Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A long Time Coming

My close friends know of something that has hurt in my heart for a long time. Due to a lot of dysfunctional family behaviors, hurt feeling and somethings I simply can't explain, I haven't seen my father or siblings for a very long time.

We were all thrown together in 2000 when my mother became ill and subsequently passed away. The situation was an awful one for all of us, we had carried so much anger and hurt around for many years and this crisis multiplied those feelings tremendously. Once my mother finally passed on to rest peacefully in her Heavenly Father's arms, we continued with our hurtful words and actions toward each other. We were more divided than ever before. My reaction was to basically walk away from my remaining family as a protection mechanism for myself & my children. I realize there is no perfect family or relationship out there but my biggest fear had always been that my children would experience the same hurt & anger I dealt with as a child. My father, mother, sisters & oldest brother and I all had a part in the mess we were in but from my perspective, I seemed to be the only one that carried so much baggage from our dysfunctional family life. I was a mess to say the least. Turning away was the best answer I had at the time. I took no pleasure in it but I was able to spend some valuable healing time in counseling, prayer and thought. I have forgiven those that have hurt me and asked for forgivness from those that I may have hurt.

There is one innocent bystander in this mess. It is my sweet, little brother, Jody. He was born premature and mentally handicapped. He has dealt with pain and illness his whole life. He loves everyone with a pure heart and is loyal to the bone. I had told Jody I would be there for him but I gave into unrealistic fears and made pointless excuses and stayed away. I thought about him every day and felt a deeper and deeper guilt building up inside. The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to go back.

I woke up sick on Father's Day morning and had one of my frequent urges to call my dad. I immediately picked up the phone and called before I lost my nerve. The call did not go well but I didn't expect it to. I know I deserve some of the anger I got from him and I told him so. I also told him that I loved him and Happy Father's Day. I only heard silence on the other end. After I hung up I cried for a while and then decided to get my act together and go see Jody at the State School where he has lived for 25 years. I made it over there the next morning after getting lost a few times. I was very afraid but once I made it in I found Jody sitting in his wheelchair by the office shredding paper. (that is his official "job") I'm not sure if he recognized me right off but after I told him who I was he seemed to know me. I rolled him down the hall and we had a great visit. My dad came in a little later and we made a little small talk. I was shocked to see how old & frail he was. He told me he just finished up a chemo round for lung cancer and was starting another in the following week. I continued to visit with Jody for about an hour and promised him I would return soon. This time I intend to keep my promise. So much relief has come from my visit with Jody and I am looking forward to our next visit.