I wrote about my relationship (or lack thereof) with my brother in a previous post. Last year I may or may not have mentioned that he came down to visit my parents while I was pregnant. He lives pretty far away and hasn't been home in a couple of years. I live two hours from them and we see each other often. He had some life altering changes and was having some medical issues so he decided to come down and see my parents before he was having some surgery. I guess he needed to clear his conscience. My parents told me that he was leaving in a week so we planned a visit the following weekend to make sure he was long gone. When we pulled into the driveway I didn't think anything of it when my mom was waiting at the door. I walked into the living room and was met by my brother and his youngest child (whom I had not met since he stopped talking to me shortly after he was born). Now my go to emotion is crying. If I'm mad, I cry, sad? cry, happy? cry, reeling with fury? you guessed it, I cry. So you can guess what I did as a pregnant person. You know the saying "cooler than a polar bear's toenails"? Well I'm pretty sure they were referring to my wife R when they wrote it. She takes everything with a grain of salt. However, in this moment, this was the first time I could really see anger in her face. She was pissed as was I. He hugged me and said "I love you" and hugged R and introduced her as "aunt R" to his son.
We didn't talk about what had happened or what he said. I figured we would eventually talk about it so I didn't push. It was an awkward visit to say the least and I was pretty pissed at my parents and felt sabotaged. My mom said she was sorry but that he wanted to see me and stayed and extra four days to make sure he would be there when I came. I pointed out that it's pretty hard to leave a party you didn't know you were coming to. My mom was just so happy to see us talking and cried pretty much the entire visit. Even though I was mad, I felt hopeful that we were on the road to recovery. Well, a few weeks passed and he finally called me. I thought this would be THE phone call. Ya know, the one where he's like "I'm sorry I called you a low life and compared you to murderers and thieves because you're gay". Well I was wrong. He had called to tell me that him and his wife were being "blessed with another child". OMFG! This will be #7 for them. I just bit my tongue and congratulated them through clenched teeth. Never mind the fact that he has just lost his military job of 15 years and has no income at the moment. Never mind that he has another child across the country that he can't afford to fly out to see but once a year. His wife has never had a job and they agreed that when the youngest started school she would go to work. Well, that's not going to happen now. Now they are both unemployed. I honestly felt that his wife got pregnant on purpose because they found out I was having children. I know it sounds crazy, but it was the one thing that they could always bait my parents with. My parents love their grandchildren and they visit my brother often because of the kids. Well this past year my parents only visited one time for graduation and planned to spend the holidays with us since they didn't know when the boys were coming. They were sore about it. So needless to say, the conversation did not go as planned and I never brought it up. I sent them baby presents and we texted twice. I sent them a birth announcement and he texted but never called to say congratulations or sent the boys anything and that made me even more mad. I'm mad that he spoke to me only because he thought he might die and didn't want that on his conscience. Then all communication stopped again. I found out from my parents that he was struggling with severe PTSD and ended up being hospitalized in a psych facility. He texted me a picture of the baby when it was born, but we have not spoken in about 9 months. I finally let my mom have it because he had painted a picture that we were fine and that we were talking again. She kept bringing him up and talking about us like we were fine. I told her that we had only spoken via text twice and that I was not going to contact him as I was waiting on clarification as to where we stood. I understand that he has had a very hard year, but he needs to know that it's not ok to speak to me the way he did nor treat my children differently. And he doesn't get to come in and out when he feels like it. I feel terrible that he is going through such a hard time in his life and I honestly am at a loss for words. I don't know anything about PTSD and what he is going through. One major shortcoming of mine is that I have to dig deep for empathy at times (pretty ironic since I am a nurse). I find it hard to accept peoples' behavior based on their past experiences and find myself constantly saying "well lots of people have been through that and don't act like this.." I know- I feel like an a-hole. I know that not everyone has the same coping mechanisms and we deal with trauma/tragedy differently. I just cannot seem to feel bad for my brother. Yes, it is terrible that he has suffered mental and physical distress due to his job but he is not helping himself. My parents and I both have offered to help him, monetarily, emotionally, whatever he needed. He has refused everything. We have endured a lot as a family and to see him falling apart like this is sad and frustrating for all of us. It could be pride, but he has small mouths to feed and think about. He refuses to move closer and he and his wife have no friends and live secluded in the woods. Sounds like the perfect setting for a Lifetime movie if you ask me. I worry about him, but my anger stops me from getting involved anymore. I feel like he is no longer the person I grew up with and I have lost him and the potential to get past everything gets smaller as each day passes. I know I am not the only one here with family dynamics. What should I do? Do I just let it go? Do I try to contact him again? I miss my brother but don't want to stir things up for either one of us. I would love to hear your thoughts.
In the same post I also wrote about seeing my grandma for what I thought would be the last time. This saddened me greatly because she is the only grandma I have ever known. I fondly call her Detroit granny because she is tough as nails. She wears bright red Avon lipstick and can put it on without a mirror. We once took her out to dinner and she got ribs. When she bit into them, she left red kiss marks all over them lol! Oh, I love her to pieces. So to think that I would lose the one grandma that loved me was gut wrenching. I wanted to tell her so bad that I was pregnant with twins when I saw her (especially when she poked fun at my waistline looking big). I held it in at my dad's request. Well, my dad decided after the boys were born that she did need to know and told her himself. She took the news of her granddaughter being a lesbo married to her "friend" and having babies like a champ! She called me and we had a long discussion about it and she said she would love me no matter what. She had met R before and said she loved her and was glad we had each other. We talk often on the phone and I am so relieved that I did not lose her. I felt like an a-hole (again) that we did not give her the benefit of the doubt. I think my dad was surprised too. She has not met the boys in person, but we send her tons of pics and sent her an album of the past year starting with the ultrasounds through their first birthday for her Christmas present. I hope she will come visit this year so the boys can meet Detroit granny and get covered in red lipstick kisses too!