I know that my memories are unreliable. I have an excellent and terrible memory at the same time. I have barely any recollection of my childhood, high school, college years. I can’t remember the conversations and events, the meals and celebrations. At a recent conference, a college friend came up and tried to engage with me in what was apparently a four-year running joke between us… I had no clue what was happening.

Then again, there are some things seared into my brain. Moments when my mom lashed out in unprompted rage, like when she spat out horrible words in the nail polish aisle of our local K-Mart. I cannot forget my dad yelling down the stairs that he never loved anyone in our family before he left, slamming the door so hard that our decorative plates fell off the wall and broke. I remember the times he attempted suicide, and visiting him at the mental hospital. These things I can’t forget.

I realize that my memories are unreliable, so I often look to other sources for remembering. My journals are locked up in storage, and I’m grateful for that. I went back through them a lot when I first started therapy. They were helpful, but mostly they broke my heart.

I wrote yesterday about my situation with my estranged brother and how much it hurts. So, as I was trying to occupy my time at the SIXTH commencement celebration of my week, I skimmed through old emails between me and my brother.

I was so surprised by a message I sent him in 2015. Just totally, utterly surprised. I have no recollection of sending it. At this time, we were still relatively communicative. I know he received it and read it. He replied with his thanks for sharing and a promise that we would talk about it all later after he’d had a chance to process. I don’t think we ever did.

The email said it all. It said everything I wanted to say to him. I said that I was sorry, that I was majorly fucked up by our upbringing, too. I said that I was so happy he found a partner. I said that my husband was my salvation and that I wished that for him and his new fiancé. I said I was proud of him for separating from our family in a way I never could. I said that there was so much left unsaid and that I would always be there to talk, or whatever. I would always be there.

If I wrote today, I would say more. My words would be more refined through the lens of lots of therapy. But, at the corse, the message would have been essentially the same.

I don’t know if this makes me feel better or worse, but I think it brings me some peace. He’s heard my words. I’ve said my piece.

Day 46.

Published by Quitter

I’m a college professor, wife, and mother of 2 small kids. I’m on a recovery journey 20 years in the making.

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