My sis­ter, who shut me out for no rea­son

The Guardian - Family - - Family | Family life - Your sis­ter

Grow­ing up, you were al­ways the sis­ter I looked up to. You taught me kind­ness and for­give­ness, cu­rios­ity and the right to ques­tion ev­ery­thing. You were my clos­est big sis­ter, a sur­ro­gate mother of sorts. We all es­caped the trauma of our child­hood as soon as we could and, even though we moved to dif­fer­ent coun­tries for a time, I rel­ished our fre­quent phone calls that com­fort­ably ram­bled on for hours.

When you mar­ried and had your first child, I was the first one you showed the ul­tra­sound to. I was the first of our fam­ily to hold my tiny niece, the one you trusted to mind this lit­tle per­son when you and your hus­band es­caped for a few hours or, oc­ca­sion­ally, overnight. I loved this lit­tle girl fiercely, and she loved me back. I taught her to dance un­in­hib­ited, to feed imag­i­nary drinks to her toys, and helped her to over­come her shy­ness.

When her lit­tle brother came along, I minded your first-born and brought her in to meet her new brother in hospi­tal. My niece and nephew vis­i­bly de­lighted in my com­pany, and I in theirs. I spoiled them, taught them about na­ture, read to them, made them pan­cakes on Sun­day morn­ings, gig­gled un­con­trol­lably with them, cud­dled them, and loved them both. I was a good thing in their lives.

So why did you shut me out? Why did you slowly cut off all con­tact in re­cent years, not tell me when you were bring­ing them to visit Dad, come up with ex­cuses when I of­fered to have them over to stay? Why did you pre­tend not to hear me call­ing your name when we hap­pened to pass each other while vis­it­ing Dad in hospi­tal? If it weren’t for your chil­dren squeal­ing my name in ex­cite­ment, you would have kept walk­ing.

You broke my heart. I don’t miss you any more; you have hurt me too much. But I miss my won­der­ful niece and nephew

What­ever it is I have done, I wish you would tell me. But I fear that I have done noth­ing, and that you merely wish to cut me out of your life so you don’t have to deal with your past any more. Do you re­mem­ber how hurt you would be when Mum sniffed when you walked into the room? Do you re­alise you do that to me now?

You broke my heart and I have cried and cried and cried over your cold­ness and ex­clu­sion. It has taken me years of work to get over the some­times phys­i­cal pain of that loss. It was a dif­fi­cult road that opened old wounds but I took it. And I am stronger for it.

I don’t miss you any more; you have hurt me too much. But I still miss my won­der­ful nephew and niece and I know they miss me. I hope, in years to come, they seek me out and we can build a re­la­tion­ship. I hope I gave them very happy mem­o­ries. And I hope that you have a valid ex­pla­na­tion for them as to why you cut me out of their lives so un­nec­es­sar­ily.

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