An Open Letter To My Brother
There was a time in our lives when I felt loved by you. I was a child then, unable to understand the differences between half and step, full or adopted. I knew you didn’t live with us, that you were only there on weekends, not even every weekend. But in my little mind that was normal, and you were my brother just like our sister who was always there. I knew you had another mom, and I think I knew that Dad used to be married to her, but none of that really made sense to me. I thought you loved me because I was your baby sister.
As I got older Dad told me that before he knew my mom he was in love with yours. He told me how your mom and he adopted you and our older sister because they couldn’t have babies of their own. He explained how sometimes two adults stop loving each other, but that he never stopped loving you or big sister. He didn’t have to tell me that last part, I never doubted that. I began to understand that ‘technically’ you are my half brother because we shared the same father. I never considered you anything other than my brother, I didn’t know any other kind of brother.
Being the naive and selfish little brat I was, I never considered your point of view. When your mother and our father divorced, Dad got remarried to my mother. Before long, our other sister was born and nineteen months after that I came along. Even when I was old enough, I didn’t realize how this may have made you feel. I didn’t know that perhaps you saw me as a replacement, as though Dad’s first try at having kids wasn’t enough. It never crossed my mind that all those days and nights you weren’t at our house, you may have wondered why Dad chose us over you, even if it wasn’t quite that simple.
I’ve spent years wondering why there’s so much distance between us and not the physical kind. You’ve said hurtful things to me about being bitter that I got to grow up with Dad. I’ve said hurtful things to you in defense of Dad. It broke my heart that you didn’t see in me what I always saw in you, and it broke my heart that you seemed to hold a grudge against a man I watched make sacrifice after sacrifice on your behalf. I still cannot see it from your perspective, nor can you see it from mine.
I fear the rifts we’ve carved and mountains we’ve built in the time and space of misunderstanding and lack of communicating are too deep and too high to traverse. I fear I am the only one of us who might care to try. I wonder if anybody realizes aside from me that Dad is the glue that holds us siblings together? You and our eldest sister only keep in touch with one another. I barely keep in touch with our other sister.
I am experiencing possibly the most difficult fight of my life, for my life right now, and none of you even know. I realize that ultimately there isn’t anything any of you could do to change my situation, but I’m not sure you care either. We are all strangers now, tied together by the kindest man I’ve ever known, and I’m proud to call him Dad. But Dad won’t live forever, and then we will just be strangers who all live in different parts of the country. I could be wrong. But there have been countless times when I’ve needed or wanted my brother; to be there, to talk to, to care, to advise me… We both know how often those desires were realized.
Maybe it’s me. Perhaps I have failed as the baby sister. Could I have reached out more? Could I have told you more times in more ways that I thought you hung the moon? Should I have reminded you a millionth time that I felt more connected to you than anyone else in our family? No, I couldn’t. My hypersensitive emotions could no longer bear your rejections. You’ve said you love me, and maybe in your own way you do. But when Daddy’s glue is gone one day, I fear any semblance of a relationship between us will be too.