I cried in front of my daughter today. I didn't mean to,I didn't even know I would.
We have a small table in our hallway with several framed pictures on it. I blew up my favorite pictures of the girls to 8X10 and those great faces greet me whenever I walk down my hallway. I also have a picture of my sister and I when we were kids. We're laughing in the backseat of my mom's car. I wish I still had the memory that goes with it, because it looks wonderful.
In front of those pictures are 2 small frames. One is of Micah's high school graduation. He's standing alone holding his diploma. The other is of my high school graduation. I'm starring straight into the camera with my arms around my brothers neck. I've been carrying that framed photo around since we graduated. The frame was a gift that day. The picture is the only one I have of us together in a time when there was no painful history or angry let down.
I started sobbing as soon as I saw it was broken though.
What the frame was holding has been broken for almost as many years as I've owned it. It was a picture of the end. Just after that day he left and never really came back.
I only have one real sibling. My big sister. She is 9 years older than me. By the time I was old enough to understand things, she was already moved out. I was just becoming a teenager when she was getting married.
So you can understand how I was kinda raised as an only child.
Luckily for me there was Shae.
Shae is my cousin..slash brother. There was a time in his life where he had collectively lived more with me than either or his parents. They divorced when he was young and he bounced between them. A few times he landed at our house where his dad was living. Shae and I had the typical fights you'd expect from siblings. In the third grade I got a citation on my birthday. Shae was getting in my face and being mean so I hit him.....in front of the Vice Principal. I cried over my birthday cake when I told my parents.
NO! I am not saying that it was his fault (entirely).
But it was and example of our relationship.
He almost caught the house on fire once. He was scooping ash out of the fireplace and rolling it up in newspaper. His dad would flick his cigarette ash into the fireplace. Shae thought he could re-smoke the tobacco. When he tried to light the "cigarette" he started coughing and tossed the book of matches. The lit matches landed on a bookshelf and Shae nearly killed himself climbing to put the fire out. The living arrangements never lasted long and Shae would bounce back again.
Things got bad for Shae in high school and he needed a stable place to land. So he came to live with us to get his head on straight and finish high school. He started going to youth group at our church. He enrolled at the same high school I was at. At first it seemed like we were going to get along great.
Or so I hoped.
Once one of his wrestling buddies was telling people we had slept together.
( I WAS A VIRGIN UNTIL I WAS 20)
Shae didn't defend me. It was his friend after all. I was told to let it go.
I once pulled up and gave a friend of his a ride home from school. He asked me what I was doing driving Shae's car......My 1976 camaro!!! Apparently Shae had been driving all of his buddies around while I was in class. I thought I was losing my mind when I'd come out and it wasn't where I had parked it.
Right after we graduated Shae left. He was going to spend time with his parents and then go into the army. I was so proud. I knew that he was going to finally pull himself together in the army.
From June 1996 to today is a long long run on sentence of bullshit.
Lied to, lied about, threatened, offended, taken advantage of....
Shae didn't make it in the army. He has been in and out of jail a few times. He has a couple of kids and a couple of wives. He once said he loved his life of couch surfing. The list of bridges that he has burnt is so long you'd think he lived alone, stranded on an island. And yet he has managed survival.
You gotta give him credit for that.
Through it all I have tried to push him to the very back of my mind and heart. My day to day life is too hectic and full.....I don't have the time or energy...well, you know.
But today he snuck up on me. Today, that broken hearted feeling of missing someone ( that will likely never be there again) hurt.
It really really hurt.
Some of the best memories of my life are with him. He made me laugh so hard I peed.
It's not about forgiveness. I have long forgiven the done wrongs.
There are just some things I can't afford to risk by allowing some people into my life anymore.
Like my children and my sanity and my heart.
That being said, it doesn't make it hurt any less that they are not there.