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Family Obligations

Last night my brother Ryan called to let me know he plans to get married next year, in August, he wanted my mailing address to send an invitation.

To be honest, I was shocked he had my phone number at all.

My biological mother died in 2004 and that’s the last real contact I’ve had with any members of my “family”. I flew home for the funeral and spent time with my sisters and brother. At the funeral several members of my mothers immediate family had no idea who I even was, and once they found out it wasn’t long until they started to preach their idea of “God” to me. So it was loads of fun for me to be there. Friends and family bring cards to funerals, and in Wisconsin most of them put some cash in the card. After the funeral my siblings decided to split that money three ways – I spent a lot of money on that funeral and that was probably the last straw for me.

I had been in therapy for an unrelated matter when she died and one of the things we talked about was my “family”. After the funeral I shared with my counselor the events, attitudes, behavior of “family” and how hard it was for me to go “home” and be a part of my “family”. He asked why I thought I had to, so I spouted “we will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it” (Alcoholics Anonymous) as my reasoning for seeing them at all. I felt obligated to be there while they passed joints in front of me, drank beer and well… just stayed stuck in the same black hole they’ve been in for a few decades.

He pointed out to me that love is a two way street and so is communication. He helped me to see that just because she had pushed me out of her vagina was not an automatic debt to love her. I took a look at that and indeed saw that there was no obligation for me to continue to pretend to be a part of something that I’d never felt a part of, not even when I was a kid.

So, do I feel obligated to go to my “brother’s” wedding next year? No. I figure he just wants money or a gift and I’ve already said I have no intention of visiting WI next year.

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