ESTABLISHING YOURSELF (a few details that help others know what they have in common with you).
I am female.
I am 44 years old.
I am married.
I have 1 child – a boy aged 6.
I work almost full-time.
I am probably middle-upper but depends whether based on income or qualifications.
I live urban, but on an island.
I both own and rent!
I completed post-grad.
I am straight.
Of note about my ethnicity and/or cultural background: I am European but currently living on my third continent.
NOW, TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR LOSS EXPERIENCE
- What relationship that you have lost are you sharing about here? With two of my siblings/their children and for a while with my mother (she has re-established contact with me since my son was born, but is careful not to talk about me or let me have access to information about the two siblings that distanced themselves). It also fundamentally changed my relationship with my twin and other sibling, such that interactions with these are now often awkward and infrequent.
- How long ago did you experience this loss? Since 2001 with my siblings/their children and from 2001 until 2007 with my mother. Initially I got death threats and nasty letters / phone calls from my family – this settled after a couple of years. Anything I sent, card, presents etc were returned to me – normally having been destroyed so after a few years I stopped sending things.
- Did you or the other person initiate it? They initiated the separation. I have always kept the possibility of future relationship open, such as inviting them all to my wedding. Only my twin came. And letting them know when I am in the country.
- What was your relationship like before it ended? It had been typical sibling style relationship – we get on because you are my sibling rather than that we have anything in common, but really enjoyed my niece and nephews (3 of them) and spent a lot of time with them when I could. My relationship with my mother had varied over the years – we were never close but I would visit her at least 6 times a year, as well as phone calls etc.
- What happened that resulted in the loss of this person in your life? They reacted this way in response to my unwillingness to let abusive, dysfunctional relationships continue on to the next generation. I asked us as a family to do something to protect my niece/nephews and was “punished” (their words) for trying to raise something that should have been left alone by being thrown out of the family. I did follow through as they would not, and my father was placed on a sex-offenders register so this seriously impacted their lives (one sibling was using my parents for almost daily child-care before that and could no longer do so after – but they were more concerned about their reputation, living within a smallish town).
- Where are things at now regarding this person? I have a restored, but shallow relationship with my mother – as long as we keep to safe topics and never discuss the past, or the rest of the family then we can talk. She has stayed with me and I with her since she re-established contact… and I have been very careful to allow her as non-biased a relationship with her grandson as I can. The two siblings that ‘punished me’ continue to ignore me. One sibling’s partner apparently still threatens “to kill me if she ever saw me”. I followed my niece on Facebook for a while, but her settings changed so that I cannot see much now. I hear snippets of info about my nephews and (for one his children) through my twin.
- What is your ideal future with this person? With my mother – to have an open and honest conversation about the past and an apology about how she reacted. For my siblings to re-establish enough of a relationship that it allows me to attend my mothers funeral and allows the niece/nephews to have the opportunity to get to know me if they want to. (I was told about my father’s death a couple of weeks later so that “I did not turn up at the funeral”).
- What do you miss most about this person? The chance to be an aunt to my niece and nephews and for my own son to known his family (cousins, aunts and uncles).
- What is now possible without this person in your life? One of my worst nightmares from childhood happened – our family would fall apart and not be together anymore and the people who are supposed to love me no matter what completely rejected me…… and it was ok, I survived, in fact I thrived. I no longer have to worry about what I say to whom or if I forgot something etc. I could concentrate on what my life was about, without trying to please my family and prove myself acceptable to them.
- What advice do you have for others experiencing similar loss? It seems extreme and painful in the early years, time (and tears and prayer) doesn’t bring back what you lost but allows you to see from a different perspective and feel more comfortable with that.
- BONUS: A question you would like to see added to this list that readers can respond to in the comments. Would you have done something different if you had known it would lead to the loss? My answer would be NO