How estrangement can become “normal”
The past couple of months have been quite heavy for me in many ways. There have been a lot of trials and tragedies both personally and for those I care for deeply. The heartbreaking recent news of those I have never met has also weighed on me deeply. Times such as these obviously make us more aware of how precious and fleeting our time together can be.
One personal issue that has risen more often to the surface lately is the estrangement with my second oldest sister. We have not spoken in over 7 years. It is stunning to think that this is the truth of us. Looking back on us, as small children, she was my very first friend. Like all sisters, we had our arguments and petty problems but we remained devoted to one another. There were things growing up we would not have survived without the other’s love and support.
As time goes on, and more life events and milestones are celebrated divided, it never gets easier to deal with. It was hard enough that we began to drift right as my now husband and I began to date. It has since become a constant internal ache deep down as we married and have since had two beautiful children she has never met.
The saddest part of the whole situation is that it is over nothing. I mean that quite literally. At the time she decided to stop speaking with me, along with my mother and other two sisters, she was going through a custody battle. I am not sure of what lead her to believe this but she became convinced that we had all spoken against her and were to blame for her losing sole custody of her children. I never once spoke against her to the courts or anyone involved in the case. I admit I knew my sister was troubled at the time and needed help but I spoke with her personally about seeking solutions. I tried my best to be a support to her to enable her to live the happy life I felt she deserved.
The loss of her has been so very painful and has not diminished due to it somehow becoming “normal” that our lives are no longer one. Every time there is a special event or a holiday, I miss her. I look at my babies and think how sad it is she will most likely never know them. However, then I have to remind myself that there are times when we do not have a say in how relationships will go with another. We don’t always get to “have our say” or to even explain the truth. At times we must accept the punishment even if we did not earn it.
As we tell our clients we have to accept that we must at times find a way to let people go because it is what they want or need. Not all endings get wrapped up in a neat little explanation. We must accept that some endings are abrupt and painful and the wounds may never fully heal. We are sometimes left with no choice but to love them quietly from afar. It can help us to appreciate what we do have a little more. As Francis Bacon beautifully stated, “We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand… and melting like a snowflake.”
Nicole Michaud is a Counselor in training in Central Connecticut. She is also the voice behind the cooking blog MyLoveForCooking.com