I’m on a heart theme lately so just go with it okay?
I FINALLY saw Frozen for the first time on Friday evening. It was a beautiful movie, clearly made for a stage production, with strong female characters. What’s not to love?
I cried almost through the whole damn thing.
I know that a lot of people cried while watching Frozen but I don’t think I was crying for the same reasons. See, I was crying because I’m estranged from my only sister and will likely be for the rest of her (my?) days. Watching two sisters grow distant and then come together was tough for me. Then there’s THAT SONG…but that’s another post entirely.
My sister was born 49 years ago today. I was four when she came into the world. She was conceived in an ill-fated attempt to save my parents marriage after my mother figured out that she didn’t love my father and my father found out he was going blind and he started drinking and she started gambling and running around. A real “happily ever after” if there ever was one. I know this because I knew all the intimate details of my parents marriage…doesn’t everyone?
From the moment she screamed her first breath she was a challenge. She was always getting into something. When she was about two my mother awoke one morning to find my sister at her feet with her purse contents all over the floor and my sister eating her “diet” pills (amphetamines…it was the 60’s after all) like they were candy. I remember it clearly because she yelled at me and told me it was my fault.
I was six.
That was just the beginning. I won’t go into detail because her story belongs to her; but suffice to say, she has been in active addiction to anything and everything since she was about 13 years old. She is the worst kind of addict. A narcissist who believes all of her problems are someone else’s fault (usually mine or my parents…but mostly me) and that she never gets a break. She’s been through countless rehab’s, spent tens of thousands of dollars (most of which were not hers), has never worked a day in her life, and tried her best to ruin the lives of her children.
I cut off all ties with her after my mother died in 2006. Her children we pretty much grown thanks to the hubs and me so I didn’t have to worry about court battles and lawyer fees any longer. I had only tolerated her to that point because my mother continued to try to help her and stay in contact in spite of some very bizarre and hateful things. (She called the police once from where she lived, 1200 miles away, to report that I had my mother tied up in the basement and I was abusing her. We didn’t have a basement. The poor police had to come out, wait for my mother to get home from bingo, and make sure she was okay before they could leave. That was an example of the bizarre…the hateful I’ll leave to your imagination.) Even before I got sober I knew that her dysfunction was something that I no longer wanted in my life.
If she had just been an addict I can say without question that I would have had more compassion and would likely still be in touch. But the ugliness that she brought upon her children and my parents is something I can’t forget. I’d like to think that if she suddenly got sober and clean I would relent and greet her with open arms…but I don’t really know if I could. I’m still working on healing wounds she inflicted in her children…the kind you can’t see. I’m not sure there’s any hope for my niece…but I keep trying.
The thing that made me cry though was the fact that, like the sisters in the movie, we were so close when we were little. Of course we fought, but we played together when things were good and comforted each other when things were bad. We were a unit and I loved her so much. Like the movie, I think she was born with her demon and it wasn’t long before it became apparent to everyone around her that there was a problem. Teachers, clergy, psychologists, relatives, doctors all tried to help…only to give up when it had no impact.
I kept trying though. I kept trying to be there for her. To help her when she needed it and even when she didn’t. I stuck around for a very long time until I couldn’t any longer. I had to save myself, my children and her children. For lack of a better term…I froze my heart where she was concerned.
It’s still very sad. I don’t really miss her because she’s been gone from my life for a very long time. I certainly don’t miss the chaos and dysfunction she brought. I think what I miss is the idea of a sister. Not in a “happily ever after” kind of way but in a “no matter what we have each other kind of way”. I have that with a number of other people, my best friend of 35 years, my daughter, my husband…so I’m not lacking for anything.