I wouldn’t say my sister and I were close growing up. I was a narcissistic, five years older than her, and she drove the attention away from me by selfishly being born.
When I was seven, I was jealous that she got a birthday party, and *gasp* people brought her presents. I wanted those tap shoes and that leotard as my own. I remember crying and throwing a FIT that she got cool presents, while I got nothing.
When I was nine years old, she was the bratty four year old screaming at the top of her lungs and playing under the table while we ate. I distinctly remember being mortified at a Mexican restaurant that year, because people were staring at this little banshee at our table. Looking back, she wasn’t THAT loud, and they probably just thought she was cute.
When I was a “cool” fourteen year old, she was the awkward nine year old who wanted nothing more than to hang out with my friends and I. Constantly. She was always hovering.
Things got better in college.
It wasn’t until I went away to college that I learned to truly appreciate and love my sister. Don’t get me wrong, I always “loved” her, because she was my sister, and that’s what you do. Being away from her, however, I saw the loving relationship she had with my parents, and I appreciated that she could step in to be there for them while I was across the country. I saw the strong, independent woman she was becoming.
I cherished when she would come stay with me after I moved to California. During these times we would hang out together, not just as sisters, but as friends.
I cried happy tears at her wedding, knowing she was growing up and starting her life as an adult. I was also there, rooting her on, when she had her first, beautiful daughter.
I looked forward to a lifetime of friendship with her. I dreamed of our children growing up as close cousins, who saw and played together regularly. I thought of stupid things like family holidays, crafting together, shopping, and just hanging out together as best friends. Life was good, and the future looked bright.
Then drugs happened.
It didn’t happen quickly, although we suspected it for awhile. She became skittish when family would try to see her. She blamed her distant behavior on not wanting to “deal” with her toddler around people.
When we DID see her, she would have large sores on her face and body. She would obsessively pick at them, as if they were dried mud that needed to be scraped off. When questioned about the sores, she claimed she had a bad reaction to skin care products, or that her skin had simply become more sensitive after becoming a mom.
Our visits became less and less frequent. She always, ALWAYS had an excuse not to see us. When we confronted her on the issue, she would laugh us off, or cry and tell us how untrusting and offensive we were being toward her. She would blame her husband, saying HE didn’t like us or want us coming around. She was completely out of control.
If you know anything about addiction, the addicted become master manipulators. There were points when my family felt crazy for ever doubting her. Her excuses were always plausible … and there were ALWAYS excuses. If you questioned her on anything, she would come right back with a legitimate excuse.
How do you believe the excuses?
We would struggle to believe her, to give her the benefit of the doubt. That’s what you do with family, and she was our family. She was MY BEST FRIEND. We would have NEVER guessed she was capable of doing anything so stupid.
She had grown up seeing the effects of drugs on other close family members. Surely, we thought, she wouldn’t be THAT dumb as to take them herself. Surely she wouldn’t get herself involved in that lifestyle.
We felt horrible that such bad luck just seemed to follow her around. She would SAY she lost money out of a purse, had gotten phones stolen out of shopping carts, had hit deer with her car, had lost her ID to a shredder accident, or a plethora of other unfortunate events. These events would usually end in one of us giving her money to help “fix” whatever was happening.
The problem was, things never got fixed.
It then escalated very quickly. Something changed. Maybe she got deeper into the lifestyle, maybe she lost track of her lies, maybe the addiction finally just took over. Whatever it was, it would rip our family apart, and we NEVER saw it coming quite like this.
In a matter of less than two months her marriage was over, she lost her children, her house was gone, she had burned every bridge she had with family, and she had basically no possessions. It blindsided us. None of us knew where she was. For all we knew, she was living on the streets. Although she had plenty of chances to contact us, we never heard from her.
It has been six years since this situation came to a head. It has been six years of hell. We’ve had to adapt to living in the wake of the destruction her choices have caused.
It has been hell watching a decline in my mother’s health due to severe depression.
It has caused major friction, not just in the relationship of my parents, but in the relationships among the family she manipulated.
I still cry at the drop of a hat when her name is brought up. I wake up crying into my pillow from vivid dreams of her.
We dread every single time the phone rings. We wonder, if this is THE CALL? The call that will stop the world spinning for one brief second, the dreaded call that will forever change our family.
My father deals with the situation in anger and avoidance, though you can see the pain on his face. He desperately wants to believe everything is rainbows and unicorns, that there is no problem.
Once in six years
We have seen her children ONCE since they were taken. ONCE. We have had to work on, and repair our broken relationship with her ex-husband. We’ve had to admit that HE was the one telling the truth in their relationship, though we doubted him so many times.
I miss my sister. I grieve for her. I miss the family we were, and I mourn the life I thought we would have. I have moments of blaming myself, as the evil sister she grew up in the shadow of. I have moments of blaming her ex-husband. I even have moments of blaming my parents. In my warped mind, they should have been more aware of, and fixed the problem.
Ultimately, though, it’s her demons that have brought her down. It’s the addiction that has her wrapped in its claws.
I used to be so naive, and didn’t understand it could be possible to be so disappointed and hurt by someone, but love them so much it makes your heart fracture.