15 September 2011

More of the Story

I shared a bit of my current frustration with my sister across a few message boards that I frequent to get some insight. For them, I provide more of the story...

There is so much to this story that is hard to put down without writing a novel here. Actually, many people have said that is exactly what I should do... write a novel. It's all better than fiction. Hey, wouldn't you read a story that starts with the line, "My first memory is the day I killed my sister."?

I think I can pinpoint the very moment I began to give up on my sister. It was when I caught her sneaking out with boxes of her stuff in the middle of the night... leaving my mom and I to care for our dying dad. I know it was tough on Angel. It was tough on all of us. I have no respect for someone who runs away from their problems. I guess that's why I've continued to try to mend what can't be fixed these 10 years since. She hasn't made it easy.

Just days before Dad died, she pops in for a visit and announces she's pregnant. My dad broke down crying. He was completely mute at that point because of what had all been removed to fight his cancer. There is nothing I have experienced more heart-wrenching than watching my dad sobbing uncontrollably in utter silence. I knew that in that moment he was realizing he would never meet his grandchild. I hate her for doing that to him, but I kept silent.

A few days after my dad's funeral, my sister couldn't be contacted. Several of us had tried calling her and she wasn't returning any calls. When someone finally got a hold of her many days later, she said that she and Matt had "spent a few nights in a hotel." It wasn't until a few months later at Easter dinner that she announced she and Matt had married then. My sister and I had once been so close and it killed me that she didn't have us there. It wasn't any secret that no one among her family and friends (and his) approved of their relationship. Matt was rude, crude, and disrespectful... and it was rubbing off on Angel. I'm sure that is why she chose to elope.

Before Dad died, he had asked to see me alone. I still have the note he wrote me that day, "Please take care of your mom. She's going to need you more than ever. I'm sorry I'm leaving you, but I know you're strong enough." It was six years before I left Mom and moved out on my own. We battled through her many methods of coping... drinking, gambling, eating and threatening to kill herself to be with Dad. I tried so many times to get her to get help, but she said she didn't need it. She bled me dry; mentally, physically and financially. It would have been nice at some point to have just a little help from my sister... just a moment where I could feel I had back-up... but it never happened. Mom has been better, but still struggles in every way. I just have nothing left.

Over the next several years, the rift grew. Angel was constantly making choices to be with Matt's family over ours. We were passed by over the holidays and she was "too busy" to make it to parties. Gifts even became an issue. Although money spent doesn't matter, it did cut a bit for Mom when she'd discover they spent $500 on a Christmas gift for his parents but only $15 on her gift. There was so much tension over everything that Mom and Matt's mom began to argue when they were at the same event. Suppose it never helped that Matt's step-dad would side with Mom.

Angel constantly complains that Mom doesn't go to pageants and games that the kids have. When she lived 200 miles from us, she complained that Mom didn't visit. Angel neglects to remember two key points. Mom is on an extremely fixed income (disabled due to extreme anxiety and depression) and any visit she made meant gas money out of my pocket. Angel never offered to help. Now that I am a stay-at-home-mom there isn't extra to give her. Mom also gets very anxious when driving... to the point she has panic attacks when she gets near certain areas. The majority of the time, Angel lived near Milwaukee which is one of Mom's biggest panic attack triggers. Between jobs, my husband, my son and my own obligations, I wasn't exactly always able to take Mom to everything but we made it to every single event that we could. We've been to pageants, every birthday party, every holiday at their house, birthday visits at school, graduations and big events. I can count on one hand how many times Angel has been to Mom's house and it wouldn't take all the fingers on my other hand to count her visits to my home.

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