Sibling concerns: longings and unrequited love.
This week my eldest sister updated me briefly by text message, “I’m due November 14th.” And then informed me of the best time to contact her. For several months I’ve been hoping she would stay in better touch, both because I want to know her and also because she is the caretaker to our biological mother, she never mentioned she was pregnant until now. Mainly, I would like to maintain some sisterly bond and at least know more family history which she has access to.
She had given me the address to send a card to my mother. This week I looked up the assisted living facility my mother resides at. It appears to have serious problems. The reviews are horrible and upon doing more research one can find every fine and complaint against them for improper conditions. Bottom line though, my mother has schizophrenia and should be somewhere else entirely. Somewhere equipped for her very particular needs and not an assisted living facility.
I have been feeling pretty helpless in this matter. It could be argued that my mother is better off than she was homeless. Still, it sounds like living conditions are not acceptable and I find myself troubled over it all.
When I went searching out biological family, I was naive to what I would encounter.
I had a picture of some people who would either welcome or reject me.
It was a sort of black or white picture reel of events in my head.
And, it started out being about me and my need to connect.
It quickly became about much bigger and deeper issues than my own longings.
A sort of theme of unrequited love became my reality. I realize unrequited love usually applies to romances, but in adoption I think it is particularly useful concept. I have more than a few siblings this currently applies to and a mother who would be unable to return love by all accounts I have heard.
Never did I realize I would have nine siblings, ten if you include my adoptive brother.
Never did I imagine a separate father from the majority of my siblings, my non identifying information painted a totally different picture.
I tell people now that there are times I hope to have a relationship with all of those siblings, yet if one really ponders that, it would be hard to manage that many sibling relationships effectively. Now, I would be happy to have two or three successful relationships with them. But, I will still mourn the relationships lost, especially when their life is a complete mystery to me. I do worry about those siblings too, because I know about the mental illness that pervades the mother’s side of the family.
Two of my siblings were having what could only be called a sibling rivalry over who would be closer to me when we first discovered one another. Now, over a year later, the sister is a heavy silence in my life.
The brother updates me about his life, sometimes we call and send pictures. The sister stays silent and responds to none of my cards, letters, or calls. I send them out sparingly, because I do not want to overwhelm her, but I also really want her to know someone cares and loves her. Someone is there when she needs it. She is young and she struggles for reasons that are not entirely understood. It may be genetic, it may be some psychological issues going undiagnosed, but whatever exactly it is I feel she needs help that is under supplied and she is undoubtedly hard to be around. Still, she deserves love and great care.
Here’s yet another situation where I feel helpless to help, all I can do is hope she answers one day and or is able to establish better self-care someday.
I have two brothers I cannot find so far. Two sister remain unfound and their stories told by one persons’ account. There are five siblings I have found in some capacity and have communicated with effectively. Our relationships can be a challenge due to distance, although technology and video chat are especially helpful in this. By all accounts, at least one of these brothers has a mental illness (likely schizophrenia), it is possible that the sisters suffer as well, I just do not know details.
When it comes to finding biological siblings and other family: You can share your heart with each other. You can hide away as a means to protect your heart, but I believe that provides no growth. Sometimes we just are not ready for parts of our lives that come calling. I pray for my siblings to be strong in the face of adversity, because I know some of them have great challenges in their lives.
Some days I wake up and picture my youngest sister next to me like she was for a brief time. I want to tell her so many things, I want to alleviate some of her fears. She feels so close and so far out of reach. This is a feeling I have about all of my siblings in some ways. But, with her I have a particularly protective feeling. I try to picture her well, thriving, laughing, and contented. Yet, I also must be in reality. For now, when it comes to many of my siblings and my mother. I am uncertain of the circumstances they face day to day. I want to picture them well, but I am certain I would not rather go back to having a complete and utter question mark to the whole concept of biological family.
Knowledge is power. I believe fully that finding my siblings and communing with them is the best way to heal my own hurts and some of theirs. Yet, I know I cannot control what others choose to do. My heart breaks for them.
The deepest longings of my heart are to help and assist my siblings and mother in ways they need and maybe wouldn’t expect. Some of them cannot take care of themselves appropriately. It has become a sort of motherly feeling, of having a child out in the wilderness I cannot help because the child cannot be heard and cannot hear me. The child is out there helpless though and needs shelter and a loving home to heal wounds gone years unattended.
This is the unconditional unrequited love I refer to. Knowing they may have nothing to offer, but knowing we came from the same circumstances and that I may be the only person willing to offer them assistance I feel a responsibility and a sense of being prepared for this very circumstance by my own life experiences.
I leave you with two quotes from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that I am reminded of today:
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”
“People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”