Family Secrets….everyone has their own reality (version)

Truths from the Chaos


“So just don’t say anything about the past. Move away somewhere and act like none of your past ever happened.”

*Former sister-in-law* gave this advice to me in the middle of her horrid divorce.  She is also the one who said, "I just quit taking the medication and drink more." No surprise there - what a horrible, ugly divorce.

So....ummm....I gather everyone thinks my life fell apart and that I had nothing better to do than impose myself into the hell storm taking place around the divorce.  It's called being human.  Trying to be there for someone in trouble. Not an unusual practice for most families.

Prior to *that night*, I often described my big brothers world…married to his high school sweet heart for twenty years, 3 kids, two cats, big, beautiful corner lot home on the right side of town, and during Christmas count on life size soldier men standing beside tall white pillars at the front door.

I’d say front page picture worthy in Good Housekeeping Magazine.

...but on *that night* there was nothing good about that night.

See I got the call in the middle of *that night* in late October 2009.

Not dad.

Not mom.

If I recall correctly the instructions were, “Do not call his mom or dad. Call his sister.” The information relayed to me on *that call* awakened a part of my soul that felt as if it had just received an injection of oxygen.

I suppose this is when blood is thicker than water no matter what the history…for me at least. I don’t dare assume any other member of my family would have lifted a finger for me.  Actually I know exactly who in our family would come to my aide if there was reason to believe I was in trouble. Hard not to formulate expectations based on a lifetime of examples.   So yes, shortly after *the call* little sister appears on that side of the Mason Dixon Line.…barely 2 months after my own hell storm.

There was not an instruction manual to prepare or guide me through how to handle the news I received in the middle of *that night*.

The only book in existence was the rule book in my head… filled with a lifetime of examples.


Look the other way.

Don’t get involved.

Let *him* figure it all out….and don’t ask questions.  HA!

Know what?  Given where everything stands TODAY I would do the same thing again knowing the result would be all 6 of us living within ten miles of each other without so much as a word.  But tell the truth.  In silence and in a fucked up way all probably appreciate that I showed up.

Enter little sister….auntie g…sister-in-law; aka Scapegoat. 

What.  Did y’all think I was stupid?

*Your* version takes the focus off all of you.  Predictable.

Let me be clear, where family is concerned, I firmly believe in the concept of minding one’s own business. But on *that night*, try as I might I could NOT compute looking the other way from my sibling. (Like it or NOT big brother.)  I looked the other way once before after a coworker blew his brains out.  I told myself I would never do it again.

Nope. My mind could NOT compute shhhh……

My mind could NOT compute not to ask questions.

No. My mind could NOT compute how to utter the words, “Sorry, not my problem. He’s a big boy. He’ll figure this out.”  How is it possible for a sibling... aunt... sister-in-law not to want to do something?!

I did what I felt was right.  For awhile there it all felt so right.  What was it that you said to me "former sister- in-law", “For once someone in my family comes through.”

I suppose it did become kind of awkward and uncomfortable as I took organized steps to deal with our family shit/my shit in the presence of others stagnate in their own shit, disease, illness and dysfunction.

It’s just….when all a person knows is what a person sees it doesn’t make it the right way.  Certainly not by society standards.  We know this, right? It’s only *right* in the world in which the behavior exists.

Aw hell, don’t let me come off as a snob. I am willing to consider the possibility that I am not right either. I say put the whole story before a jury or committee of our peers for an outside opinion. I doubt there would be much dissension.

The line in the sand was drawn in early 2010.  The writing on the wall was very clear big brother.

Even after all I had tried to do to help, you forced me to choose.

I wanted the truth....and yes, I could handle the truth.  You could not.

I choose to break the fuckin’ pattern even if I am the only one who breaks away from the link.  On that night--in our last conversation -- I chose to remove myself from an ugly, situation that was becoming sicker and sicker by the day.

And maybe as I clean MY SIDE of the street it IS messy, icky, yucky and pathetic and sad.  Call it.  Go ahead. There is collateral damage everywhere. Surely it is obvious none of us will get by unscathed by the truth? 

Tell ya what.  I will tell myyyyyyyy secrets if the rest of you tell yours.  Ahhh…therein lies the mystery, (fear) huh?  Who has the uglier secret (s)? Bring it.

So now do I have any enemies?

GOOD. That means I have stood up for something.

Today I stand up for me.

So, no, I did not take *former sister-in-law’s* advice. ...move away and act like my past does not exist.  Actually I have often wanted to call her to ask, “How’s that approach workin’ out for you…and the kids?”  I wonder if everything still *looks* all Good Housekeeping like. 

Today is simple.  I believe in the words of Albert Einstein,

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

In early 2010 - when all was said and done - my choice was simple. I refuse to accept insanity as a part of my present and future. If that is a problem for anyone…fine.  I simply suggest to all, take a peek in your bedroom mirrors before throwing stones into my reality.





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