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Gayle Nichol's picture

Family, feuds and finding each other again

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 13:44 -- Gayle Nichol

I finally met my sister on a sunny Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago.

She’s my half sister. I’ve known about her my entire life, but for various reasons – none of them ours – we were kept apart. She did contact me almost two decades ago, and we’ve kept in contact, but as adults it was geography not drama that kept us apart.

It was a fun meeting for us. A third sister was there. How we all fit in the puzzle doesn’t matter. Not to us. We all climbed out of the same genetic pool. There are a few more of us siblings sprinkled around the country. One lost to the grave.  But it was fun for us to compare notes about what we like and dislike, commonalities in medical histories and sixth senses, sharing pictures of children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews as we excitedly pointed out likenesses and shared funny stories about personalities. We were hungry for details, diving into each other’s lives to reach the marrow. Finding sweetness in our connection.

There is no sweetness among the adults in our lives. Still. The parents that genetically created us, and those who swept into our lives as “steps” had no love for each other then. They have none now. At our meeting, a few of the adults came forward with their assessment of their counterparts on the other side of this emotional war which rages for them still.

Ugliness.

Bitter words born of anger and frustration that has been fermenting for these long 60 plus years. There is hate there still. All of us children know it. We lived with it. Heard it first hand. Some of us were obsessed by it – our physical and personality traits characterized derogatorily and attributed to the enemy on the other side.

That’s how it was for us then.

As children we were silent when the comments were made, consuming all that second-hand rage and trusting that the adult with whom we resided must be telling us the truth. So we learned to distrust, to be unsure of ourselves.

Some of us learned to hate. Some of us hate still. But in our 50s, we no longer present as hurt children of divorce. Now we are just angry, unhappy adults who others view with pity and condescension as we struggle to make right what was done so wrong so long ago.

Happily, the three of us sisters who came together for this meeting decades in the making were able to push aside what had come before. As adults, we were able to sit and silence the cries of war to enjoy the peace of just being siblings. Together.

Where there was love once among our parental group, it has long been lost. Anger has been cradled to their collective bosomfor decades.

But for a few hours, three little girls in their 50s, sat together without the influence of bitterness past. And we giggled and shared and had fun.

It was a perfect meeting. Meant to be.

And on that sunny Sunday afternoon I didn’t just find a friend. Not just a sister. A found a missing piece of me.

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