I have a brother who is much older than I. He went to live with my Dad before I was born.
I was always told about how good he was at everything. And I believed he was special to my Dad. After all, he was so “perfect” and I was never that. I all too frequently felt like I couldn’t do anything right.
It could have been so easy to resent him but my brother sent me letters that I have kept and read over and over again over the years. He would write stories about what he and my Dad were doing and, more importantly to me, he would tell me how much he loved me. I believed that he did love me and I looked up to him.
He told me that my Dad loved me too – but I didn’t believe that. I still felt my shame and his disappointment too deeply.
In one of his letters he told me that he had squared everything between me and my Dad. I wanted to believe him. I really did. And I loved him even more for trying, but I just couldn’t believe that it could make up for all my failings. So I kept trying “harder” because that is what everyone I trusted told me I needed to do. It was the only way I knew to try to make up for everything.
My brother never gave up on me. He kept trying to help me understand what seemed to me to be so impossible to understand.
I kept trying to find those answers… those answers to the most important questions that one can ever ask. And kept coming up empty… until…
It was my brother that helped me open the door… just enough. Just enough to begin to question whether what I believed about my Dad… and what he thought of me was true.
Shall I risk coming out from where I have hidden from him all these years?
Will he express his disappointment in me?
Will he punish me harshly?
Or, even worse, will he totally reject me? Will he throw me away in disgust?
Shall I risk leaving the safety, in my mind, of that hiding place… to meet him?
A part of me wanted to do it so badly but it just seemed too scary! I really believed the outcome would end badly for me.
But my brother kept encouraging me.