I sit here and just about everything makes me want to cry today – yet again. I so desperately need to feel connected…to something, someone, some cause, some reason …
I don’t need pity as much as I need understanding and acceptance.
I have been estranged from my immediate family for a while. I have no real idea what is going on in my sister’s lives nor they in mine. The real difference is that I ask our Mom to call them check in, I stalk them on social media. I pray for them daily. I know they don’t do the same for me. I am painfully, slowly accepting that.
I don’t have much in my life – no material wealth, no exciting career, no handsome, devoted partner, no close knit family, not even my health – but I have my forgiving, open heart and the unconditional love from my dog and some wonderfully compassionate friends – and most days I know I am blessed. And I embrace it.
Today is just not one of those days. Fever aches keeping me in bed with too much time and too many thoughts.
I want to text, write, even call some people but I can’t. I can’t keep chasing people who obviously don’t want me in their lives, nor should I be the one always making an effort. I get it. I do.
I usually feel this complete emptiness on certain days – like Mother’s day. But I am definitely feeling it today.
I think it has to be because I saw my sisters yesterday at my niece’s wedding and they were surrounded by their own children and it was hard for me to be excluded … always looking in from the outside. I am sure not one of them ever thought of my life and how alone I must feel most times. I was never blessed with children. My first bout with cancer took that away from me at an early age. And most times, I have accepted my life and do not dwell on my unfilled maternal wish. I volunteer with children, I used to try to spend time with my nieces and nephew growing up doing all sorts of fun, silly things. I always made myself available for babysitting, picking them up from school, helping with homework, etc. But the fractured relationships with my sisters has made that so much harder than it needed it to be.
I always supported my sisters’ aspirations toward a family, even though I thought they should value their education, self worth even more than it appeared they did. I know they feel that children are everything. Our mother, even grandmother, instilled this in us at a very young age. I think that if they weren’t a mother, they would feel that they had nothing. It’s overwhelmingly sad to me that they think this of me, they think less of me because of this – whether they are conscious of it or not. Through the years, I have heard some difficult comments from my mom and sisters – “real women have children”, “you don’t understand, you don’t have children”, “I can’t because I am too busy with my children” … the insinuation always there on the surface – their time was more valuable than mine = their lives more important than mine. At least this is how I felt. I strongly believe, there is this pervasive attitude, one that I think is usually not openly expressed, or if it is, hastily: If you are not a mother, you have nothing.
Well, I may have nothing, but I have all I need. And I know I am blessed – just differently. I see this clearly now even through my tears. Sure yesterday was harder than I thought, and harder than it needed to be – but I couldn’t change it, I did the best I could. I wish my estranged family did all they could.
Please know that I, in no way, shape or sentiment, hate my sisters for having children and would never wish this hurt I feel on my worst enemy. But there’s no use in denying it … being childless always gives me a small tinge of jealousy, still, of women with children, including my family and friends. Yesterday brought that all to surface for me again – I saw the connection, the love, and the amazing bond that my sisters have with their children – even after all the bad parenting, the disappointments, the compromises. I am in awe at the sheer level of forgiveness and acceptance they have for one another and yet I sadly sit here wondering why that doesn’t carry over to me. I see the joy that children bring to their lives each and every day, despite the disappointments and hardships; and how I wish I had a fraction of that for myself. I would have given up everything for it, spent my last dime to get it, and die to know what it’s like. Yet, I am not mad that they are happy, I just want some of that happiness too. I just wish my sisters knew how deep my hurt is and how big the hole in my heart remains. But I digress because I know how I can’t change people, and I can’t make them like me nor really truly ‘see’ me.
Most days, I hide and cope with my emotional and physical pain – but I am constantly hurting. I’m sure that sounds like an overstatement to someone who hasn’t been in my shoes. So many things the average person would never think about add to my hurt every day. Something as simple as a commercial about diapers with a baby crawling across the floor, seeing a pregnant woman, just walking by the baby clothes in Target are all daily reminders of what I am missing. I used to try to attend my nieces’ dance recitals, as they got older school performances. It was always hard for me to get there since I never got a license, but I tried so hard not to miss many. I would try to catch my nephew’s baseball games, my grand niece’s soccer games – but when my sisters don’t invite me, I always felt like I was intruding if I just showed up. It has been hard. It feels like a huge knife is stuck in my heart and every time I am reminded of that emptiness – the knife gets pushed deeper and deeper. The pain never fully goes away.
The estrangement continues now especially since I have decided I can no longer try to forge a relationship with them since its not reciprocated. So I write, I vent, I cry. I need to put my feelings down and out of my head…and move forward …with grace in my step and hope in my heart.