A Letter to my sister

Dear Sister,

I’ve been trying so very hard to come to terms with not only your death but your life as well. You were only 31 yrs old when you passed away and although that was a little over 2 years ago, I remember the moment our only living parent,our dad, walked in and saw you lying on your bathroom floor. I wasn’t with him physically but I was on the phone with him the second after he,along with the police, went into your house and saw you. Dad said he would call me back after calling 911 but I just had a feeling that I needed to speak to him and I’m happy I did. I asked him what was going on and he said you were gone. I was in the bathroom,looking in the mirror for whatever reason and after he said you were gone,I automatically said, “Stop playing.” You see I couldn’t process that you didn’t make it this time around. I mean you had been near death a few times before and made it so why would this time be any different? Even now as I’m writing this, I find myself still in disbelief.

After having to deliver the news to family and friends and then making the arrangements for your funeral you would think the hardest part was behind me but little did I know that I would have to battle your “friends” and I use that word very loosely,when it came to your son. I wish you could have seen them scare our aunts into giving your son to them. I was there at our brother’s house when it was decided that he would stay with your ex-husband along with some woman we never met and her son!! I knew than and there that I wasn’t going to play that game of allowing him to not have his family in his life. I listened as your “friends” said they would love and provide for him as their own but he had his own and no matter what we had to do, he was going to remain with his own. You know me well enough to know that when I am determined to do something, it’s going to get done no matter who is offended especially when it comes to the ones I love the most. I am a force to be reckoned with and I dare a soul to get in my way. Thankfully, I had the support of dad and Jay when it came to making the moves needed to get your son back into our lives. In all honesty, I had more of an issues when it came to your friends than I did when it came to your husband. Regardless, we have him now and in fact, Jay and I are his legal guardians so you already know your son will be protected and love like our kids are.

We he came to us, we had no idea he was as,for lack of a better word, “damaged”. We had to deal with him lying about crazy things, that he wasn’t the most sanitary kid in the world, he was struggling so badly in school,or that he had deep mental issues but we worked hard with his therapist to get a better understanding of how to properly deal with him and how to adjust to having him in our family but we did it. He slowly but surely improved his cleaning habits, his grades turned around, he no longer had to take meds, and we all started adjusting to having him live with us. His stepdad would come see him from time to time but it was never consistent and was never really a need but we didn’t stop it from happening because, at the time, we thought the two of them had a healthy relationship. Sis, your son has unconditional love from us,dad and Brenda, our aunts, our brother and his family, Jay’s family, your friend J.J, and from others so know that we all got him.

Recently certain revelations have come out and I have to say it’s been a huge shock for us. It has been a huge struggle to not judge you because I know you had a beautiful heart but I also know what it is to battle personal demons. As parents, society expects us to get it all right but that’s not how life works….we are all flawed, imperfect beings. I have made several hundred mistakes when it comes to my children so I’m not mad about the mistakes, I’m pissed that steps weren’t taken to get toxic people out of your life. I’m pissed that the need to be loved took precedence over your responsibilities. I’m upset because you didn’t tell us what was really going on….you could have told me because I would have held you down. I know what it is to be a single mom, to want companionship to the point of personal sacrifice. We could have cried together and fought together. Instead, you’re gone and the rest of us are here to deal with the aftermath of not only your death but your decisions and secrets you made and carried while alive. It’s crazy how generational toxic behaviors can continue even if it’s done so in a different manner. You and I would both talk about breaking that cycle via therapy and determination so how did it get to the point that it continued? The things we are learning now, had we known then, we would have handled it the Scott/McDonald/Malachi way but instead your secrets became a type of burden that we all have to carry. I’m angry, I’m disappointed, I’m upset, I’m hurt, and I’m confused. On the flip side though, I know what it was to walk around carrying such pain and embarrassment inside and it feeling like a tumor filled with negative, emotional cancerous cells. I think I’m even a bit jealous as I was when you were alive because once again, the sorrow is for you and the part that represents you now. I completely understand the sorrow for your representation now and in all honesty I get it for you but once again I found myself having to say, “What about me and my representation?” It’s so hard being the one expected to hold it down: your funeral arrangements, having to deliver the news, call the funeral home, etc while simultaneously having to always cater to your issues and be understanding. I hate the line, “you know how your sister is” because it gave reason for you to continue negative in your word and behaviors. I want to scream at you right now, I want to fight you and curse you out and then I want to turn around and give you a tear filled hug and tell you that I love you.

Your funeral had people standing up to show love for you and I thought that was beautiful but the thing about funerals is that the promises of help soon fade away are replaced with forgetfulness and while that was the case for yours, we also had to deal with conditional love when it came to your son. It was conditional based on the fact that they got to keep your child in their homes or that we moved the way they deemed fit. With the exception of JJ, not any of your so called friends reached out to us when it comes to any needs for my nephew and it’s simply because I wouldn’t allow them to do what they wanted to do. As far as your husband, if we never see him again, it will be too soon. He’s a despicable human being who, at the end of your life, only cared that he got to keep your car and ironically you called that when you were alive. To know that he not only mistreated you and your son but he wasn’t there to take care of you yet was able to take your car makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t even think of the name of the girl who helped facilitate that into motion but the fact that she did it right after your funeral, while still on the funeral grounds, and asked dad will always be stuck in my head. How do you have the gall to ask a man who just had a funeral for his youngest child to let her husband take the car? If I never see her again she can gladly count herself lucky!!

