Saturday, November 14, 2009



It was my eldest brothers birthday last week. I didn't call him. It wasn't a malicious gesture I just couldn't act on it. I have complicated feelings about my brother. I like him, I think he is a great guy but somewhere along the way our relationship was arrested. We were once very close but many years ago there was an incident in the family with he and his wife and this rift has held strong. I make attempts to reach out to him but these efforts are infrequently reciprocated. Unlike me, he is really good about birthdays and Christmas despite the obvious chasm in realtions, and he always gets me very thoughtful gifts which of course add to my guilt about my indifference toward him. We are friendly when we meet but there is something deeply amiss for me. We are estranged I suppose but no one really talks about it. I go for long periods without thinking about him and am startled sometimes by the notion of him. I have jokingly spoken of replacing him with a friend of mine who resembles our family and who I have a good relationship with, but it's not that funny. I wish I was closer to my brother but I am not sure what can be done to pull the two sides together, to cinch up the seams of the familial bond.

Sibling relationships are strange at best, there are many commonalities and as many deep differences. He's a union member, I am entrepreneurial. He is the oldest and I am the youngest, in some ways we were raised by different parents. His perceptions based on his birth order are so different to mine. He didn't get enough while I got everything. He saw reality as something that was thrust upon him, I saw it as something I shaped to suit me.

I keep coming around to what can be done and I just don't know what that is and I guess that is what bothers me. I want an easy clean solution. I would be happy with an admission from him that he has made a deal with his wife that he will have no contact with me as punishment for my earlier transgressions. There is a long and strange history here and when these dates of obligation come up I stumble because I can't simply acknowledge the small things without the larger fissures being acknowledged too. I guess I am an all or nothing person in this case and that is my flaw to deal with.

I hope he is happy in his life. He looked good the last time I saw him. Maybe that is all I need to say to him, there is no ill will here just confusion and leaden sadness for a deep tear in the fabric that is my family.

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