January 1 – my sister

161/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s the new year – new start and I’m going to start with letting bygones be bygones. As many of you may have gleaned from previous gratitude posts, I haven’t had the easiest of times growing up. Being bullied, having my father institutionalized for most of my childhood life due to schizophrenia, not fitting in at all – just a far from ordinary childhood. I have at times wondered how I made it through but deep down I know how I made it through because I had a partner during that time – my sister Pam. Two years younger than me, she the calm, cool thoughtful one to my crazy, erratic self, she also had to deal with the chaotic life we had at home. She saw and experienced the same things I did outside of school – dad at Riverview, dad escaping Riverview and us escaping dad, dad back at Riverview, mom working to support the three of us and then both of us working to help her out – these are just some of the childhood experiences that come to mind but so many others that most people couldn’t begin to fathom. She the pretty one to my ugly duckling. She the popular one to my “geekwardness”. But she always being the one there for me. I could easily have been jealous but I was proud of the fact that one of us had it going on. Many times, we were on our own for various reasons and had to cook for the two of us, keep the house in order or pay the bills forging one or the other parent’s signature on cheques, crying together wondering what was going to happen to us – just a normal week in our lives but we did it together. We were perfectionists where our lives were far from perfect. We both got the best grades possible, worked part time, did all the household chores and obeyed our mom at all times. All our uncles and aunts commented on how good we were but we both knew that we had to do right by our mom given all that she had gone through so we could not disappoint her even if it meant we were disappointing ourselves. Our sibling bonds were established very tightly and because of our life experiences, we were very close growing up. Even as we ended up having our own families and our own lives, we still made time to hang with each other and had a great relationship. Of course, we would have the occasional sibling flare-up but be over it in a few days because perhaps we had that subconscious knowledge that we’ve been through way worse growing up. However, that was not the case about a year and a half ago. Unfortunately due to a number of circumstances, we have not spoken to each other in that long a time due to our differences. Both of us were not willing to forgive but over the course of starting my gratitude journey and writing this blog, I have learned the importance of letting go and appreciating people. I miss our sibling bond as we went through a lot during our childhood and teen years that most don’t go through in one lifetime. If not for you Pam, I wouldn’t be me – the two of us survived our childhood to be amazing adults if I don’t say so myself. I am hoping that this blog post somehow finds its way to you and we can start opening the lines of communication, however small the start is, and go from there. You are my sister and I am your brother and I hope we can start the transition to being that in 2016 no matter how difficult and uncomfortable the first steps are. To you my sister!

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