Dear Sister, 

You’re a really mean person. Anytime we’ve disagreed over the years, you’ve pushed me away for months at a time. Anytime you’ve been unhappy with me, you’ve fought dirty—ripping up pictures I treasured of us together and the like. You’ve always been so hell-bent on getting in the last dig, and you fight until absolutely everyone else is exhausted.

I’ve hated to see the way you’ve emotionally abused our dad to give you money, even after you got married, and threatened to not let him see his grandkids if he didn’t meet your demands. You’re a mean, mean person.

Today is your birthday. You couldn’t accept my well wishing. You had to instead insult me.

I know that you’re a person who aches, way deep down. I know that you’re trying to fill your unhappiness with fancy possessions. Gift giving has always been your love language. You’ve always been good at celebrating Christmas, following our mom’s example by always giving the best, most generous gifts and wrapping them in the most meticulous, beautiful packages seen outside of Hallmark commercials.  I’m so sorry that Mom died while you were in high school. It meant that you were left with only Dad as a parent; a parent not ever able to use “boundaries” as a way to show love. I imagine that for the last fifteen years you’ve had a lingering, quiet panic, feeling like there’s no anchor on the boat you’re steering. I don’t know that, but I’m fearful that’s true.

And now you’re getting a divorce. Your marriage was never perfect. Your partner was never your equal because you are a ridiculously smart, talented person with giant heaps of potential. You’re likely to outshine any partner ever. But now you’re choosing your affair. You’re moving off to Chicago to start a new life abandoning your husband and children. In the last few weeks he tried to take you back; and you continued to lie and choose your affair even after you told everyone it was over.

I tried to support you in this time; never lying to you about wishing you would choose your family and do the hard work involved… but you pushed me away. Because I didn’t sing the praises of your affair. Since I’m your older brother I know you sometimes think that I come across as judge-y. I promise that I try REALLY, REALLY HARD not to seem that way to you. I just always want you to have a rich life. And sure, I’ve got opinions about what that looks like. But I really try to always be supportive of your paths, even when they seem ludicrous.

I so desire for you to find peace and contentment. I know at times you’ve walked with Christ, and I hope you’re talking to him now. I so desire for you to find healing. To know that money won’t fill the hole in your heart. I so desire for you to find space for those who love you—even when you don’t like what it looks like.

Being in a family with you is really, really hard. But I’m not going to stop. You’ll always be my sister. And though you can make my blood boil sometimes, I will always create a space for you. I’ll never jump on your band wagon if it means negotiating my own character, but I will always strive to love you even as you push me away.  

Love, brother

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