My parents came to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday. This is different from most previous years, where we traveled with the kids and tried to see everyone on both sides of the family in four days. That was exhausting and stressful, but it was also fun to catch up and see everyone for the holiday. After my grandma died in 2020, there seemed to be no reason to travel with the kids, and my parents decided to come visit us this year.
As many of my previous blogs have suggested, my family relationships are… fraught. But, the past day and a half have been really fun. My kids have been overjoyed to see my parents, and my parents have just lit up to be able to run around and play with my kids. It’s been really nice.
I can’t stop thinking about my brother, though. It’s as though he never existed. I don’t mention him. My parents don’t mention him. My kids don’t even know his name. My husband has only met him twice. We may never see him again.
When I sent my final message to him, I decided it was too hurtful to keep asking about him–he’s still in touch with my parents, so I used to periodically ask about him. I don’t do that anymore, so it’s like he’s gone. He’s faded. I see his wife post something now and again on Instagram, and on the rare occasions that she posts a picture of his face, my whole body goes rigid. My breath sucks in and gets stuck, my heart explodes, my limbs freeze. It’s like looking in a mirror. I know every feature of that face–our face–so intricately. It’s odd that I may never see it again in person.
I don’t know what to do with all of this. It’s a lonely place. I’m the only one he doesn’t speak to at all–the only number that he’s blocked. I am sad, and mad, and frustrated, and confused, and heartbroken. I don’t know what else I can do (nothing), and I don’t know how to do nothing.
I recently was thinking about the trauma of estrangement. It’s so painful. It’s not a full-blown loss, because he’s still out there in the world someplace, and someday something COULD change… but there’s also nothing I can do to change things. It’s like a thousand little losses strung together each day he’s still gone.