This one cuts a little deep. Hurts a little. Actually, a lot. I’ve touched on it several times, vague-booked about it. There just never seemed like an appropriate time to REALLY talk about it. I don’t think I honestly ever have laid it all out there. And when she reads this, she might be a little mad at me. She might call me and tear me up and down for putting this out there. I am super non-confrontational. Like, don’t look at me the wrong way cuz I’ll pry think you heard something from someone who doesn’t even know me and judge me on it. That overwhelming fear I talk about (especially in I see you, Mama and A letter to my husband.) rears it’s ugly head in my life every single day. But I’m ready to move on from this part of my heartache and move forward with complete healing, side eyes and all from everyone.
My sister and I were always best friends. Growing up, we were inseparable. We drove each other to that brink of insanity, yet we’d always camp out in one of our bedrooms at the end of the day talking about boys and school and how our days went.
The first night I went over to Ben’s house, I didn’t exactly tell my parents where I was going. I took Makala with me so she wouldn’t rat me out to my mama. AND THEN, she nearly freaking died that night. My now husband, crashed his dang four-wheeler into a tree WITH HER ON THE BACK. (He’s lucky to be alive, too. I nearly killed him. And so did the tree he hit.) And to think that in that moment, I *thought* that was the closest I would ever get to losing her…
Right after B was born, everything changed. I moved out, and Makala and I didn’t talk as much. Life happened. I got so wrapped up in being a new mama, that I forgot there were other things that were important in my life. She’d come stay with me once a week or so, but our relationship was different. We weren’t as close. There was tension. Looking back, I’m sure she was angry with me. At the time, I didn’t understand it. But I do now.
Not long after B turned 1, Makala moved into her own place with a boyfriend. Everything about this boyfriend rang very wrong to me, but who was I to interfere? I was engaged at 17, a mama at 18, and married at 18. She was allowed to be happy, too.
But it just felt so wrong. Every time I saw her, something was off. I made a lot of assumptions during that time, but I was too afraid to confront her. I was afraid to make her mad. I was afraid to question her decisions.
And then, I saw her one day after months of not and it was impossible to not know what was happening. My darkest fear was blatantly obvious right in front of my eyes. She was disgustingly skinny. Her hair was bad. Her skin was awful. She was using drugs. And even in that moment, I didn’t say anything to her. I ignored it. I pretended it wasn’t true. I cursed her boyfriend and prayed that what was happening wasn’t true and I moved on.
My head moved on. My heart moved on. I couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t know how. Eventually, my mom confronted her and got her into counseling. Makala swore she wasn’t using anymore, but I knew she was. She thought she was hiding it well, but I could read it all over her face. AND I STILL COULDN’T SAY ANYTHING. I was so angry with her. My mom wasn’t paying her bills to pay for Makala’s counseling. Every week. For months. And she didn’t care. I couldn’t deal with any of it. I got angry, and quit seeing her. I didn’t talk to her. The only time we were in contact with each other, was when she needed me to come save her sorry butt from her using boyfriend. And I hated having her in my house. My husband reminded me several times that it was the right thing to do, but that I could choose to not have her here and take her elsewhere. But I just couldn’t do that. She needed me, right?
Eventually, I quit going to get her. She would text me that she was terrified and needed help, and I would call my Stepdad. That man, I’m telling you. He went out there to wake her several times when we knew something was wrong. He’d break into that house and wake them both. He let her make her mistakes, but kept her alive. Most times, he wouldn’t even tell me he had to go out. I never knew until recently that my mom saved her several times in the wee hours of the night……..
When I was 7 months pregnant with E, she moved to Florida with her boyfriend. She needed a clean start. I knew that. But why now? I was coming up on a VERY exciting time in MY life, and she left. (We tried for over 2 years to conceive E, so that pregnancy was held very close to me.) And it made me so angry, my heart hurt so much. I rarely talked to her. When I saw my mom, I would ask her how she was doing, but never let her finish because I didn’t want to hear anymore. I was so selfish. I was so angry that I thought I was going to bury my little sister because of something so avoidable that I just shut down. I pretended it didn’t matter anymore.
She came home when T was 9 days old, and my heart just ached. I could see that drugs were no longer in her life. It was very obvious on her exterior appearance, and I finally got a clip of the girl I had been yearning for years to see again. I cried and cried and cried to my husband, and he told me the ball was in my court to fix things. But I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready. What if she relapsed? What if I was making myself believe that she was healthy? What if I just couldn’t deal with the past like I needed to?
A few months later, we really started talking again. She was still in Florida, and had gotten a shift management position with a popular fast food chain. She met a guy who had a little girl and was throwing around the idea of having a baby of her own. I tried to talk her out of it, I couldn’t believe she had matured enough to have a family of her own. When she came home that summer, she announced her pregnancy. And I was so elated and so terrified. But I had hope that this was the turning point she needed in her life, and prayed that she really would be alright.
When she moved her growing family home that fall, I had a really hard time letting go of the past. I so badly wanted to be close to her, but I was very resentful of the time lost. And because of that, there’s more time that was lost. I let my hurt, resentment and selfish thoughts taint our relationship. STILL. Why couldn’t I just let go of the past?! Why was this so hard for me!? Why couldn’t I just love my sister for who she was and who she is and let the rest go?
The day her daughter was born, it all hit me like a sack of bricks. And I’ve been mulling it over for the last 6 weeks. All of that hurt. All of that resentment. All of that what if…. It all washed away. It all made sense. All of those mountains she climbed. All of the oceans she crossed. The rock bottom she hit. The bad decisions she made. They were for a reason. I might never fully understand that reason, but they led her right here to this. This wonderful life she’s living right now. Full of laughter, love, and the promise for a better future.
I blame myself for all the heartache she experienced all those years. If I had just taken the time to reach out to her when I moved away from home. If I had just said something to her when I had that first inclination that something was wrong, we may not have had to walk that terrifying journey of uncertainty. With fear of losing my sister before she was 21. Before she was able to enjoy life’s greatest blessings.
But I made myself a promise that in 2017, I was taking my life back from all the fear and regret I have. I will never regret anything more than how I treated Makala in that hardest time of her life, but I am granting myself some grace and forgiving myself for the way I behaved. And I am hopeful that one day, she will be strong enough to forgive me, too.
So on this Mother’s Day, your FIRST Mother’s day, I find it an appropriate time to tell you just how proud of you I am, Kay. You’ve fallen into motherhood so gracefully, those little girls are lucky to have you. My heart explodes to see you enjoying life’s greatest blessings in your every day life. You’re a beautiful woman, inside and out. I don’t have the right words to properly apologize to you, but please know that you will always hold a special place in my heart. And that I’m not going to hold the addiction over you anymore. It’s in the past, and I’m leaving it there. I love you beyond words, and I always will. No matter what.
Because of her I will not fall. For her I’d risk it all.