Here’s me and my happy family the day Kara was born. Steve holding our beautiful new baby, and my brother to the right and sister-in-law to the left. It was such a wonderful surprise that they could come—we were worried that Jason wouldn’t be able to make it with his hectic work schedule and all.
And this was the last meaningful event we’ll share, all together, like this. That beautiful smiling face on the left of this picture? She won’t be there anymore. Not because something tragic jerked her away from us, but because of a personal decision.
She won’t be at Kara’s first birthday party or to show her how to make crafts with pretty much anything you could point to. I won’t be able to call her and brag about all the wonderful things her niece is doing or to ask for guidance when Kara reaches her terrible 2s. She’s no longer my sister.
I don’t mean to make her into a monster. I love her, love her deeply. She fit into all our lives as neatly as a puzzle piece that was made, not just for Jason, but for all of us. She’s been a wonderful, thoughtful sister, a pen pal, a pregnancy cheerleader, a loving aunt. She’s taken care of Jason through the first terrifying bouts of the affects of his diabetes. She helped us all through Dad’s funeral and did an amazing job in setting up Mom’s house after. She’s my sister, and I love her—except she’s not my sister anymore. And if she’s not my sister, what place does she have in my life anymore?
And I’m just realizing, now, what it means to be from a broken family. You see, I was blessed not to have that growing up. And now, through no action of my own, I’m losing a close and beloved family member—not to sickness or disease, but through a conscious decision for her to leave us.
And it hurts.
It just hit me yesterday how much it hurts, probably because I’ve been focusing on my brother and his beautiful baby. But it affects me too. Strongly. Because of her decisions, I have to make the tough decision that she can’t be a significant part of my daughter’s life. I have to wonder and worry what kind of effect this will have on my relationship with my niece and on Kara’s relationship with her cousin. It doesn’t just affect Jason and Beth, or even Jason and Beth and their daughter. It affects us all. Deeply. Badly.
And I hate it.