Talking with my friend tonight was like looking in the mirror. Our childhoods were incredibly similar. Our family member's actions mirrored each other: physically abusive fathers, depressed suicidal mothers, dependent siblings, (yes I realize how incredibly trite these sound and no, please don't allow them to evoke pity*). Our lack of shame for our past, our blatant approach to communications, and our ever-positive perspectives on the impacts our pasts have made. All mirrors. And not the contorted fun-house kind either.
My friend mentioned that his sister wasn't around and constantly receives credit for being the strength in his family. He feels hurt by this as he knows he was the one who was there to take care of his mother. I'm afraid that this is how my own brother feels as I moved away... twice, and am constantly referred to as the 'strong' one. I - and literally no one else - was asked to finish my grandma's eulogy in the event that my aunt could not, (it was her mother's ashes in the box two feet from her, anyone would have shaken too badly to speak). My aunt's husband hugged and thanked me for being his wife's strength. Where does this 'strength' come from?
I saw my grandpa for the first time today since my grandma passed away. It felt like I was wearing a heavy led jacket that was crushing my rib cage. There was no one there to crochet with, or brush half of my hair, or laugh hysterically at Elf with me. My grandpa cried as soon as he hugged me and cried when I left. I drove 7 hours in one day because he was lonely and I love him and want him to be happy. But he was sad. I didn't cry in front of him.
Oh Tera, why oh why would you ramble on about these things? I am petrified that I have a disconnect with things to protect myself. This is frightening for two reasons. One: you can't protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness. Two: I want to live in the present and experience things as they are. Huh? Today I took a deep breath and said "focus on the present" to myself. The moment I did that I burst into tears. I spend a good portion of my time in hyper awareness. Yes, I teach Special Education. Yes, I now analyze myself. Hyper awareness means I move through life pushing onward not really experiencing the things around me. On occasion.
*I ask for no pity because I have none unless I feel that someone has really, truly struggled. Many people walk around like they have holes in both of their hands while they never really know sacrifice.