Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control- we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice, that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
Every other week, I answer a call for advice, and every other week, I share my views on something I observed- I call this Observational Wisdom.
I was lucky enough to get to go see my sister, Tina last week.
For some of you, this may seem like no big deal.
You have to understand, I am 41. Tina is 51, and due to divorce, not only did we not get to grow up together, but we have only seen each other a total of four times in our lives.
Once was when I was one or two years old, and she was eleven or twelve. Once was in 2005, for one day, which was eleven years ago. Once was a few years ago at our father’s funeral. This time was one day the week before Thanksgiving 2016.
I never got to meet our other sister, Theresa, who passed away, although I spoke with her via telephone a few times. Thankfully, my two sisters had each other, at least.
In the past two years, Tina and I have been able to text and talk via telephone a lot, and we have been able to bond with each other for the first time in our lives.
It took two days to drive to her house, and two days to drive back. My husband’s boss would not let him have another day off, so I got to visit her for just one day. It might seem like no big deal, but she is physically unable to travel, while I am not doing a whole lot better than her some days, when I can travel, I can’t do it alone, neither of us can drive anymore, and we are nearly 800 miles apart.
We had the same father, but a different mother, and when they divorced, they forgot about the fact us girls were sisters. That is what started the whole thing. I did not even know I HAD sisters until I was 22, moved out of mom’s house against her wishes, and tracked my father down. Also against mom’s wishes.
I could write books, and books about how I pine for Tina and Theresa, but it’s pointless.
The observation I would like to make is how very damaging it is to deliberately keep siblings apart. When you marry somebody and have kids with them, whatever kids you have with them are permanently their kin, even if you divorce. In situations of abuse, I can see running away, but in my situation, there was none. Mom hated dad, and us kids are the ones who were punished by her refusal to allow me a relationship with him, and his side of the family.
Now, most of the relatives, including dad and all his brothers and their parents have passed on, so it is too late. Both of my sisters have kids, all of whom I have been able to establish some contact with- but again it is text and telephone. They have each other, their parents, and some have their own kids. They are fine without me.
I am absolutely not fine at all without them.
None of this had to happen, and now at age forty –one, I am left heartbroken, and mourning the fact I have no close by family.
If you get a divorce from somebody you had kids with, do not, under any circumstances except abuse keep your kids away from your ex and their family.
If you find yourself wanting to do this, just don’t. Anybody who deliberately keeps children from loving family members ought to have their kids taken away.
So here it is the day before Thanksgiving, and I see the nieces and nephews packing up to travel to get to the nice family gatherings I cannot attend. I can’t join them for Christmas either. It is beyond depressing, and it hurts like nothing else.
I just want a normal family life. I have accepted that will probably never happen for me at this point. I’m married and we can’t have kids. My health has been bad recently, so adopting is both out of the question and unethical unless something changes, but it is unlikely it will.
All of this is due to divorce, and selfishness on two immature adult’s part.
Take what I have said to heart if you are considering doing this to your kids, and just don’t. If you are blessed with family, be good to them and put their needs before your selfish desires. Family can be annoying at times, but having a real family you get to see, and who share life with you is a true blessing. Don’t undervalue this gift if it is given to you. Cherish, and hold dear your family.