Dear Sister,

Please forgive me because I am not going to write this very personal letter in a manner that releases you from any responsibility for your lack of decorum and hate-filled actions that have caused our estrangement going on close to two years. I am going to directly assert what you’ve done to create the feelings I carry about my only sibling.

It is time for me to begin to live what I came to cognitively understand in a counselor’s office five years ago. You will never be the sister that I have always wanted, nor is it your responsibility to be so. And neither is it my responsibility to be the sibling you desired. In some respects, that fateful day ended our relationship in my mind. But I continued to tolerate your words and actions hoping you’d never sever ties between your children and me. But here I sit writing this letter 17 months since I was last allowed to interact with your sons. My worst fear has become a reality. If you wanted to hurt me deeply, your efforts have been successful.

I know you must be hurting and feeling so much guilt after the passing of our father for reasons only you and I understand. And because he will not bear witness to what may finally end any hope for a positive relationship between you and me, I am ready to finally respond to the anger that you carry in your heart over issues that should you think rationally were not of my making. I will no longer allow you to bully me or humiliate me because you have decided to prove that I am not as “good as Mom thought” or worthy of anyone’s affection.

Your homophobia, I believe, is only an excuse for your continued assault on our relationship. There have always been deep issues that separate us. You have categorized me as disgusting because of who I choose to sleep with, and pointed out that I am not a role model for your sons. I used to “brag” about what great parents I thought you and your husband were. But I must retract that. No one who denies his or her children a loving and supportive relationship with an uncle who only wants what is best for them can be considered truly great. Stop using your children as pawns in your hateful game. For years you have used them to punish any family member who dared cross you by banishing them from their lives. That is vindictive and so beneath a truly great and loving mother. I’d say that is “disgusting!”

You may never utter a foul or four-letter word but your actions speak volumes. Your callousness is beyond measure. Your attempts to further denigrate me publicly by informing me in front of others that Dad had shared some of my dastardly deeds with you showed how low you are willing to go in order to achieve whatever you’re after. Luckily, my loving memories of Dad and Mom aren’t going to dissipate because your “mean girl” antics are in full display. Those criticisms about me that he shared with you are nothing new. He had enough trust in me to point them out directly in person. I’m sorry to disappoint you. Please do not betray Dad’s trust in you simply to try and hurt me. It says more about your character than mine.

I wish to inform you that I am not Mom. You continue to attack me as if I had been the parent that favored one child over another. For a lifetime, I have carried the cross that you have bestowed on me- that of favorite child. Get over it! I don’t know how else to say it. Oprah stated years ago that there comes a point in every adult’s life when he can no longer blame his parents for his shortcomings or character flaws. Take inventory of your actions and stop blaming others for what you consider they “did to you.” Your actions have consequences as you are about to learn.

While mistakes were made, as they are in all families, Mom and Dad did an amazing job in raising us. They provided beyond what they were expected to do. It was not easy growing up with a mother who held us to such high expectations. There is no disagreement there. But where you and I differ is that I understood that Mom had been raised in a home riddled with family violence. It was a vicious cycle that manifested itself through verbal admonishments However, you declared as a young girl that you would “never be like mom!” And I agree with you. Mom never manipulated us or prevented us from interacting with loved ones over issues that were foreign to us. You only hurt your sons when you prevent them from loving those who clearly care for them.

I need you to know that even as a youngster, I always advocated for you. I knew certain things hurt you and when you hurt I did too. As my sister, I learned to love you deeply. But your anger over what you saw as “favoritism” has never allowed you to see that. Or maybe you do know it considering the times you have found yourself in a quandary professionally and requested that I help you. And please understand that I was happy to do it. But what I don’t understand is dismissing or begrudging a sibling’s achievements, however small, by declaring, “What’s the big deal? Don’t you always get what you want?” Well, I think we’ve learned that the answer is No!

In conclusion, that anger has also killed any trust that there should be between siblings as things move forward. I will continue to cheer you on but from afar. And should you decide you’d like to work on a positive sibling relationship, you know where to find me. But I’ve no desire to interact with such negativity ever again. Be happy because I finally get a crack to pursue my happiness in the open without fear of reprisals or accusations of being disrespectful. Your behavior while I delivered Dad’s eulogy was very disappointing. Your disdain for my person is such that you couldn’t even be civil in a place of worship as you sat next to your amazing boys. So that leads me to ask, “Who isn’t being a good role model?”

Best of luck always,

Your Older Brother

Note: Why an open letter?

Because if it helps to lessen, or prevents, the hurt and pain created in my family in other families, then I’m glad to do it. And I’m not sure I can actually send it to the person it was intended for.