The broken, even those like me who have a very limited family to choose from, come back to our blood when we can. I have shared every year how hard the holidays are on me – and how I feel as if I have only barely recovered from one holiday’s wounds before it’s already Christmastime again. Admittedly, this year isn’t as bad as the stack of years leading up to it, somehow – likely because of the changes that have taken, and continue to take effect on my own psyche, I know…but, the overall emptiness and hollowed out feeling remains, in spite of the beginning of my own process of letting go of any former (and completely futile) expectations, hopes and/or goals in regard to my child, my own identity, and the future in general.
I’ve also written about my family a lot: my clan of older brothers, still living – my single younger brother, long dead. I have written about the two separate sets of kids that my father reared: THE ORIGINALS (the older set of four boys) and THE NON-ORIGINALS (the younger set of two boys and myself); my family structure growing up was odd, at best…but very close knit, in spite of such a wide-ranging collection. During childhood, I was closest to the baby, JJ, who committed suicide very young; and also with my very oldest brother, German, who is old enough to be my (young) father. The rest of my brothers and I have always missed that certain “connection”, for lack of a better term.
Nate, who is right above me in age (19 months older) and the first born of the NON-ORIGINALS, is very different from me in every way possible, as was he from JJ. Our childhoods kept us close but as soon as we began to grow up and foster our own personalities, Nate decided that he no longer cared too much for us. His high IQ and exquisite intelligence always alienated us; his introverted and anti-social persona didn’t help. After our father died, and our family was split up and separated permanently, the only one that I remained in daily contact with was JJ because we were kept together for a time. I found out after his death that Nathan had specifically asked to placed somewhere separately from us, and this morsel of information literally felt as if it had broken my spirit somehow for years, afterward.
Through my discovery of such a painful truth, Nate had made himself dead to me as well; I didn’t even count him as part of my family for almost a decade. It was ice between us. When I was recovering from the attempt on my life by the Ripper and all that drama, he never even checked on me once – never asked about me – basically it seemed that I was dead to him, in turn. When I came home, however, and he saw that I meant business in my own recovery and rehabilitation (my life prior to that was spent as a hostage to a psychopathic husband), he flipped a switch and became my staunchest ally, nearly overnight. He has gotten married and become a father since then; he seems to love me more as a result of those things, somehow.
His first-born, three-year-old “Cay-Cay”, is truly saving my life these days; giving me a spiritual renewal that I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) have thought possible at such an emotionally defeated time for me, reminding me that I am still worth something to at least one young, formidable soul out there. Her fierce and unwavering love for me has been like a lifeboat in the darkest swells of a lifetime. And, beneath it all, I have this sense of my brother’s love, too. He has been almost forceful with maintaining such an exceptional bond between she and I since the moment she was born, even before my life fell the rest of the way to shambles, it’s like he sensed the need somehow. He foresaw things that I was blind to seeing and successfully created a kind of safety net of emotional/spiritual fulfillment for me, just in case.
Of course, as with most things in life, these are things that are only just now becoming apparent to me – but I do recognize them. And there are not words to express the ton-of-bricks I am buried beneath when it comes to feeling grateful to him for it.