Last night my Mom convinced me to let her share some of my writing with my sisters. I am very close to my sisters. But it is a pretty rare occasion we share much that is this intense. I think we all assume each other know. Pretty much I was terrified for her to do this.
Reasons for being terrified 1) I didn’t want them to pity me 2) I didn’t want them to think I was faking 3) I knew Sarah would be on my doorstep unannounced looking for signs of me hurting myself
In the middle of the night last night while I was nursing I did a quick check on my phone to see if any new emails had come in. I like to try and keep myself awake so I don’t end up sleeping awkwardly in a chair. To my surprise there was an email from Angela.
Angela is usually the silent one of us girls. When things go wrong or when there is a lot of excited conversation she tends to become the observer. About 8 years ago Angela also went through a divorce (sort of), she took her two sweet boys and left her husband. Through this time and for quite sometime after it was pretty obvious she struggled. I mean who wouldn’t?
My sisters and I
In her email she related back to that time and how she really knew what I was talking about. Some of the words she used and her kindness brought me to tears. Try nursing a baby in the dark and crying on top of it, tricky.
One thing that struck me is she talked about feeling like she couldn’t talk to anyone. Or how she didn’t want to be the only one in our large family to go through a divorce. At the time my grandma and grandpa were the only ones to ever go through one. She talked about feeling like she was not able to give her boys the same kind of intense love she wanted to because she was in a tough state.
I remember that time in her life. I remember it well. And reading her email made me think a few things. 1) It made it a tiny bit easier to feel like I have someone close to me that it might be easier to relate with. 2) A little bit ashamed of myself.
It was not hard to look at Angela at that time and see she was struggling. It was tough to watch. But as sisters we had always been close and at the same time really tough on each other. We kept each other in check. But I think we had forgotten to learn that sometimes we needed to just simply take care of each other. I think the three of us thought by just physically helping with the boys and doing things socially with Angela AND by continuing to tell her she had to leave her situation that we were showing a great deal of support. But looking back now and going through a depression of my own, I wish I had lived this first so I could have been there for her in the way she needed at that time.
I now believe she needed to be able to feel safe, to feel like she could say the outrageous, nasty, or plain sad things she may have felt and needed to and not feel judged. But instead to just feel whole-heartedly loved. After all you sisters (and mom) are the people you should be able to say the dark things to, to ugly cry to, to heal with, and laugh at the end with (and maybe a little along the way).
So I regret that. But I guess I only knew what I knew at the time. I was young and quite frankly self-centered.
Sarah and I
I recall one time that I truly was desperately sad and having a mild breakdown where my sisters got me through. Ben and I had just really started to make a connection and he chose to leave to PEI. He went with the intent of not really coming back. So I drove him out to the Bashaw airport where he got in his plane and flew away. I remember getting back to my mom’s house and my sisters all sitting around in the living room. I could tell they were not sure what to expect from me. I remember lying on the couch with my head in Shannon’s lap, crying, crying so hard. And her stroking my head. Now if you knew our relationship you would know this was big! And I remember the others trying to make me laugh and assure me he would be back. They took me out that night and tried to distract me the best they could. I remember thinking I had never felt quite so connected. *side note he did come back 3 weeks later J
This morning as I was taking time to reflect on Angela’s email I looked out my window to see Sarah trooping up the driveway. I smiled to myself. Sarah gets awkward in intense situations. This would not be the exception. She sat in my house for an hour making chitchat. And I am sure checking my body over for cut marks or sign of harm. The whole time I was smiling on the inside waiting to see what would happen. She did finally decide to say something. She’s kind of like a man about it. Few words and tough. “Read your letters, don’t be foolish, everyone goes through that kinda stuff some people it just lasts longer…” I could tell she didn’t quite know where to go after this statement. And I would have loved to get into it with her further but at this point I still feel so weak and no it would have sent me into tears. Which Sarah would really not handle well!
I have spent a lot of time wondering why God has given me the struggles he has. Why I have to walk this road with far too many road bumps. Through my writing and even just receiving Angela’s email I feel like I may be getting a bit closer to figuring it all out.