thanksgiving and find your joy.  Remember the good and don’t drown yourself in the swamp of the past.  Let it go, no one is responsible for your joy but you.  Find it. Let the past go. 

This was authored by an woman who chose to remain an anonymous. She found it therapeutic in sharing her story.

Can you relate to her story?

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