Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The More Things Change...

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.

20 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Families are hard. I haven't talked to my own mom in months.

Deb said...

What an appropriate title for this post. I am in a similar situation with my elderly parents -major communication breakdowns, denial through the years. We go along pretending, I try to decide if I am brave enough for a confrontation of sorts, I chicken out, and the cycle continues...your boys are fortunate to have a mom who cares, who communicates, who is compassionate and honest. Keep on doing what you are doing!

Halftime Lessons said...

Happiness. Unconditional love.

I look at the larger piece of my family and feel those things. And there are a couple of pieces that I have made smaller over time that I can't offer my unconditional love. Or hope for their happiness.

I know how odd it is to see me comment tonight. I only hope it is received well.

My sister is a heroin addict. And I can't lay it off on the drugs, or alcohol, she is simply...broken. And I have watched her hurt our family for almost 30 years. My mother enables, my brother and other sister love unaware of what they missed.

And I'm commenting tonight because I understand some of what you feel. And I am hoping, for you.

Jay

Summer said...

Wow, sounds like my husbands side of the family. With an alcoholic mom, enabling grandparents, and a brother and sisters falling in the alcoholic ways....we are slowly cutting ties left and right.

It breaks my heart.

Ronnie "Sickboy" Sharpe said...

I don't think cutting ties means cutting contact. Picking up the phone may cause heartache, frustration and 30 minutes of your life, but it's the little investments that you make now that could pay dividends in the future.

Family is ALWAYS worth it. You can look back on your life and know that you did your very best to make the situation right.

What they do should have no bearing on what you do as I assume it doesn't in any other aspect of your life, so why would it matter now?

Ronnie

Quirkyloon said...

That's rough Deb. Real rough. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Family relationships seem to be the trickiest!

{hugs}

Sera said...

I'm not really sure what to say. I just want you to know that I'm sorry this is the way it is. For what it's worth, you are an amazing mom, and you would do anything for your kids. I don't think you have to worry about them feeling this way toward you - ever. Sending big hugs your way.

jori-o said...

Have you talked to your boys about it? Maybe they're not ready for such conversation / won't appreciate it...I just know that there have been key moments in my life as a teen and on up through the years, where I either actively thought to myself--or it was pointed out to me--that what was going on, what I was right in the middle of right then, was NOT how I wanted things to be later on in life, if I had any say in it. Kind of, witnessing an example of what NOT to do. Maybe it's me plugging my ears and screaming LALALALALA at the top of my lungs in the face of reality, but just deciding that my future relationships will NOT be a certain way is very liberating.

Yeah, it's a work in progress =)

Under the Influence said...

That sucks - tough decisions.

All anyone (I) can do is control their (my) own actions and be able to live with the actions they (I) choose.

Nobody's Girl said...

I believe that being part of a family requires dealing with the good and the bad. Mostly the bad, unfortunately. It sounds like your brother's addiction is a live-out-loud symptom of your family's dysfunction and you feel the weight of that. But what do I know.

I DO know that I'm always here for you. And I cheer you on in your endeavor to live in the Truth.

http://aintnobodysgirl.blogspot.com/2009/03/truth.html

♥georgie♥ said...

I tell ya...what is it about parents from that generation? sometimes i loath mine sometimes i feel sorry for them...

HUGS deb!

deb said...

oh we could talk ... and talk , about who we're not talking to, and why it's so hard to, and then we could blog about why it almost drives us mad, if it wasn't for the grace of , and those cute kiddie hearts.
love you a little reading this,
deb

angie said...

Family dynamics are so complex......it's too bad that they aren't always complex in good ways. Sigh.

Ann's Rants said...

That one is a big fat, resigned, head-shaking sigh.

Families.

Yup.

xoxo

Lovin Lane said...

Thanks for your kind words.... Our kids really are wonderfully different that is for sure... Yes the life thrilling adventures I could live without....lol.. Helmet going on grocery list lol... I really enjoy your blogs and your creativity... Your blogs are so honest, creative and refreshing... And yes teenagers, whew that is way more that a blog post lol... My teens are not much into pics or posts, they prefer I abuse Lane... lol.. he doesnt know any better... what will I do when he is a teen...

Sweet Annabelle said...

"And, oh, how I want them to look back and remember the happiness and unconditional love." ---- Yes! Me, too!

Em said...

Oh Deb - Hubs and I have this conversation on a weekly basis - will our boys feel the same, act the same? No, because we are not our parents - and neither are you.

I'm sorry that you're hurting. So sorry.

Brenda Jean said...

Family. Sigh. I so wish I had some sage wisdom for you, but nope, I don't. My grandmother passed away and I still can't be sad that I didn't have a relationship with her. I saw things she did to my mom and dad that made me sick--one at my brother's funeral. I think later they wanted me to forgive and forget and I couldn't. I start to feel bad, then I stop myself. I don't think I'm helping you so I'll just shut up now:) I just wanted you to know that I understand.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

You can't assume responsibility for other people's actions, inactions, or reactions. Once you've accepted that, then you'll be a lot happier, regardless of how much you choose to interact with your family. But I'm sure you already know that and sometimes you get sucked in anyway, wanting to make things better, setting too high of expectations on other people and getting disappointed. I'm sorry you have to go through such a mess and the fact you are even one atom more self-aware than them means your relationship with your own kids is already SO much better.

(((hugs)))

- Margaret

mama-face said...

OH, I always worry that my children will grow up and be like me; all dysfunctional with each other as I am with my siblings. Hopefully they follow their father's footsteps.

another belated comment.