Open Letter to My Sister

December 6, 2016


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It’s easier to not think about you. But, because of the impossibility of that endeavor, thoughts of you force their way to my conscious mind, and accompanying these thoughts are all of the emotions I’d much rather leave suppressed–sorrow, perplexity, anger, and hopelessness. I pray for you and yet there’s still this anxiety-provoking temptation to worry. Each time I receive a phone call from a 2-1-5 telephone number, I anticipate hearing the worst–that you’ve been gone for months without any of us knowing and your body has been found. It makes me feel so helpless! Tears are now bursting through my eyes despite me fighting them back. The fact of the matter is, given your current circumstances, this is a real possibility. I wonder if you know how much I love you–how much we all love you. I wonder if you know that we are all rooting for you to just take the first step. I wonder if you know that we’ve spent countless hours thinking through and talking about how we could possibly contribute to getting you to a better place.

When I was younger, you were the one I looked up to the most. Being 21 years older than me, there was a lot you’d already experienced so I valued anything I was able to glean from you. I used to be so proud to walk in your shadows. You were always a pistol, which made you fun to be around, but also very soft and feminine. I loved watching you get ready (even though it took half the day lol). You were so methodical in your routine. Then, when we finally stepped outside, we were always delayed in making it off the block because all of your neighbors loved you so much. They couldn’t let you pass without engaging you in conversation, and without fail, you’d say something crazy to make them laugh.

You are the reason I love music! To this day, I can’t listen to The Gap Band or New Edition (or anything from the 80’s and 90’s for that matter) without thinking about you. I looked forward to watching and dancing to Soul Train on Saturday mornings whenever I spent the night at your house. You always had music playing, and it varied depending on your mood. We were guaranteed a good time if you’d been drinking. That meant no matter what time of the year it was, you would start singing and playing the air guitar to “Feliz Navidad!” ( lol)

I also experienced a lot of things I shouldn’t have while under your care. These things have had a profound and burdening effect on my life. While I try to imagine who I would be had I not been exposed to certain things so young, I firmly believe even these things have worked together for my good.

The older I got, the more I realized your lifestyle wasn’t the most savory, but I still cherished the image I had of you. Our relationship became complicated during my teen years and we eventually became completely disconnected. I know this now to be a generational cycle that we perpetuated. Unfortunately, we weren’t raised to be unified as siblings. Instead, we were pitted against one another, and this bred discord, resentment, and jealousy. I wish I could take back the years we went without speaking. I desperately needed you during that time. I wish we were never turned against one another. I like to think we could have had a beautifully reciprocal relationship, especially as I grew into an adult.

By the time we decided to reconcile, we’d missed so much of each other’s lives. We were practically like strangers meeting for the first time. Despite this, we both put in the work to build our relationship from scratch. Promising one another that we will never again allow anything or anyone to come between us. This is where we were when things shifted for you. I used to always wonder how people allowed their family members to become homeless. Never thought I’d learn the answer to this through my own experience. And now I get it!

We’ve helped as best we can, but ultimately you have to decide you want something different. Until then, anything we try to do is all for naught. If I am being honest with myself, you were progressively heading in this direction for the better part of my life. This wasn’t and still isn’t easy for me to accept even though it’s obvious it was inevitable.

The last time I saw you my heart broke. After I dropped you off, I pulled over and cried my eyes out. You don’t even remotely resemble the woman I grew up idolizing. As I watched you piling food on your plate at the hotbar in Whole Foods, I did everything I could to fight back tears. I’d heard about the condition you were in but to see it for myself was altogether different.

I have prayed that the Lord will keep you safe, and that He will draw you near to him. I realize your current state is the result of brokenness you’ve had to bear since adolescence–some of which we share. So, I also pray that you will somehow be able to surrender even your deepest wounds to God and allow Him to guide you to healthier grounds. I know He is able!

I love and miss you soooooo much! Still choosing to believe you will be victorious. 

Love, your baby girl-


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