Today is the day that I change myself.
I have siblings who together have their share of complicated life’s issues all of which are intertwined with the lack of financial resources. In times like these, I wish I was the billionaire that can make all their troubles go away. A few signed cheques with three to four zeroes added and voila, all their problems will be gone. I love them dearly. We are a closely knitted bunch so of course, I want the very best for them.
But can one love someone to the extent that they forget themselves?
My brother, a few weeks ago, called me on my job and in anguish told me that he was in pain. I went numb! I couldn’t focus after that. This particular brother had suffered medical complications due to his diabetic condition. On more than one occasion he’d step on rusted nails that went through his tough boot and punctured his foot. He was hospitalized on 2 separate conditions and on his last visit he had to have one of his toes amputated. He self-medicates and his poor choices nearly cost him his foot! Needless to say as a female healthcare professional, all my alarms go off if or whenever he calls. I don’t know whether to say that it’s a part of my maternal nature or an over-loving sister, but I jump into action immediately so as ensure his wellness.
After the call, everything faded. My main focus was to get whatever was needed to stop his pain. I fled from work, got this and that, and rushed to his side. It took longer than I anticipated but once I returned to work, I called to check on him. My pressure and yes anxiety subsided because he’d said that he started to feel better. The next day, however, he said that he was still in pain. I had to tend to him. I called my job and explained that I needed time to help my brother. It took two days. I had to help him find out what was causing pain on his side. In those two days, he took blood tests and a CT scan. The results allayed the concern of our family. His pancreas, spleen, and appendix were not infected. What a relief!
After that episode, I was drained emotionally, psychologically, and somewhat financially. I needed a reprieve. I noticed that my dear brother was more concerned about him and his concerns more than the sacrifices that I’d made to help him. That hurt! The time given up also included an overtime shift that was needed because it was days before my 3-week vacation. Overtime hours are like precious diamonds that come in quite handy at the end of the month. The sacrifice made cost me but it was worth it. The thing is, I wondered if the shoe was on the other foot, would he have done the same for me? I’m not so sure.
My brother is currently in between jobs right now. It’s been that way for some time. I helped when and where possible. At one point I wondered if my help was really helpful. Was I supporting or even empowering a non-productive behavioral pattern? Was he too depressed from his life’s failings that he was too tired to try? Had he lost his ambition? I didn’t know. What I did notice was that he would have absorbed all of my resources if I didn’t pull back to protect myself. That proved to me that I had to change the way I expressed my love and concern toward my brother.
In another episode with yet another brother, the realization of further change became apparent after his second marriage.
This brother was culpable for a variety of financial matters that he absconded when he left the islands to start his new life with his new bride. I was informed via text that I now was to shoulder one of the financial portfolios that involved a debt of $40,000. I had approached him on more than one occasion and asked what he planned to do would his financial dealings. Other siblings inquired and received no clear response. At one point he, his new wife, and I had the opportunity to meet and talk. No future business plans were mentioned. So when I received this bit of news, I was furious because this was so unfair to me and my circumstances. I was furious at the manner the information was shared. I was furious that my older brother chose to exercise such indignity and asinine strategies in his choices. How could a 60-year old man act so selfishly? I needed counseling because this new responsibility had to be managed for the sake of my 84-year old father. I called my mom. She provided the insight that I needed to take another look at this dilemma. Her counsel and my faith have afforded me the determination to make the change that I need to see in me. Getting angry raises my blood pressure so I’m unable to think and process as I should; it neither changes the situation. At this point, my faith took a step forward and made me realize that God knew that this day was going to happen so the correct response is available for me. All I need to do is ask for direction. Since I’ve made this choice, I’m at peace. Before this matter is fully resolved, I will come out as the winner.
What was discovered in these two scenarios was alarmingly shocking, painful, and disappointing. What transpired has left a few of my heartstrings untethered. I’m in search of a new normal. I have loved my brothers completely my whole life. I thought the love we shared was requited. Sadly their definition and mine differ. I seek to help heal and restore; they seek to use whatever means they can to keep their heads above water. I love to provide life; they care only to survive.
Do men and women love differently even if their siblings? Do the choices that we make result in harsher realities of life? Do we make life harder than it should?
The overwhelming realization was that I cannot afford to hold people so close that they can hurt me so deeply. I choose not to distance myself nor cut communication with my brothers.
What I choose to do is ask God for wisdom in dealing with manipulative and dishonest people. I will continue to do what I can to help them but not at the cost of my well-being. I must give myself time to acclimatize, sleep and yes pray so as to walk in clarity. It’s obvious now that not everyone I love will love me the way that I love them. Love unrequited how dismal! There are times that I will have to pull back to protect myself. I need to have boundaries to protect my heart, my emotions, and my sanity. Apart of my maturing stage, my metamorphosis is to step away from toxic emotions and seek positive and favorable outcomes in situations that blindside me. My strongest desire is to make the choices that are most beneficial to my life’s journey.
I never thought that unrequited love would have ever played a factor or would even be considered when it came to my family; but, life has shown me that with each new day and each new change transformation is essential to successfully morph into the beauty God intended.