Making Our Way Through!

Feb 18, 2023

 Families are complicated.  It’s not so different with mine.  We are complicated.  We’ve been through a lot – some of it together and some of it apart.

If I were being completely honest, I would tell you that it’s not always been easy. 

While honoring my brother’s life this month and making my way through my grief, it’s important to me to look at our relationship as objectively as I can….because that’s what’s real and that’s what will heal my broken heart.

As children, we had a mother who loved us immensely and did what she knew to provide a safe, happy experience.  Mom kept an immaculately clean home, a healthy schedule, well-balanced meals and conveyed solid beliefs and values.  But Momma was only 15-years-old when she had me, and while she had been mothering her younger brothers for a few years before that, a 15-year-old has had limited experience at being an adult, much less a parent.

There were several marriages, stepfathers, break-ups and many moves in our future.  There was anxiety, over-achievement, shame, and impropriety.  There was also laughter, traditions, adventure and big love.  Our lives were complex, complicated, and confusing…and there were secrets.

My mother embedded a deep loyalty within our family – especially between my siblings and me.  My brothers, Jimmy and Ricky, and I were tight.  We spent a lot of time together – sometimes playing.  Sometimes competing.  Sometimes sharing.  Sometimes protecting.  Sometimes exploring.  Sometimes crying.  But always, always we loved one another…and had each other’s back.

When we became adults, we went our separate ways… but still, always connected, and close.

Looking back, we were all dealing with our shared and our private childhood trauma.  It messed with us and we each handled it our own way – not discussing it with each other for over 30 years.

In that timeframe, we lived our lives connecting on holidays, weddings, funerals and other times we needed each other.  We chose different life paths.  Mine was a bit self-righteous, working so damn hard on myself, trying to prove to the world that I was worthy…worthy of attention and love. 

Sometimes I made private assumptions and judgements on my brothers, not understanding the path they took and choosing to distance myself from them. At my deepest, most pure level, I knew them longer than anyone else.  I knew the childhood experiences we shared – the fear, shame and humiliation. I knew.  We knew. But we didn’t talk about it.

I had true compassion for them…because I knew…. but also contradicted myself with judgement for some of the decisions they were making.  I tried to talk with them about it, however I’m sure I came across as a know-it-all and “holier than thou”, and that was probably true.  I wasn’t speaking authentically yet and they couldn’t “hear” me.

It was years down my own self-development path that I realized it was NOT my job nor my responsibility to judge anyone.  In learning to love myself and forgive myself, I was able to think and act compassionately, and forgive others. 

I was able to openly share my own childhood experiences and recognize the lessons I learned as turning points in my life.

We dropped the “baggage” of our childhood, clung on to the gifts and rebuilt our relationship based more on the truth and who we had, finally in our fifties, grown up to be.

My brother Jimmy, who recently passed, became my friend.  A story-teller, he shared many with me and I laughed and cried, and laughed some more.   He noticed details that I never did, enjoyed history and we shared a common love of geology.  We met up to eat, usually our favorite – Mexican food.  He had a BIG sweet tooth and never failed to have dessert, even if he had to get it to go.

Always an animal lover, I was able to see the kindness and compassion in his eyes as he proudly showed off his adoring dogs…and, LOL, family.  He shared his large, loving family with me and his wife, Dei, is now one of my best friends. 

Jimmy loved exploring the beautiful Arizona desert, abandoned gold mines and old buildings.  He even enjoyed panning for gold and would frequently go out adventuring with his friend, Mitch.

My brother, Jimmy was far from perfect.  He made some big mistakes.  Mistakes that sometimes really hurt others.  He admitted this to me.  I remembered I was his friend, not his critic.  He apologized for whatever he had done to hurt me.  I apologized to him too.  Because we have broke each other’s heart a time or two.

We left our pain right there…and moved forward as a brother and a sister who became friends.  We saw each other through the lens of unconditional love. And that’s as good as this can get.  It’s our precious gift to one another.

Moving past my own fears and pride, allowed me to have amazing relationships with my brothers.  We lost Jimmy too soon.  But as in the beginning of our lives, in the end of Jimmy’s, we were siblings, good friends …and we had each other’s back.

Remember, my friends….Love is ALL there is!



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