I had an amazing childhood. I mean really, really amazing. Just about perfect. I rarely, if ever, saw my parents fight. My brother and I ran wild in the backyard, which connected to our friends’ yards, through fields and forests (probably not as large as my childhood memories lead me to believe.) We had a pool and our grandparents in the “in-law” apartment downstairs. We had dogs and cats and horses and goats. My cousins were nearby and we saw them weekly. It was perfection.
Could I point out this event or that event that was less then perfect? Sure, my dad worked a lot and he missed stuff. I know this because he tells us that now. I never felt like he actually missed anything, I remember him coaching sports and sitting in the crowd for all of my activities. But if he said he missed out on part of our childhood, I’m sure he did. He worked hard. And let’s face it… at some point growing up, my brother and I were teenagers. So you know there was some ornery times in our house.
But we were THAT family. The one that all our friends wanted to be around. The family that stuck together, even when we moved apart. We were close, always. And geography was nothing more than a technicality to us.
So as I try to cope with the last year, I can’t help but look around and wonder…
What the fuck happened?
It all fell apart.
One Sunday Night.
My brother and his fiancee came to visit. They’ve had some hard times. Stress was building. There was a fight. My parents and my brother, lashing out at each other over years of very clearly unresolved issues. For four hours, I watched and listened and attempted to mediate what I could only hope was a clearing of the slate. A violent storm of words, washing away animosity on both sides that neither knew existed. I watched in utter shock the words being flung back and forth like arrows with poison tips. We all cried. We hugged and I went home. Leaving my brother and his fiancee at my parents house. Two days later, they left to go back to Connecticut.
And I was so, so wrong.
Nothing was improving, nothing was washed away. Scars were left by words. It became increasingly more clear to me that this was not a clearing of the slate. Putting 1000 miles between them didn’t help the situation. The communication broke down. They weren’t speaking. Where the hell did my family go?
And there I was. In the middle.
Don’t you think this? Don’t you feel that? How are mom and dad. How is your brother. Do you think I was wrong? Were we really out of line? ENOUGH! I finally told them all I was out. You want to know how your son is doing? Pick up the phone and call him. You want to what your parents are thinking? Ask them. And that was that. I removed myself from the triangle.
Sadly, this (and months of therapy) did little to help me heal. My perfect family will never be the same. Everything I knew that I could always depend on was a shattered mess. I fell apart. And nobody knew it. Nobody in my family even bothered to ask how I felt about it all. As if they didn’t even realize that it had affected me.
So now, with nearly a year gone by, I guess everyone is at least speaking. On occasion, the other will be mentioned to me in a passing conversation. Everyone is living their lives. Who knows if anything will ever improve.
I still love my family more than anything, but now it’s with a heavy heart. I took for granted the way we were and I wish I had appreciated more of what we had. Because we will never, ever have that again. Life goes on and these things happen, I know. My story could be much worse, I know that too. I wasn’t part of the battle, but I got scarred in the cross fire.
Here’s hoping time really does heal all wounds.