“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama
Y’know, sometimes the calendar is a real pain in the ass. Because when you’ve lived long enough…there are inevitably dates that trigger memories and feelings, and dude – you may not WANT to have those feelings on that particular day this year, know what I mean?
I’ve had lots of time to accumulate lots of those days, since I’m older than dirt. I talk about some of them here – like, my anniversary for instance. That’s a good one. I think I told you about missing my Mom on Mother’s Day. And of course, you all know about my brother Rock. It seems like every time I turn around, there’s a day that reminds me about Rock.
(Well, to clarify – I think about him and Mom EVERY day, but I’m talking official days here.)
Like, I just mentioned him on Memorial Day because, well – he died in the service of our country. And in August, it’ll be ten years since he passed away. And today…June 17, 2010, would have been his 49th birthday. See what I mean? Bam, bam, bam – three in a row. Sheese. And…if I think I have it rough, I can only imagine how my niece, nephew and sister in law feel.
But, this post is not about Rock, and I absolutely am not writing it to elicit sympathetic comments. Y’all have been wonderfully supportive with those, and I appreciate the love, but no – that’s not why I’m writing this today.
Nope – today I’m writing FOR YOU. Yep, I’m getting up on my soap box or high horse or whatever you want to call it to talk about your siblings who are still alive. And, I know it’s none of my business, and I know every situation is different, and I know that some of you are going to wonder where the hell I get off even mentioning this, but that has never stopped me before, so I’m going with my gut here.
As we grow up and live our lives, move away from home, have kids, build careers, blah, blah, blah…how much time do we really leave for our siblings? I know that some folks are lucky to have a very close relationship with all their family, and that’s a good thing. I talked to my sister Eva three times yesterday and twice today.
I also know that some family members have burned every bridge ever built for them and that even the mention of them makes the hair stand up on the back of some folks’ necks. I really do know this – I have one of those sisters, too. Haven’t seen or talked to her in years. So, this post is every bit as introspective as it is presumptuous – I totally get it, from both sides.
But still, on days like this…these calendar days that grab me by the heart and slam me around the room regardless of my to-do list or whether or not I have time to sit and cry like I may want to, I always get this overwhelming feeling that I need to check and see if my priorities are in order. While I’m missing Rock and wishing I still had my big brother, am I telling the family members that are HERE how much I love them? Am I putting aside pettiness and pride and giving hugs and laughs and support with wild abandon?
Um, nope. I’m not. And I’m not going to lie to you – I will not be tracking my older sister Margaret down to tell her I love her, even though HER birthday was yesterday. I get that family dynamics are tough and complicated and sometimes deeper than the human heart can understand and deal with. But at least for today, I’ll think about her. I’ll wish her well and say a prayer that if we can’t all be together, at least we can all have peace about it.
Because I know life is short. I know that I’m weak and prideful and stubborn, but I also know that my siblings are likely the only people in the world who understand WHY I’m the way I am. No other relationship is quite the same as the bond of two (or in our case four) people who grew up together. (Not saying that bond is always good OR bad – just unique.)
Annnnd, now that I’m all weepy I honestly cannot remember what my point was with this post. I think, though, it has something to do with that Dalai Lama quote I put in the beginning. Be kind to your siblings today. Hug them if you can; call them, text them, laugh with them and tell them you love them.
If that’s not possible…if you have a Margaret in your family who’s lost, or God forbid, a Rock in your family who’s gone, then be kind to yourself. Get through those calendar days the best you can, and know that we’ve all got them. If today’s not one of yours, then it may be someone else’s.
And, kindness helps. Just sayin’…:)