J -- My Sister

Yesterday I got yet another text from my Aunt/Mom that J had tried to kill herself again. This is her second suicide attempt in three months and her 5th or 6th overall. She is in so much pain: mentally, physically, and obviously spiritually. I hurt for her on a daily basis and also try to contain my anger at the way my Aunt and Uncle conduct themselves. Really, I am so angry at them. They turned their backs on J so many times and now look around having no idea how they got to this place.

Well, maybe that is giving them too much credit. They just have no idea. Period. No idea about parenting. No thoughts about structure. No bold-faced determination to do what is right no matter what for their kids. Most of this blame falls directly on my Aunt's shoulders. She is so petrified to be alone. So scared to realize that she is better off standing on her own two feet. I mean, let's be serious: she is dead behind the eyes. She has no idea how to process anything and just wants to deflect, deflect, blame, and deflect some more.

Esther put it so beautifully when I was home in Chicago with her. My Aunt views boundaries as aggression. Serious aggression. She feels as though if you try to draw a boundary with her, you are being aggressive and she will run the other way. She also thinks that boundaries with the girls are aggressive and so lets them do LITERALLY whatever they want. (Have I mentioned she bought J a tattoo gun for Christmas?) So when she texts me yesterday to tell me my sister is in the ICU and says, "I miss hearing from you," it reflects such a level of not getting it. It makes me hurt for J. It makes me sad for her. And it makes me so grateful that I had the good sense to not be like them.

No longer do I apologize for the life that I am building for myself. No longer do I feel guilty that they just can't figure it out. If my Aunt and Uncle still continue to conduct themselves in this reckless way after 50 years of living, I am certainly not going to stop it. The unfortunate part is that what they have done and continue to do damages/damaged my sisters in an untold number of ways.

Sometimes, I get angry at J's sickness (be it her depression, bi-polar, or eating disorder). Sometimes, I want to shake her and basically say, "Snap out of it." But then I remember that she is a kid who was robbed of being innocent at a very young age and had adults that never stood up for what was right, and what was best for her. It's just sad.

This is a picture of J from 2010 when her bingeing and purging was just starting. It's how I remember her. Still kooky, still super skinny, but with a little bit of light behind her eyes.

(L--> R: M, J, me)