Wednesday, January 5, 2011

new beginning to the year...

finally i did what needed to be done
it had gone on long enough
and i tried so many ways to figure out how to say how hurt i was
i know it was not enough
but i had to do something
so
i sent this email


dear brother,

I have been thinking a lot about how to respond.  I have been putting it off, because I thought I knew what I wanted to do, I still couldn’t figure out how to do it.  I wanted to talk to you also, but I was too scared because I was so emotional at the time. But, now, it has been 2 weeks and I am still at a crossroads.

I thought maybe it would be best for me to write down all I wanted to share and then send it to you.  So I tried that, but it was 6 pages long.  It brought up a lot about the past since you started mentioning it here in your explanation. But, it was pretty harsh, so it made more sense not to send it. When I reread it, there really is one theme that stands out over & over again. We are different people who see things and remember in our own way.
 I had looked over emails from this year and last, and knew that we both loved each other and wanted a relationship, but it was pretty obvious we didn’t know how to do it.  

Here in this email where you wrote “I honestly am still hurting from last year, and I thought I had gotten over it.  I know in your eyes we didn't put Lucy's bat mitzvah as a high enough priority, but in our eyes we did what we could.  We were truly sorry for not being able to make it, and, if the weather hadn't interfered, we would have been able to join all of you in your celebration.  So, when I mentioned the "lashing out", that is what I felt happened last year when we talked on the phone.  You said that our actions, and inactions, showed that we didn't care about you and your family.  We didn't feel that was the case, but then I read your actions (and inactions) recently in the same way.” feels that if I understand this correctly, you are still hurt from that time last summer and all you recall is me being angry at you about Lucy’s bat mitzvah, but that is not how I remember it.

I remember the police having to come take Karen to a temporary crisis center because she was pounding on me, Jeff and Bethany.  Because she had taken a knife and turned it towards her stomach threatening to kill herself, we had to call 911.  She was angry, screaming and cussing and we could not control her or get her to calm down. When she arrived, Karen was strip searched and her shoes removed until she could prove she was not a danger to herself or others.  I remember that on Jeff’s birthday we had to drive down to Georgetown and admit Karen to a mental facility. I remember that it was so hard on us; Bethany wouldn't even talk about Karen during this time. Bethany and Lucy were constantly being taken to friends’ houses to stay because we had to leave so often. I remember how hard it was for me just to get out of bed during those days. I couldn’t handle the fact that Karen’s school was behind our house, every day I would drive a different way out of my neighborhood so I didn’t have to pass it and see her teachers or friends. I was having my own depths of depression and anxiety and I couldn’t’ sleep without taking medication. I didn’t even want to take pictures of the first day of school because there were only 2 girls instead of 3. Twice every week Joe or I would be at the residential treatment center, sometimes together, sometimes alone, so we never had one full weekend at home together in over 2 months. Bethany and Lucy were never sure what they would find when they got home from school, maybe dinner made, maybe not, maybe one of us home, maybe one of us on the phone with a doctor, maybe me in bed crying or sleeping because I couldn’t deal with the reality of Karen being taken away.

I just remember that at that time, Karen been in her treatment center for about 7 weeks; she had already been out of our house for 8 (since she was in that short term mental hospital first). 
Even though we hadn’t heard from you all during this time, I wanted to call to share that we thought Karen would be coming home in a week. I was excited that our family would be back together again. I remember that even though I was so anxious, scared and nervous, I thought you might be able to share in this joy with me. I remember you saying that was great (or something like that) but then you chose that time to inform me that your family couldn’t leave on Friday for the weekend of Lucy’s bat mitzvah, so you all wouldn’t be coming in until Saturday evening for the party. I couldn’t believe your insensitivity towards me or my family and that you picked that time to share that devastating news. I just remember being shocked, surprised and speechless at that moment.  I remember I was driving and I was just dumbfounded. It was not the celebratory phone call I was expecting; it was a kick in the stomach instead.

So, yes, I remember I called you that weekend. I also remember that I was not the only person who raised my voice. You both yelled at me that I had the gall to tell you to just approach your administration and ask for the day off.

That next week, I sent an email to you, your wife, our Mom and Dad apologizing for being out of control, and reminding everyone that our daughter was in a mental institution and all I needed was unconditional love and support.  Because at that time I remember that I thought I would get encouragement and support from my family of origin when I needed it the most, but I wasn't.   Your response at that time was that you were sorry you all didn't communicate as “I would have liked you to” but I was in the wrong and a bully and you would never want to speak about it again. I was never allowed to defend myself at all, nor did it seem there was ever an understanding of what my little family of 5 was going through. I remember emailing you about the unfairness of that attack, and you responded by saying “I think that we all have a basic understanding of each other's point of view, and I really don't think any further discussion will create any sort of enlightenment” so you didn't want any type of response from me, either by email or phone, because the matter was all in the past. You wanted to say your feelings, but didn't care about mine in any way.

So you were hurting and I was hurting, but I never felt we had a basic understanding of each other’s point of view.

Yes, we have some similarities; we both feel the stress of parenting children. But I think that until you realize the severity of mine and Jeff’s situation and how this traumatic episode impacted my life and my family’s lives, then we won’t be able to understand each other’s views.

I am willing to answer any questions you may have and would equally welcome anything you are willing to share that would give me a greater perspective of you and your family. I would still like to try to have a phone conversation so we can try to move forward, if you are still willing. I really would like to do that; however, before we could begin I felt I needed to let you know some of what I am feeling right now.

You, your wife and your boys are all so important to me and my family; I want to share in the joys and disappointments in your lives. I treasure all the times we have gotten to spend with our nephews (and cousins) and would hate to see all that go away. I know all of this healing will take time, I hope you are willing to go along this journey with me.