I used to think it was just me, all my fault. As I came out and divorced years ago a certain sister of mine has treated me pretty apathetically. If I call or visit or take some sort of initiative there will be interaction.
Beyond that, she’s only made the initiative to socialize and interact with my ex-wife. More than once I’ve shown up at my ex’s house to pick up my kids and have seen my sister’s car in the driveway. I’ve been at family functions where my sister has all but ignored me. My kids have offhandedly mentioned times that my sister has invited my ex-wife and her new husband out to dinner. We live in the same city and I’ve seen her maybe 3-4 times over the past 4 years – all my doing.
To clarify, I used to be close to my sister up until about the time she got married just before my mission. Something after that clicked. It clicked off. And I don’t dislike her husband. I do feel disliked though. Of all my siblings we were previously the closest and that just flicked off at some point. No real conflict took place. Just distance and tangential lives. Normal, I guess.
My ex-wife and sister had no significant relationship before the divorce. This isn’t a continuation of a tight ongoing relationship. Not once in my married life did my sister and ex-wife do something alone together. We always lived in different cities back then. In fact my ex-wife didn’t really like my sister and was somewhat intimidated by her. More than once I defended my sister to her.
Over the past 10 years I’ve always chalked all that up to my sister and her husband being True Blue Mormons and thus how she must feel obligated to treat me for me being an apostate… or, for me being gay.
I’m not sure which, maybe both.
But last weekend, I had an experience and an epiphany that might reveal another explanation…
My Uncle died on Christmas Day in Salt Lake City.
My oldest sibling created a Instant Message on Facebook to let us all know about the funeral arrangements. No one else said they were going, so I coordinated a gift of flowers for my aunt and cousins from all of us. Then, when I messaged my cousin to ask where I should send the flowers, my cousin said that I had just come up in conversation with my aunt about how much the time I spent visiting them during my college days at BYU had meant to them.
I choked up reading that message. I hadn’t experienced much positive affirmation from family so that meant a lot.
My aunt and uncle were really good to me during that period of my life and their home was always open to me at the drop of a hat if I needed to get away for the weekend while at BYU.
Maybe I should go to the funeral after all? It’s a good 12 hour drive for me… but then a brother who lives 1/2 ways said he’d go if someone would come pick him up… And that made my decision. I was going.
The decision felt right. We announced our decision on our group message and I called my Dad who lives in Salt Lake City to tell him we were coming.
Sorry if I’m boring you to death, but that background was necessary to set up what I witnessed.
After all that coordination on our group chat with sending the flowers, carpooling with my brother and such, we (me, my brother and my Dad whom we’d picked up to join us) showed up at the funeral and guess who we saw… My sister and her husband.
She lives in the same F-ing city as me. And didn’t even think to share with my brother and I that she was going to the funeral. And that’s not the weird part. She hadn’t told my Dad she was coming and for the couple of days that she was there didn’t interact with him beyond the funeral.
Who does that?
Who goes to a family funeral out of town where their parent lives and doesn’t visit or call or even tell him that she’s coming?
Wow! My sister is a far greater bitch than I’d preciously given her credit for… Or, she and her husband are just incredibly socially retarded. And she’s not only that way with me. She treats her own father like that?!
In my attempt not to be judgmental, I tried to think of some other alternative explanation… I guess I was OK with her being a bitch to just me, but witnessing her treat my father like that it dawned on me that maybe she or her husband, or both of them, have some sort of high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome or something.
Is that possible?
I mean, how else do you explain the blatant cluelessness of social norms and human intimacy?
My sister is very wealthy and her interaction with family has always been money driven. If someone begs sufficiently, she lends a hand. I am not aware of any bad blood between her and our Dad. Maybe she lent him some money he hasn’t paid back? I don’t know.
But still, who does that?
My Dad is a good man. He wasn’t a bad father, He never inflicted abuse on anyone. He was often absent working to support a wife and 8 children. He financed the college education for this particular sister and I…something I appreciate deeply now as a father of four. The worst thing my Dad ever did was defer almost entirely to our Mom on everything and maintained his church activity at tepid at best. He was never going to be bishop, but he also never bad-mouthed or discouraged church activity.
Today was his birthday (78) and after talking to him on the phone it appears that out of 8 children only 3 of us called him to wish him a happy birthday…all 3 of us are apostates. Nothing from the devoted, active Mormons.
So much for being a family oriented church, huh!