I don’t know what started it this morning, the talk. Nothing was different. I walked into the same picture I always do, but for some reason I couldn’t let things go unsaid.
Let me back up a few years to the point where Dad and Al were still living together. I would say the words that described most of Al’s life from a teen on are; anger, fear, hatred. A pretty sad way for a teen to live when this is supposed to be some of the most fun years ever.
Dad never accepted that Al was different. Dad had his own issues and the only way he felt he knew how to deal with his insecurities was to take it out on Al. I have seen Dad yell, walk a way, shake his head, talk badly about us kids. I have seen Al red-faced, fists drawn, tears flowing, fear in his face. I have seen all I care to see.
There was a golden or rotten rule as I call it in our home. Mom and Dad were the boss. I could argue or try to but I could guarantee a slap in the mouth for sassing. My opinions really didn’t matter to them, they were in charge. As Dad said, he paid the bills, it was his house.
Now move forward to when Dad died and Al had his heart attack. Our sister is from another planet I will say because God would not like if I said what I really thought. Family turned their backs on us because of money. I ended up taking care of Al from the day he had heart surgery.
Now today, six years later, I have carried so much sadness because I am the one who sees the depressed face. I am the one who is not spoken too. I am the one who can’t fix what Dad did.
So day after day all these years I have walked into his bedroom with a smile on my face and a good morning to you when I get Al up. When the time was that Al could walk and M.S.A. was not even heard of, I made very sure Al got to experience life as he should have as a teen.
I did so many things for him. Now wait a minute, don’t think I want a pat on the back because I don’t. I did and do what I do for Al because he is my brother, I love him. I am not going to say there is a kindred bond between us. That was never allowed. Al and I spent our bonding days sitting on straight chairs with one toy and not allowed to speak. How could we bond, but I do love my brother.
I would and will do anything for him possible but sometimes, such as today, it just gets to me too much. The understanding side of me that tries so hard to over-look the lack of any feelings towards me just surfaced and boiled over like hot water on the stove.
At least once a month I give in and let my feelings be known to who ever will listen. I hear the same thing over and over. You are his sister, you are not his friend. He isn’t going to treat you like he does his friends. You won’t get the smiles or conversations.
OK, I get it but I don’t like it. It hurts, I am not going to lie. Although I do everything in my power to make him realize I love him it doesn’t work. I will go for weeks trying to push aside the hurt, then it comes out again.
Today, I was bathing Al and I just had this sick feeling. Inside I was bubbling over with thoughts of I do everything for you and all I get in return is tears, snotty nose, anger, no smiles.
Should I go on? No, because then it once again sounds like I am doing something for a reward. The only thing I ever have asked from Al is that he just lets me know in his own way that he loves me too.
I had him almost completely washed and I just put down the wash cloth and sank on his bed. I looked at him but he didn’t look at me, he never does. He has never looked at me when I speak to him. He will smile at me big if he knew I was taking him to an antique store or to Wal-Mart to get a new car.
It always reminds me of when I was young and I was a good girl. I would get rewarded for being quiet by getting a sucker. So this morning I just told him flat-out I wanted a smile. He ignored me. I asked him if he was having pain, he said no.I asked him if he got enough to eat, he said yes.
So I fell into my familiar trap. “Why are you so depressed-looking then. Why no smile? No pain, belly filled, cleaned up and clean clothes.” He responded with ” I don’t know.”
I edged further, my deep questions. ” Why don’t I get a smile, just one like your friends do? Why don’t you chat with me like you do everyone else?”
His response was tears and runny nose and then finally he said, ” Because you and I don’t get along, just like Dad.”
Well that was sort of a big deep void for me because I couldn’t fix what Dad had done. I was not allowed into family issues until after Dad died. I have explained to Al for six years that I am not Dad, that I loved him. I have told him numerous times I take care of him because I love him. I told him that no sister/brothers get along all the time. I told him that I get tired just like he does. That it makes me sad just like he does to see this illness doing what it does.
It didn’t matter. He sees me as Dad. He and Dad didn’t get along at all. His life was hell in his eyes, so the times that Al and I disagree, Al carries it for life. It is me, Dad and me, me all the same person.
He cried harder knowing he didn’t really understand why he feels the way he does. I think his mentality challenges doesn’t help separate the truth from the actions. So I am still back at square one. Nothing will change. I get a little hard inside, telling myself not to get so involved. Just take care of him, do the best I can and be done with it. I tell myself to quit going out of your way because you are never going to get it through his head that a sister and brother can argue but that doesn’t mean that I am Dad.
I know this is personal, I know you, my friends can’t fix it, but I swear on my grave, I am having pain in my hands today from Diabetic Neuropathy, my body aches from tugging to roll Al over and I just don’t need a headache on top from crying, so I wrote.