Tuesday, February 21, 2012

open letter to family

Dear mom, dad, siblings and in-laws;
Since we are not a family that expresses feelings very well this is going to my cop out way of letting you all know where I'm at.
First of all I'm so very sorry for being a lousy sister/daughter.  I've missed so many Mothers Days, Fathers Days, Birthdays, Christmases etc. that it's embarrassing.  For all of those missed occasions I want you to know that I do think of you and send wishes although I know that's not really good enough.  Oddly enough at the same time that I feel bad about not calling you, I do not feel slighted or hurt when you didn't call me.  I totally get that you have no wish to talk to me.
I want to thank you for the efforts you have made, the things you have done and the assistance you have provided.  Although it may not always seem like it I greatly appreciate it.  It's difficult and embarrassing for me to accept help and acknowledge that I need help sometimes.
I also feel bad that I don't always return calls and I don't ever call just to see how things are going.  This is largely because I have no news to give you.  I really would love to know more about what you and your families are up to but cannot bring myself to pick up the phone.   My struggles are repetitive and boring and I know some of you don't understand.  I don't blame you for not understanding, I don't understand this illness.  It hurts a little that some of you have made assumptions about me and haven't even tried to learn or understand and I suspect that some don't even really know what I've been through.  I judge no one (any more) and wish that you wouldn't judge me, my family or my illness.  If I could get up one morning and decide it's over and I'm going to "get over it already", choose to be happy, and go back to work, believe me I would have done it years ago.  Feeling like a waste of space, a burden and wishing I could disappear is no picnic and something no one would ever choose.
When I watch t.v. (which I do a lot) and see people saying "family is the most important thing in your life"  I believe it's a crock.  When someone says we don't see or talk that much but if you needed something I would be right there I want to laugh.  If any one of us calls to ask for help the response is generally "...only calls when they want something." 
Please understand I love you all and wish we could have a real, true closeness.  I'm just tired of feeling bad for treating you all the way we all treat each other.  The illness creates a burden of guilt for me that goes far beyond anything you can imagine.  My coping mechanisms are woefully inefficient and I'm working very hard every day not to create self destructive coping mechanisms.  In the meantime isolating myself is the best and easiest solution for me. 
Mom and Dad;  I am particularly sorry for not... being a better daughter and not staying in touch better.  I love you both and appreciate all you did for me as I was growing up.  Although I don't think you feel responsible, I want to make sure you know that I do not, in any way shape or form blame my struggles on my childhood or your parenting.  It is, I believe, a fundamental flaw inside of me that has made it impossible for me to shake this illness.


  1. She, My heart is breaking for you. Please know that you have been and remain instrumental to my finding my way slowly out of the pit. I want you to know that I appreciate so much about you. Your sense of humour, your compassion (yes compassion) your intelligence, your ability to articulate how you feel, your creativity, your commitment to your family, your deep love of your dear Maxie, your strength, your COURAGE to lay it all out there, your insight, your tenacity, your ability to listen and not offer advice, I guess what I'm trying to say is that you are extremely important to me and that I love you from the deepest part of my heart. LDBP

  2. Know that you are loved.

    Anyone that suggests being part of a family, large or small, is sweetness and light all the time is either deluded or lying to themselves. While we are not as close as we could be and probably should be, looking back I try to focus on the better times. Christmases out at the farm where everyone would get together. Even friends and acquaintances that had were too far from home our just couldn't make it home. I remember fondly the Friday gatherings at the Arms, singing along to whoever happened to be playing that night. For whatever reasons we've grown apart, it happens. At the same time that fact, for me, does not diminish the value of those memories.

    Know that you are loved.

    I suppose everyone has stuff they are dealing with that others may not understand or that we just don't share. I know I am a serious offender for not returning calls or making an effort to stay in touch. Sure I make excuses to justify, none of them really valid but they seem to serve their purpose.

    Know that you are loved.

    I honestly believe that at some point in time everyone, whether they choose to accept it or not, has suffered from a certain level of depression. Some slide a little deeper into the pit than others and struggle longer and harder to get out. I often blame diabetes or a lousy boss for my woes but sometimes I'm not so sure...

    Know that you are loved.

    In the end and at the risk of sounding cliche, its nobody's fault and its everybody's fault. No one person has more responsibility for our situation then any other.
    Know that you are loved.
    While I'm guilty of not understanding (maybe even not wanting to) what you were and are going through, no excuses, but I've since matured in spite of myself. I apologize for being an ass.

    Know that you are loved.

    Keep fighting the good fight. At some point you'll win more battles then you lose and see that the war can be won.
    Above all,
    Know that you are truly and sincerely loved. d.e.b

  3. Oh goodness, what a beautiful response!