Hello It’s Me…Sunday’s with my Little Sister

You were fragile from the beginning.

My first memories of you are captured in pictures. I don’t remember much from growing up unless it was photographed or repeatedly told to me. I haven’t researched why I can’t remember anything, but emotions are my earmarks for history.

I remember playing baby dolls and hiding you amongst our cabbage patch kids and asking Mom and Dad, or Snuffy our dog to find the “real baby”. I remember the snow suits that Mom used to pack you in that made you look like a cartoon character. Brightly colored and overly stuffed. The yellow and orange grocery cart that helped you learn how to walk. Of course your beautiful blue eyes and cherub cheeks (Taylor family trademarks).

But it was your natural talent for love that drew everyone into you. You were always so small, it was natural for all of us to treat you like the fragile baby you were to us.

Illness stole your childhood.

It wasn’t fair to see that innocence disappear. But here we are 20 plus years later with all kinds of experience together.

You didn’t die then and you are still fighting to live now. Brain tumor at 5, psychotic break at 21, Schizophrenia now at 32.

I was a shitty sister. I didn’t understand your pain. From the time you were born the expectation was to watch out for you. That’s usually the plan when you have a sibling. Don’t let them get hurt, always tell them the truth, and no one else is allowed to make fun of them but you. That’s the basic concept of family.

When mental illness took over it was like an invisible and unbreakable glass window was put up between you and the world. We can see in but we can never get to you.

I believed a lot of the hurtful stigma about mental illness up until this last year. Why? Because I’m a selfish coward and sometimes the only time I understand anything is when it happens to me. But I will never fully grasp the concept of being you.

I’ve had people say horrible things about you

I would never let my son/daughter date someone with mental illness.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to let your son around your sister.

While these statements have a version of truth to them. They are mostly founded in fear.

There are days when I am pounding the glass to get you to let me in. I get so angry that I can’t fix you that it patterns many areas in my life. But lately I’ve come up with a plan. The outcome is unknown but the intention is pure. Connection.

I’m taking you to nature to feel connection. It’s the only thing I know how to do. Maybe it will soothe the madness. Maybe not. Is this more about me than about you? Maybe.

So we go to the park.

We feel the cold air and smell the trees. We listen to music and talk about normal stuff. I’m forgetting about all the ways I’ve fucked up our relationship. None of it matters now. What matters is my intention. You are still the fragile baby I’m supposed to protect. I held your hand walking in the snow. I felt it happen. We connected. You said thank you when we got home.

But really it’s me that thanks you.

Till next time …