For those of you following along at home, we last left "The Big Family Breakup," with me having a major showdown with my elderly parents in the middle of the airport (with basically me doing both the showing and the downing), as my newly-minted alcoholic brother, fresh out of ICU, headed straight to rehab, as he had been forbidden to return home to his wife and kids. As with any good cliffhanger, I sat on the plane back to DC, torn between cutting all ties and resolving to make amends.
Fast forward three months...
Well, my brother seems to be on the mend, so to speak, but I really only know that second-hand. I'm in my usual avoidance mode with my parents, leading them to believe I'm still a somewhat willing participant in this whole nonsense that is our family unit. But of course, there has been no real dialogue. No actual communication or discussion of feelings, regrets, wishes, solutions. And I am having a hard time accepting that there won't be. There just won't. They can't do it... They don't know how.
Which leads me to feel like I need to be an adult about all of this and throw a little compassion their way.
It's all very weird and extremely sad. It would break my heart into a million tiny pieces if my boys grew up to feel this way. Not only because of the adult relationship we would be missing, but because I would know their distance is a consequence of a childhood gone awry.
And, oh, how I want them to look back and remember the happiness and unconditional love.