I thought that I had gotten rid of everything. The pictures, the letters, the gifts he’d given me. Anything that would have reminded me that he used to care about me.
I was rummaging through the CD rack this morning, looking for music that would go well with cleaning the house, and I pulled out a case from the bottom of a stack. It was the case from a playlist he made for me as a gift years ago. Songs that he picked, reflections of himself that he wanted to share with me. Evidence that he used to care. That he used to be kind and thoughtful to me.
My brother hasn’t communicated with me in a year and a half. When I realized that he decided to cut me out, I tried to erase anything that would remind me of the pain and rejection that I was experiencing. Apparently, I missed this remnant.
I’m not sure what happened or why, exactly, he decided to close the door on me. I can only guess, but that doesn’t provide much resolution. Being nine years apart, we weren’t super-duper close growing up, but we’d always been connected and knew that we could count on each other. When I moved back to Indiana, he was an adult with his own apartment and we used to hang out and watch “24” together. Or, we’d watch the show at our own homes and then call each other about it after. He would take care of Little Minion when he was sick and I had to go to work. He cared about me and my family and did things to show that. But, that changed while he was married. Suffice it to say that his ex-wife didn’t have a lot of respect for his family. That, I think, rubbed off on him as he became more and more distant as time went on. When they divorced, I saw the opportunity to reconnect with him. I wanted him to see that he has a GREAT family who, in spite of everything, loved him and was here for him. I wanted him to know that he wasn’t alone. And for a few months, things were really good. We talked. He sent me flowers on my birthday. I spent a long weekend visiting him and he took me to places that were special to him. And we talked some more. I began to get to know the person he’d become. It was great and I felt like we were connecting…that I had my brother back.
But, I have to admit. I never really trusted this. I was always fearful that he would go back to treating me as irrelevantly as he did before.
Which he did.
I should have known that I was fighting a losing battle, but he was my brother and he was worth fighting for.
In the end, I lost. And it hurt. The emotional pain was worse than almost anything I’ve ever experienced. I’d never really been rejected by anyone who meant so much to me. And to be rejected by my brother, for still unknown reasons…that took a LONG TIME to accept.
The good news is that, even though he’s not made any effort to reconcile, I’ve forgiven him. That was hard. I had a very difficult time finding the path to forgive someone who had not said “I’m sorry”, but I did.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you”– Lewis B. Smedes
I’m going to keep the CD case. It’s a memento of a time when my brother was a source of good in my life.
Live. Laugh. Love.
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