My sister left Massachusetts today with her family. Her flight left early this morning and I received a message that she arrived at her hotel in Nashville safely this afternoon. What I found most interesting was on Saturday for my final visit with her in this area, saying goodbye wasn’t difficult. Ironically, I felt more of a sense of peace. A few days ago I wrote about geographical cures and how I know my sister will learn that lesson one day. What I didn’t write about was the ups and downs that we have gone through in our relationship as brother and sister.
Growing up, my sister and I wanted nothing to do with each other. One would have thought that the two of us would have drawn closer with our parents being so dysfunctional and alcoholic. Instead we became polar opposites and took different sides. During my college years, when she had already begun her first post graduate corporate work, I was too focused on my drinking and drugging to care about her or anyone else for that matter.
All that changed in October of 1996, when I received the phone call from her that our father committed suicide. My sister and I spent a lot of time supporting each other after that. I even for a time lived extremely close to her home in one of my geographical cures not too long after my father’s death. Unfortunately, I became too self-absorbed to draw in a healthy loving sibling relationship and I abandoned the closeness that was growing between us. Over the years after that, when she needed me most, I avoided her. When I needed her, she was always there. If I was in a jam, she came to my aid. If I was feeling that death was better than life in one of my many suicidal moments that I once felt, she consoled me and kept me going. Hardly ever was I there for her. When I moved back to Massachusetts in 2007, she took me in as I had no where else to go. Over the course of the past five years, I have battled myself and had moments where I’m sure it felt as if I was finally getting healthier and becoming a real brother to her. Time and time again, I fell short of that and got wrapped up into any number of other addictions that I suffered from. A year ago, the pain became great enough to turn over all of my will to God and allow God to guide me in every part of my life. Since then, I have worked on my relationships with everyone that is still in my life, especially with my sister.
Actions have consequences and selfish ones can lead to a long time of recovery from them. Over the past year, I have done what I can to show my sister I’m getting healthier and never going back to the darkness and addictions I had lived in. Where I had been invited at least once a week to come to her house and hang out and then spend the night in the guest room, I was limited to a few hours of scheduled time, sometimes even just an hour and no more. At first I was angry and full of rage, demanding justice and saying that I need more time with her and my nephews. My anger distorted my thoughts and usually ruined my time with her when I was granted an hour or two. In the final months I had in Massachusetts with her, a shift began to happen within me about how to look at this differently.
I stopped looking at what I wasn’t getting and started being grateful for what I was. The few times I got to see her were not filled with arguing and drama because I came to understand within me that healing takes time, especially with how I treated her for most of my adult life. I realized that if all I was going to get was an hour or two, once a month, to see her, that I might as well make the best of it and show her and her kids how much I love each of them.
On Saturday, when I hugged her goodbye, I didn’t cry, at all. In fact, I didn’t even feel sad. Through my prayers, meditations, and having God at my center, I came to the realization that her moving away will give her time to heal from all the damage I’ve caused. It will give her time to clear her head and all those thoughts about how I once treated her. It will allow her to feel a little safer with knowing all we can do is communicate via phone or Skype for awhile. And it will allow her heart to miss me and maybe, just maybe, grow a little more fond of the potential the two of us have to be best friends and a loving brother and sister to each other.
We both have come a long way in our lives from our childhood craziness. I am beginning to see how my spiritual work in serving God is changing my life for the better. As for my sister, you can see it in one of the last messages she sent to my phone.
“Looking forward to the time when you can visit us in TN. Love you a lot. Thanks for being my brother. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better than you.”
Now I feel tears in my eyes…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson