“People don’t always show up the way you want them to.”
I heard that the other day and it really hit home for me. I can’t believe how much truth it actually holds. I look back and can see so many people, family members, who I can relate this too. Hell, I am sure others have thought this about me too. It really makes me stop, and think, and consider others in my expectations of them and how I treat them.
I have already written about my having unrealistic expectations of my life and the people in it. (See post Unrealistic Expectations) I think it goes hand-in-hand with the quote above. We all hope for certain things, certain actions, certain words from others. But the truth is that much of the time, that hope is not fulfilled. But considering and being aware of this, can it change our strained or severed relationships?
When a relationship is strained, there are really two main choices: hang on or let go. Hold on or estrange. I do not take estrangement lightly. I think that is why I have still held on to some contact with my mother and brother. To me, estrangement is the last course of action when someone has treated you so cruelly that you are better off without that person in your life. That is why I am 100% estranged from my two sisters. They sure did NOT show up at all the way I ever expected too, not even in the slightest the last few years. I don’t even recognize them anymore.
So is it better to hold on or to walk away? I can’t answer this question for anyone else but me. I have personally done both and honestly each has its pros and cons. I think all I can say is that we each have to figure it out on our own. We have to take the situation and the person(s) and try to truly see what we want and how we feel. We have to be honest with ourselves. I have and I know I made mistakes too, could have done a couple things differently, said things better. But as far as my sisters, there is nothing there left to work on or save, and in that situation, I truly believe estrangement is the best option. They can go on with their lives and I can go on with mine. It’s unfortunate but necessary.
I am still holding onto my mother and brother, still trying to maintain some kind of relationship. I am trying to keep the knowledge with me that they may not show up as I expect them to, and probably even won’t. But I have accepted this. Awareness and acceptance make it so much easier to deal with the inevitable disappointments and move forward.
As Thanksgiving approaches in a couple days, I am keenly aware of Thanksgivings past when all the family was together. But now instead of that memory hurting me, I think I am more thankful that I at least had those moments, those wonderful memories, in my life. Now I just try to keep everyone in my heart as best I can and move on and enjoy the holiday with the family I still have. That’s all I can wish for anyone.