Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Stalled on the tracks, seat belt won’t unlock, the door handle has broken off in my hand…and there’s a really bright light coming at me at sixty miles an hour.
Old family issues are threatening; and if I have to rip the seatbelt out by the roots and crawl out the moon roof, I’m not going to let them flatten me.
I have been told that I need to forgive and forget.  I don’t think I haven’t forgiven.  I have opened my heart to the point where we have been able to be a family.  And it was I, make no mistake, who did the forgiving.  No one else was going to move in that direction.  I was exiled from the family, and if I wanted back in, I had to put away the hurts, shelve the bad feelings and make nice.  And so I did.  And I don’t regret it.
I did not forget, though.  I would be a fool to forget.  Because to forget would be to open myself to being blindsided all over again, by things I never imagined my family could do or say or be.  I may be many things, but I am not a fool.  I never EVER again want to go through the kind of pain I battled after Dad died.  It was a long time ago…I can hardly believe how long.  Fourteen years.  But I can not forget the pain.  I. Will. Not. Forget.
But, by god, I forgave.  By way of demonstrating that forgiveness, I have allowed the spearhead of that pain and exile to live part-time under my roof for almost five years.  Back in 2008, sister “C” was a real estate agent facing the reality of the housing crash.  As the breadwinner for her household, it was imperative that she find steady work.  Quickly.  In her infinite wisdom, she decided the only place she was going to find appropriate employment was the Portland metro area.  And while her household was in transition, she asked if she could stay in one of my extra bedrooms while she was in town. 
Once established in her job, she would sell their home in Eugene and buy a house closer to where she worked.  A simple plan.  A temporary plan.  And in 2008, husband and I only used the house as a place to sleep and house our pets, so it was really no inconvenience to have her here.
Not only has her plan derailed, but there seems to be no hope of getting it back on track.  It would take pages, and still be incomprehensible to anyone who has not witnessed the drama for over twenty years, to explain the complexities of my sister’s marital relationship.  Suffice it to say that the only way for her and her husband to live together is NOT to live together…at least not all the time.  She seems to have solved that issue by living at MY house half the time. 
Well..she sleeps here, anyway.  She contributes nothing to the household.  Not money (I have never asked…that was the whole reason she needed to stay here to begin with.)  But no emotional support, either… nor even a helping hand.  It was fine.  I didn’t really care when I was never here and I was working 70 hours a week.  But I’m home now.  And I want my home back.  I’m done.  I want her to get on with the plan and finish what she started.
But, of course, I can’t TELL her that.  That would be starting the war all over again.  I would be the bad guy.  Again.  I would be the horrible bitch who sits in judgment of her life and her choices.  Again.  Oh no.  I have been there and I have done that (or not, as the case may be.)  And I have no intention of going there again. 
For the past six weeks, “C” has been house-sitting for her former boss who has been in Hawaii since just after Christmas.  Oh, how I hoped that this time of autonomy and living closer to her job would get her to thinking about how to work out the second half of her plan (the part about selling their house and getting their own place in PDX.)  But of course, I have no such luck.  What I do have is that she senses I am becoming impatient with the status quo and she wants to “talk about it.” 
Oh, my god…not on your life!  One thing our unfortunate past has taught me is that there is no “talking about it” with sister “C”.  There is jumping on board her idea—however hare-brained or ill-fated—with enthusiasm and complete agreement.  Or there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  There is no middle ground.
In order to maintain the peace here--indeed, to keep my hard-won place back with my family--I WILL be required to lie.  To obfuscate.  To dance lightly around the truth with a smile on my face.  And I SUCK at that. In fact, I’m reasonably sure I would be incapable of it, in this instance.
So all I can do is get free and run like hell in the opposite direction.
With the train right behind me.  Gaining ground.   




  1. You may call me, text me, e mail me anytime. And I do mean anytime. The computer isn't always on but we do answer the phone. Just let it ring. And, for what it's worth a whole battalion of little candles are trucking up I5 as I write this. I'd forgotten about those little suckers for awhile. When they take off, they really take off.

    Anything, even if it's just a shoulder.

  2. You have done quite some work to reestablish contact with your family. However, if that isn't really appreciated, you may have to bail. I hope it won't be necessary.

  3. Hi..don't mind my two sense but you have forgotten that there is a third person involved in this situation..your hubby...he deserves a household with his mate, a peaceful one. Perhaps, he could intervene and tell sister "Listen I want to be able to spend quality "alone time" with my wife..I need you to get a move on with your own life, after all it HAS been X amount of years that you have been a quest here...I think it's been quite enough time for your to put your own life back in order. Let's put a time table on this...say by the middle of next month?" That removes YOU as the bad guy....if hubby can shoulder the weight...PS/if he does this he deserves to be treated like gold. I had a husband who stood up for me, he passed two years ago...he is missed greatly....hope what I have written can help you a bit. I have had tremendous family problems yet I have always helped my family..I have a saying "No good deed goes unpunished" things would constantly come back and kick my butt too, so I know what a position you are in....Sandi

  4. I must have skipped over this fact in the past... Didn't know you had a permanent house guest. No wonder you can't find your peace! I'm with Sandi - your hubby must be a saint. No contribution to the household or even a hand? WHAT? Has your spiritual search/journey led you to believe that in order to be a part of your family, you must be the whipping boy? Hum...

  5. Thanks for your feedback, ladies... But, trust me... there is no way to move this situation forward without starting World War Three. There was a time when I would have said, "Fine. If that's how it needs to be, so be it." But now that I know what it's like to be on the outside looking in at (what's left of) my family, I am willing to put up with a lot in order to never go there again. I just don't want to have to lie about my feelings, because I really DO suck at that. Which is why I have been avoiding The Conversation like the plague.

  6. Having had my share of family issues, really bad ones, I can appreciate your feelings, can relate to what you say. It's really tough to be on the outside looking in, makes us think long and hard about the decisions we make- or don't make. The one thing I have learned, and learned the hard way is that if I don't speak up, no matter how difficult or painful the situation, nothing changes, and the one thing that positively will get worse is my unhappiness. You and your husband deserve to enjoy your life now, to have a peaceful home where you can enjoy each other. I don't know what you'll decide to do, if anything, just want you to know you can email me too, or call, should you need to chat. Life is pretty hard, and always much easier if you have others in you corner. The more you have..the lighter the burden. I'll be praying for you. So very sorry you're having to go through this.