tonight all of my siblings were together at my home for the first time in 10 years. we had a great spaghetti dinner and the house was filled with those i love most. however, i had so many feelings going on that i really don't know where to begin. i am the oldest, Denise and Dennis [the twins] are 4 years younger than me, and Joanne, 1 year younger than the twins. as we ate, we talked about old times growing up.... remember this? and remember that? i cant speak for the others, but i realised that what we were fondly reminiscing about and what we thought was a warm memory, really wasn't. it was the cruel way our lives were back then, that we were so used to living that way, that it took all this time to see it for what it was. survival. not living. just surviving. the things we thought were fun to do and what we did to each other in retrospect, was mean.... although back in the day we didn't know any different. here is an example of what I'm talking about...
we were laughing about how Dennis, our only brother, would sneak down and get something to eat from the frig when he was little, only to be awakened later when our mother returned from playing cards at the neighbor's, by her beating him in the dead of sleep with the leather belt for eating, [of course the ruckus woke us up] and we'd laugh at the way he'd flop around on the bed trying to avoid her strikes like a little Mexican jumping bean- until she exhausted herself.... then he would cry himself back to sleep and she would go downstairs as if nothing occurred. i was always thankful it wasn't me getting the beating.... but the guilt i feel for that is much more self punishing.
yeah, that was mentioned tonight at dinner, and we all just looked at each other realising that wasn't really funny, and poor Dennis. it got very quiet, no one spoke a word of this realization, but it was there, i suspect on my siblings part, and definitely on mine. i know i have spoken of some harsh things i have lived through, but in my mind they were always separated from what i thought were normal everyday things... which right now i realise they weren't normal everyday things.... but because it contained laughter, by default it was put into a warm memory category in my mind. i looked at my brother tonight, sitting across the table from me, and felt so sorry he lived through that. i kept flashing back to the cute little boy he was then, i nearly began sobbing. i felt so grievous for the pain he endured in our past, that i partook in at times, which was promoted by our mother, and encouraged among each other by her.. here he sits at my dinner table, having survived not only cancer, open heart surgery, and many other hardships in his life... but he is also a survivor of our childhood realities... where he was ridiculed for being the only boy, sexually abused by our mother when she would depants him in front of us to see how big his penis had gotten, beaten countless number of times for NO REASON other than eating a snack..... called every name in the book and demoralized for his failures... then sent off to be in the army at the young age of 16 cuz "they'll make a man out of him." it is not only painful to be the abused, but to be a sibling observing these things, has left scars in my soul that will never be healed. if i could have realized back then, the truth of the situation, i would have tried to protect him/them more. i feel SO guilty. tonight, i saw each of us 4 siblings fall slightly into our old roles that were our pecking order growing up. our mother was the puppeteer who dangled and controlled the strings tied to us, as she manipulated and controlled each of us in whatever direction she needed to do at the time. she promoted bickering between us, talked badly about one of us to the others behind our backs, and basically promoted us to fight and argue and resent each other, all the while keeping one of us in her graces and on her side as she pointed out how bad the rest of us were to that particular person, rotating us through that role at her whim. it sounds fucking crazy as i write this but it's true. all this is coming to me now as i process the 2 hours i have spent with my siblings thus far..
i am shocked at the emotional state of mind i am in right now. i didn't expect it, i wasn't prepared.... i think with my brother living so far away i put things out of my mind. its easier to disconnect a bit than to try to stay close because its just too much for me. growing up, our father was absent from the time i was 4-5, it was so painful for me to be without him, and to think about him, that i disconnected from him somehow in order to be able to tolerate the distance and the absence. i think i do this with my brother and sister who live far away. i don't want to be like that, but my feelings are so sensitive that i find in order to live my life without them here in it, that is what i tend to do. we stay connected via phone calls but even those seem to have to have boundaries. i cant let myself get too involved because there are days when my life seems too much to handle, let alone what occurs in their lives..... do i sound crazy? does it make any sense what i am trying to say? i am not a cold hearted uncaring bitch. i love them all so much and i do not know how to manage the distance any other way. i do not fair well with goodbyes, and distances. never have....
i read through blogs on here about wonderful family reunions filled with joy, love, great memories, and then there's mine. yes i am so thankful we can be together this week but my god why does there have to be pain mixed in with the joy? it feels like i am grieving losses. i wanna just curl up in my bed and keep the world out whilst i lick my wounds. i want time to stand still until i am better equipped to deal with all these feelings.
maybe tonight being the first time we are all together, will be the hardest as far as feelings go. i want to be able to enjoy the precious time we have together, without all this painful shit coming up for me. life is a process and a journey. i believe we process as we live through our journey. facing the past whenever the demons arise again is part of my process, and i hope eventually forgiving and healing will take place.