For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: letter.

I write a very careful letter to an old friend after my sister dies.

Not right after. 6 years after. Another friend tells me after my sister dies that OF says she will never ever talk to me about my sister. OF doesn’t. I don’t see her much.

I do not ask about it directly for six years.

Suddenly I am sick of it. For one thing, a family member of OF’s dies. OF asks me on the phone to come visit “And we’ll cuddle and talk about my family member.” I thought, how can you ask me to fly and visit and talk about your family member when you have not talked to me about my sister for six years? It brought all the pain back to the surface.

I write a very careful letter thanking OF for all the positive things she has done for me. She has known me since birth. She is a mentor for me as a professional woman. In other areas, no. I also write as a query, is it true that she will never talk to me about my sister?

She does not answer the query. And then tells me that she carries the letter around because it makes her so happy.

I think of the letter as a thank you and goodbye. If you will not speak of my sister to me, it hurts and it has hurt for six years. And I am done. I have been patient to the point of being completely ridiculous.

And I finally approach it directly on the phone, because I hate that branch of the friends and family gossip and triangulation. “Is it true that you will never speak to me about my sister? You haven’t for six years.”

Silence. Then: “I am willing to talk to you about your sister, mother and father, but only the good memories.”

And I say, “No.” I say, “Why don’t you ask me what sort of relationship I want?”

It is hard to leave family systems, even when they are dysfunctional and cruel. There is still love there even if it displayed by triangulation, gossip and mean rumors. It’s a love that is emotionally underdeveloped. We spend a long time trying to change, facing that the love is not loving, deciding that it is worth changing ourselves and leaving. I still love OF but I do not want to be in a relationship where she controls me and silences me. It hurts too much. I am still glad that I sent a letter with all the thanks, which I meant from my heart. And I am glad to say goodbye.

10 thoughts on “letters

  1. ahhh, so familiar…but with me it actually was my sister. Relatively recently, and I still ache. She was the “baby” of the family, and I the oldest, so given the fact of parents who were MIA, I became her Mom, not a role that should ever have been mine in the first place, but it means, I have also lost a daughter….

    Your post is a good reminder to not give in to the temptation now, of my childhood role. The abuse and manipulation would simply continue and, like you, I need to have said, “Enough”.

    You are a such good boundary model for others….thanks.

  2. V.J. Knutson says:

    These life passages are so difficult. Those closest to us know seem to know how to stir the sh*t. You handled this with dignity.

  3. I ended a very long friendship over something different but similar in that I realized I had no say in what the friendship was. I had been assigned a role and when I balked at continuing that role, that was the end. I ended it. But it hurt a lot to do that. It wasn’t what I wanted; in a way, it was another way she kept control. OH well. :(

  4. Barbara Lindsey says:

    I’m glad you wrote the letter too. I have had similar experiences and ended a longterm friendship just recently, by letter, a nice letter but it put a period on a friendship that served no one, especially me.

  5. curioussteph says:

    healthy and difficult choices you made. Fine use of a letter.

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