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Monday, November 4, 2013

Filling in the empty spaces

It feels like it's been a very long while since I've blogged anything. In truth, quite a lot has happened in my life over the past 6 months, and I could have written about so much.

The most recent thing is that I turned 31. That kind of blows my mind. Lots of change has happened since I began blogging about 7 or 8 years ago. Lots has changed but in other ways things have stayed the same. I definitely feel older and wiser than the young twenties version of myself. I am a different person in some ways, but recognizable in others. I have changed states, changed professions. But I don't necessarily know any better where life is headed for me. I think maybe that's just the way that life is, and the way it should be really, otherwise what's the point? We always need room to strive for improvement.

The next most recent thing is that my dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer and secondary liver cancer. If you've been keeping track, there are currently two members of my immediate family who are living with cancer, the other being my brother, Broy. He has been receiving treatment for his cancer for about 6 years now, going in and out of clinical trials, as current therapies have not managed to beat the disease for good. So as if that wasn't enough cancer in one family's life, we have my dad's to deal with now too. My dad has started receiving targeted radiation therapy for the liver cancer, and a monthly shot of some drug (not sure if it's technically "chemo" or what -- it's not administered the same way) to keep the stomach tumor from growing. It's hard to say what the prognosis is on that, but I guess the modus operandi, for me at least, has always been to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. For me, it's a little easier to go through the reality of having a family member diagnosed with cancer and face mortality the second time around. I feel like shit for saying that. I'm not saying I'm happy about it. It's just easier to go through the grieving cycle if you've done it before. Anyway, I see this maybe as an opportunity to start thinking about my relationship with my dad, and thinking about the types of things that I would want to say and do before the inevitable, whenever that may be.

Which brings us to the next most recent thing prior to that: I have begun having a relationship with my "long lost" sister, for lack of a better descriptor. It's possible that you didn't know that I had a sister. I, in fact, also did not know that I had a sister until I was 22 years old. I'm going to interject and say that on the one hand I feel like this is private stuff and I should not be talking about it on my blog, but on the other hand, there's really no way to talk about my sister and our relationship without explaining the background. And the background isn't terribly pretty. In life, we like to pretend that everything is pretty. That people always do right by one another. Or that when people do in fact do wrong, only bad consequences follow. In reality, life is shades of gray. And people don't always like to acknowledge that. We like to treat certain things as taboo. We put skeletons in our closets and lock them up. We put on masks and show the world what we want them to see. But the truth is what it is, and I don't think we should have to hide it or be afraid of it.

So, in brief, my sister is the product of an affair my father had with another woman long ago, when he was still married to my mother, and I was still a relatively young child. Although my mother did learn of the affair originally (and my parents stayed together during my youth in spite of it), none of us learned about my sister, Abigail, until I was 22, and my dad could keep his skeleton in the closet no longer. Naturally, there was quite a lot of shit that hit the fan after that revelation. There were lots of consequences. Many bad, others good, depending on your perspective. My parents divorced. My hero pedestal upon which I had placed my father crumbled. My concept of reality shifted into severe unfocus for quite awhile. There was a lot of hurt and a lot of healing that had to happen. For everyone in my family, really. But I can only speak to my own experiences, and that's all I wish to speak to. Others have their own perspectives.

For a number of reasons not completely all clear, Abigail and I did not really connect with each other until June of this year, 9 years after I learned of her existence. There are a lot more stories to tell about that, and I promise to do so very soon (because guess what? I plan to start blogging again -- no, really!).

For now it's enough to say that building a relationship with my sister these past 5 months has been one of the best things that's ever happened in my life. It's enriched me and made me feel whole in a way few other things ever have or could.

She's my missing puzzle piece, repairing me where I am dismantled.

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Zac Terry said...

We're not dead yet.

Katie Peterson said...

Sra, I'm so sorry about your dad, but glad you're back on the Buns-wagon!

heidikins said...

Oh my goodness, so many things to respond to! Firstly, I am so sorry to hear about more cancer in your family, what a shitty thing to have to deal with. Secondly, I am so glad that you have found such fulfillment from the budding relationship with your sister. I got goosebumps when I read those last few paragraphs.


Sra said...

Indeed you aren't!

Sra said...

Thanks K-T, it's good to be back!

Sra said...

Thanks heidikins, I appreciate it!

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