I don’t know what to title this blog, so for now I will just type and maybe the words will form on their own.
Tonight on the social networking site, I saw this from my sister:
Almost 16 years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I’m a survivor. Today, I participated in my first ever survivor victory lap opening the Relay for Cancer at McLeod Park. I have cried many tears this evening, thinking of some very special people who are very dear to me. Thank you to my hubby, my kids, mom and poppa and my dear friends in my life that have been with me thru my journey, I love all of you very much, and congrats to Kim’s Kick Ass Crew for raising over $7000 for cancer research xoxo
My sister and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. Our relationship at times has been a battle ground of words with a lacing of stinging barbs, some remembered, others forgotten. The one thing I have never forgotten is the day my sister stood by me when I had myself admitted to the hospital for a severe bout of depression. She stayed with me for many many hours and no matter what anyone may say or not say about me or my relationship with her, I know how much it meant to me to have her there.
Imagine my worst fear when my sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer! I remember at the time some things were happening very fast, T was very sick and had to have surgery, there was no way around it. I struggled with this, I wanted to be there for my sister, as she had been for me. My then boyfriend knew who scared I was that my worst fear, was also incredibly real that my sister could die. I instantly feared I was going to lose her, like we did our father. I didn’t know about my diagnosis of BPD. Hell, I had never even heard of it!
My family was really mad at me, they felt I had betrayed them for not going to the hospital to be with them. I knew inside I was scared and afraid. I froze in my spot when I spoke to the hospital the night of my sister’s surgery. I was with my boyfriend, he wanted me to get out of the house because he said there was nothing we could do at that point, that my sister was in the best possible hands that she could be in and that the doctor’s would take care of her. But to me, it was more than that, it was the utter fear that my sister would die, that I would be abandoned again.
I tried to explain this to family, but my mom didn’t understand, nor did my step father, I knew they were disappointed in me, that they felt I was selfish. All I knew was I was so scared, I would vomit so severely at the very notion of stepping into the hospital and being told she had died.
The one thing I have never accepted is that through it all, my sister’s chemotherapy treatments, the surgery, I had made this about “me”. I didn’t have the tools to know how to express my fear to her or to my mom. That I acted out in defiance, because I felt that if I had, things wouldn’t hurt so much; yet they did anyway.
My sister has always meant the world to me, even if she has doubted it. I know how deeply she hurt by my lack of physical and emotional support. I recall visiting her once in the hospital. I remember there being a lot of support for her, chatter and energy. I knew she was still angry at me for not being there prior to when I did go to see her, but at the same time, I truly didn’t know how to tell her my feelings, to share my fears with her.
Now we are 16 years into her survivor-ship something I am so eternally grateful for, yet my relationship with my entire family is virtually non existent. I have nephews who I barely know, a BIL who seldom talks to me, my mother who walked away from me and a step father, whose relationship is strained beyond strained.
I want to say it is all because of never being diagnosed with BPD til last year, that would be the easy answer, wouldn’t it. To be able to place the destruction caused by the mood swings, the behaviors, and just family dynamic in general. But I know better, not all of this is my fault. My family chose to walk away, and even though they have learned more about me as time has gone on, other than when my cousin passed away this past March, no communication has occurred; something I am not surprised about. This is what I now know as “normal”.
Tonight my partner and I spoke at length about forgiveness and what it means. I realize upon reading this blog entry, the pattern that I never knew existed til now. The traits that BPD has and the path of fury it leaves. I can and will learn to forgive myself for things I can not control in my past, but I can not expect my family to do the same. They live their life without me and I still on the sidelines, with that yearning I’ve always had to “fit in”, something I have never felt.
Tonight I feel sadness in my heart, sadness for all the years lost in my childhood, my teenage years, my young adult life, the chaos of instability that I never knew was due to an illness never diagnosed. I was always told it was “depression”.
I cannot change the past, I can, however, learn for the future.