Death makes us morn the person who is no longer there but it also sheds light on what was hidden in the darkness. Your life was full of darkness with highlights of color that we had no idea about until 2 years later. Your life was lived the way you deemed fit but your death….that came with untold harmful actions that has affected our family. It’s a reminder to clean out your closet while alive vs having others do it after you can longer defend yourself or ask for help. As much as we love you, you have also caused some anger and resentment within me that makes me have a small about of hate towards you and that’s not what I want but I’m not exactly fighting the feeling either. The fact is you were spoiled and in some ways entitled which is why you made a lot of the negative moves that you did. I don’t doubt you went

This marriage thing

My husband and I were having some serious issues in our marriage. It seemed like every other day or week we were arguing over something small and I was packing my bags to leave. We knew we loved each other but we had so much baggage that we didn’t know if love would be enough.
This man fought harder for me than I did for him to the point that he put me in a position to have to address him with my readiness to leave him and our kids. That’s when him and I both realized our arguments were superficially over small things but we actually had bigger issues.
We had couples therapy before but really didn’t do anything with it but in this conversation we used all we had learned and applied it. Before I go into that conversation let me tell y’all about our background.

I met my husband over 20 yrs ago in Durham at a mall. He was his oldest child with him who was crying for whatever reason but even that didn’t stop me from wanting to talk to him. One thing led to another and he became my 1st everything. My first love,my first partner,my first source of security in a life where death seemed better than life. He made sure I not only ate but that I didn’t throw it back up,he provided me with a place to sleep and gave me the love I so desperately needed at the time. I thought it would never end but…….life isn’t a fairy tale.

He lost his place and ended up moving to another county and I stayed in Durham. We saw each other as often as we could but eventually he started doing his thing and at the time I was content with just being in his life no matter who I had to share him with. Eventually,I found out I was pregnant and was very hurt when he told me he wasn’t going to be their for our child but that didn’t stop me from continuing to allow him in my bed nor my heart. At the time I knew that he loved me but what I didn’t realize is that his words didn’t match his behaviors. LESSON!!

Eventually,I decided to move on with my life and I met someone else though I didn’t stop messing my 1st love. Once again,I became pregnant but this time I wasn’t sure who the father was. Listen, I’m not the 1st nor am I the last woman to be caught out there slipping but I made sure to tell both of them the truth up front. I just didn’t have the energy to keep up the lie when it came to a situation like that. The guy I was dating decided to raise that baby as his own just as we was doing with my 1st child. I stopped being intimate with my 1st but we remained friends. I ended up getting married to the guy who raised my kids as his own and I got the family that I always wanted by being married into his.

Who here understands that when you ignore the writing on the wall that the writing eventually slaps you in the face and hands you consequences? LESSON!!  Let me tell you that marriage of mine was no exception to the rule. I ignored the writing on the wall and became a Mrs. and because of a rape I became pregnant again. So I’m now a mom of 3 with none of my kids being the biological children of my then husband but he was willing to raise all three of them as his and they were all welcomed to his family. Life comes with twists and turns,don’t let someone tell you otherwise.

About a yr after I had my 3 child I divorced my husband. I just got to the point where I was tired and when i went in on him so hard that I blanked out,I knew it was time for me to let it go and I did! LESSON!! After the divorce I decided to stop having sex and focus on myself,my mental health,and my kids. I got therapy and became a better person until…..my 1st love came back. Looking back at it,I should have told him no but the heart wants what the heart wants and my heart wanted him. I became that young lady I was we I first met him and it was heaven until he had a mental breakdown and ended up inside a mental institution. A few days later I found out I was pregnant once again and I was on my own to raise this baby. I didn’t care that this time his mental capacity was low all I cared about was that he had played me again. Thankfully,I had the support of my friends and family because not only was I raising 4 kids by myself,the baby I was pregnant with ended up having and still does have GI issues. He’s been in and out the hospital since birth. As I continued my therapy,I once again became strong and once again I decided to be celibate. Wouldn’t you know it,her comes my love back into my life but I was different this time around. I knew and accepted that I was worth more than words,I was worth actions! LESSON!! When I asked him if he could be with me and only me,he couldn’t tell me yes so I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do to him. I left him alone. I dropped him off at the bus terminal and cried my eyes out on the way back but I knew I was doing what was best for me. A few days later he called me and told me that he knew he didn’t want to be without me having me kick him out was eye opening and needed to be done to give him a reality check.

Marriage,a birth,and another birth and we were at a standstill. Well, really I was at a standstill. We decided to get marriage counseling and it helped but we didn’t use what we learned on a consistent basis and there we were wondering what I wanted to do. I wanted to make this work and to do that we had to apply what we learned. We allowed our conversation to flow in a peaceful environment which meant no tv,no kids,and no phones. It was just him and I expressing myself. I told him I was still angry for how I was done. He told me all he could do was apologize and make it right. I told him that I loved him but thought we should have gotten to know each other again before we got married. He told me we can’t go back in time so our options are to work it out or let it go. He told me he wasn’t ready to let it go and that he lives for me and our family. He told me my mouth was reckless but he know understood why. We let each other know all the things that irritated us about each other and then we talked about all the things we enjoyed about the other. We listened and not just heard. We allowed our hearts and our minds to speak and we followed it with our words. This was probably one of the most difficult yet enlightening conversations we’d ever had and in all honesty our marriage has improved from it.

I’ll never tell anyone to stay in a marriage just because of history,kids,or any other reason but I will tell any and everyone that this marriage thing is hard. It requires patience and understanding. Love and wisdom. Compromises and uncomfortable conversations. This isn’t tv and your marriage shouldn’t be compared to another person’s. Marriage doesn’t come with 100% lifetime guarantee. What it comes with is good and bad times,sad and happy moments, confusion and insight. More than anything is comes with another imperfect person who’s perfectly made for you.